There are remarkable things said about the love of God in Scripture. It is said that God’s love is promised in the covenants he makes with his people (Isaiah 55:3), that “his love endures forever” (Psalm 118:1), that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:39). It is said that God’s love is like the unconditional love of a father (Luke 15:11-32). The relationship between love and God is so close, it is said that “God is love” (1 John 4:16)—God’s character, his nature is love.
Among all the remarkable things that Scripture teaches us about the love of God, there is none that is more profound than the great truth that God’s love is demonstrated. It is demonstrated in the birth of Jesus Christ: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…. (Isaiah 9:6). It is demonstrated in the life of Christ: God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him (1 John 4:9). It is demonstrated in the death of Christ: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
There is beauty in love that is felt in the heart, love that is spoken aloud, love that is pledged as a commitment, and love that is promised for the future. However, there is nothing more powerful than love demonstrated. Love demonstrated becomes more than feelings in the heart, a spoken word, a pledge, or a promise. Love demonstrated becomes at once all of those aspects of love completely fulfilled and made manifest in action. Love demonstrated dispels doubt, instills courage, builds trust, overcomes evil, inspires purpose, and motivates perseverance. And God is the perfect example, and the source, of love demonstrated: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son… (John 3:16).
The gospel of Jesus Christ knows nothing of a love that is merely assured, as wonderful as assured love is. The good news of Jesus Christ is that God has demonstrated his love toward us through his Son Jesus. He has invited us into a love that is beyond assurance—a love that can be trusted and acted upon because it has been and continues to be demonstrated. And he invites us to love like that: Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV).