12/19 1 John 4:8

8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Greek is much more precise in expressing nuances of words than other languages. There are four Greek words for "love." The word used here is agape. It is love that expects nothing in return. It loves because of the value of the object that is loved. When John declares that God is agape love, he is being very precise. He is not speaking of romantic love, brotherly love, or mere desire for things. It is a much greater concept.

Each person is made in the image of God. Mankind is the one thing in this world that is eternal in the sense that we have eternal worth and that God made us to walk in eternity with Him. That is why we are to love God and our neighbor. The image we bear and the value God places on us means each person is of immeasurable worth. When we come to know God, we begin to see that worth in God and those who bear His image. Like God, we love what is of real value.

John uses this truth to indicate who is or is not of God. If we know God we have agape for God and others. If we don't know God, then we don't have a reason or the ability to express the unselfish love of God. The more we come to know God, the more we express agape toward God and others. As more and more of God's agape love is revealed to us, it is increasingly expressed in us.

Consider: Is agape evident in your life? Are you willing to see the value and potential in others, even in those who offend you?