God’s love works with God’s will perfectly.

Third, God’s love works with God’s will perfectly. Hosea 11:9, “I will not execute my burning anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not a man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath.” Note the three negatives here. “I will not execute.” “I will not again destroy.” “I will not come in wrath.”

God’s love is a sovereign love. By the word, “sovereign,” I mean that God loves by His will. Paul wrote that God “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11). God loves according to His will and purpose, which is independent from the behavior of people. Positively, God loves you by an act of His will to love you. Negatively, God loves you not by an act of your will to love Him.

   A little boy was attending his first wedding. After the service, he told his cousin, “So a man can marry many women? The man just married Sixteen women.”       

   His cousin was amazed that he had come to that conclusion so he asked. “How do you know that?”

  “Easy,” the little boy said. “All you have to do is add it up, like the Pastor said: 4 better, 4 worse, 4 richer, 4 poorer.”[1]

Herein is the first big difference between our love and God’s love. Our love dictates our will, our decisions, and our commitments. Our love dictates our will to keep or not keep our promises. But God’s love operates in perfect agreement with God’s will, God’s decisions, God’s knowledge, God’s holiness, and God’s justice. John 3:16 says, God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.” The love of God operates in perfect harmony with the will of God to give his only begotten Son. The love of God caused the will of God to give his only Son.

This means that God does not fall in love, but God wills in love. Paul wrote that “in love, he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will” (Eph. 1:4-5).God does not fall in love, but God sets his love towards people.[2] God therefore loves us, because he chooses to love us. Conversely, nothing outside of God can ever move him to choose to love or not love, except his own sovereign will to love.[3]

The love of God is a sovereign love. This sovereign love of God is a character of God. The character of God refers to the nature of God. Love is a character of God; for God is love. Love is His character, His nature, His attribute. God loves Israel, not because Israel was lovely; she is not. God loves Israel, not because Israel was unlovely; indeed, she is. But God loves Israel, because it is His nature to love. It is His nature to love people. It is His character to love the world.

This is the second big disparity between our love and God’s love. We love because of the loveliness or unloveliness of the loved. You love someone because you like her eyes, her mouth, and her voice, and the way she talks to you. You don’t love someone because she’s ugly, smells bad breath, and talks a lot about herself. Our love depends on the loveliness of the loved. But God loves, not because of the loveliness of the loved, or the  unloveliness, but because God’s love is God’s character.

God’s love is not dependent on something outside of himself. God loves perfectly with God’s will and God’s purposes. That is why we can say that God loves you all the time. Because it is the nature of God to love those he wants to love according to His will and purpose to glorify Himself.


[1] “4 better, 4 worse, 4 richer, 4 poorer,”  Osaze’s Jokes. Cited February 18, 2014. Online: http://oezekiel.blogspot.com/2012/05/4-better-4-worse-4-richer-4-poorer.html
[2] D. A. Carson, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God (Wheaton: Crossway, 2000), 61. I am indebted to D. A. Carson for some of the key concepts of the love and wrath of God in this sermon.
[3] Carson, The Difficult, 60.
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