God is conditioned toward responding in love because His very nature is love. God's disposition is to respond from love.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." What does that mean? What does it mean, "For God so loved?"

Probably all Christians can quote John 3:16 by memory and even some non-Christians have heard these familiar words. Yet I have struggled to grasp the depth of the meaning of this phrase—"For God so loved." And I doubt that very many know the full meaning of it.

Whenever I think about the prosperity of His love, joy, peace, health, provision, and everything else that Jesus did for me, I find myself going back to the spark that began the whole event. The spark that the scripture calls, "love." Some of my favorite scriptures are found in Ephesians 2:4-9:
But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.
And I could continue for it is so good!

Love is the source of all the mercy, grace, and goodness of God bestowed upon man. Even when we were "unlovely," God (or Love) loved us. The Apostle John declares in 1 John 4:8,16 that God is love. So we could even say "Love" loved us. Love's (God's) motivation for everything is love.

God's very nature is love—so much so, that love is the mark that identifies us as His own (John 13:35). This may seem difficult to get our minds around; yet the true definition for love can make it a little easier for us to understand.

Love is Not a Feeling
First of all, love is not "an ooshy-gooshy" feeling. (That is my technical term for the world's view/understanding of love.) Love may generate an ooshy-gooshy feeling, but love is not a feeling.

I can guarantee you that when God looked at mankind and all the sin that Satan had gotten into man, He didn't respond to the situation with ooshy-gooshy feelings for us. Just check it out in your own life. How many times have you had ooshy-gooshy feelings for someone?

How many times have you reacted to that person based on those feelings? Now, how many times have you ended up regretting you ever got involved with that person at all? People get married based on those ooshy-gooshy feelings and in a couple of years, if it lasts that long, they are getting a divorce. Why? Because ooshy-gooshy feelings pass away! Love never passes away.

So, let us look at what the Bible calls agape (love, charity). The Strong's Concordance translates agape as—much affection and benevolence. Benevolence involves the doing of good deeds. However, you cannot stop there or you will miss some important information.

Another word translated as love, phileo, is also about having affection. And, it is in the definition and description of phileo that we find some clarity about agape. I am not going to quote the Strong's Concordance, but I am going to put down what Strong's says in a way that I can understand it and in a way that I hope you can as well.

Phileo (brotherly love) is a personal attachment as a matter of sentiment or feeling. The head - your mind and your body - rules this "feeling." Reason is in charge. You know what I mean. "The reason why I love him/her is because he/she is just so wonderful and beautiful and rich and exciting and…" etc.

However, agape (love) is an extraordinary love. This love is the disposition of the mind, ruled by the heart, resulting in the doing of good deeds by an act of will founded on principle and duty. In other words, my heart tells my mind to respond to an individual or a situation with affection and good deeds based on principles and duty. I do not do it based on ooshy-gooshy feelings; I do it based on principles. It is an act of will, not an act of emotion.

Now, back to the beginning. "For God so loved the world" changes in meaning for us. I mean, I wondered just how intelligent God could be to "love" such a bunch of rebellious, sinful losers as us. Come on now. Haven't you questioned God's reasoning behind all of this?

Just think, if you were God, wouldn't you have wiped out mankind permanently in the thousands of years before God sent Jesus? There were plenty of reasons to have done so. Then you really would have had reasons to wipe everybody out after mankind crucified your son, Jesus.

But God didn't do that. He loved. He did not operate out of reason; He responded out of the provision of His heart. By an act of His will, He was disposed to do us good based on His own principles—based on His covenant with us (John 1:12-13).

Remember that I said God's very beingness is love. His usual way of responding is going to be love. God is disposed to love—to doing good deeds. Dispose means to be conditioned toward something. Disposition means one's usual frame of mind or one's usual way of reacting.

God is conditioned toward responding in love because His very nature is love. God's disposition is to respond from love. He will always respond according to the covenant that He has made with us.

He loves us! Before the foundation of the world He chose to love us. It was an act of His will (Eph. 1:4). God never changes. The decision He made to love us is still in effect today.

"For His great love wherewith He loved us,"—can you even read that without having ooshy-gooshy feelings break out all over you? My heart leaps with joy at the fact that God loves us and will continue to love us just because He has made a cold-hard-decision to do so.

There is no reason to love us. He just does. And because of that great love, after looking at all of the options that heaven had to offer, He gave His only begotten Son to die on the cross of Calvary to reconcile us to Himself—to do us a good deed.

Then, the Father gave Jesus, His Son, the commandment to take His life up again, ascend to the throne of God, and there to make intercession for us. Another good deed. Added to that, He "raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." I think we can truthfully say that there is no end to the good deeds that God has done for us. Oh, what a God we serve!

God is disposed to love. Let us remember the price that was paid for our salvation. However, do not stop there. Look unto the great love of God that was the spark that ignited the passion of our Savior.

Let us see, hear, and experience the joy of love in victory as Jesus rose from the dead. Let us rejoice and be exceedingly glad as we proclaim, "He is risen! Our God reigns!"

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