“God is love.”
SONGS: 18, 91
1. What is God’s dominant quality, and how does knowing this make you feel about him?
JEHOVAH’S inspired written Word, the Bible, tells us that “God is love.” It says not merely that love is one of his many admirable qualities but that “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) It is his dominant quality, his most important one. Jehovah does not just possess love
2. Of what does God’s love assure us? (See opening image.)
2 The warm, benevolent affection that God has for his creatures assures us that all his purposes for the human family will be fulfilled in the best possible way and will result in the greatest benefit to all who come under his rulership. For example, out of love Jehovah “has set a day on which he purposes to judge the inhabited earth in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed,” Jesus Christ. (Acts 17:31) We can be confident that this will come to pass. For rightly disposed and obedient humans, favorable judgment will result in a truly blessed future that will go on and on throughout all eternity.
WHAT HISTORY HAS DEMONSTRATED
3. What do you think life would be like if God did not love mankind?
3 Imagine what life would be like if God did not have love for mankind. We merely have to look at the awful history of this world with its human rulerships under its unloving and wrathful god, Satan the Devil. (2 Cor. 4:4; 1 John 5:19; read Revelation 12:9, 12.) This shows us how horrible the future would be if the universe were to function without the operation of God’s love.
4. Why did Jehovah permit rebellion against his righteous rule?
4 When rebelling against Jehovah’s rule, the Devil influenced the first human pair to do the same. He challenged the rightfulness and righteousness of God’s universal sovereignty. In effect, Satan claimed that his rule would be better than that of the Creator. (Gen. 3:1-5) Though Jehovah permitted Satan to try to prove his side of the issue, such permission was temporary. In his great wisdom, Jehovah has allowed enough time to pass to expose very clearly the inadequacy of any rule other than his. The miserable record of mankind shows that neither humans nor Satan can provide what we need in the way of good rulership.
5. What has mankind’s history clearly demonstrated?
5 Just in the past 100 years, over 100 million people have been killed in the wars of the nations. Today, world conditions keep getting worse. This is just what God’s Word foretold would happen in “the last days” of the present system of things when “wicked men and impostors [would] advance from bad to worse.” (2 Tim. 3:1, 13) History has demonstrated beyond any doubt the truthfulness of what the Bible says: “I well know, O Jehovah, that man’s way does not belong to him. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jer. 10:23) No, Jehovah did not create humans with the ability or the right to direct their affairs independent of him.
6. What purpose is served by God’s temporary permission of wickedness?
6 In addition to showing how futile human rule is, God’s temporary permission of wickedness serves another long-range purpose. It provides permanent testimony that only God’s rule can be successful. After Jehovah destroys wickedness and those who cause it, if anyone ever again would challenge Jehovah’s way of ruling in love, there would be no need for God to permit the challenge to stand. He could use what has happened in mankind’s history as the just reason to remove such rebels quickly, not allowing them to establish wickedness once again.
JEHOVAH’S LOVE ALREADY SHOWN
7, 8. What are some of the many ways in which Jehovah has displayed his great love?
7 Jehovah’s great love has been displayed in many ways. For example, note the magnificence of the universe. There are billions of galaxies, each containing many billions of stars and planets. In our own Milky Way galaxy, one of those stars is our sun, without which the multitude of life forms on earth would not exist. All these creations give evidence of Jehovah’s Godship and of his qualities, such as his power, wisdom, and love. Yes, God’s “invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship.”
8 On earth, Jehovah created everything for the benefit of his creatures designed for earthly life. For humans, he made a beautiful paradise garden and gave them perfect minds and bodies capable of living forever. (Read Revelation 4:11.) Moreover, “he gives food to every living thing, for his loyal love endures forever.”
9. Besides love, what does Jehovah’s personality at times allow for, and why?
9 While Jehovah reveals himself as the God of love, he also expresses hatred for what is bad. For example, Psalm 5:4-6 says of Jehovah: “You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness . . . You hate all those who behave wickedly.” And it adds: “Jehovah detests violent and deceptive people.”
—THE END OF WICKEDNESS
10, 11. (a) How will Jehovah deal with wicked people? (b) How will Jehovah reward rightly disposed people?
10 Because he is a God of love and he hates wickedness, Jehovah has purposed to rid the earth
11 On the other hand, God’s Word also promises: “The righteous will possess the earth, and they will live forever on it.” (Ps. 37:29) Such upright ones “will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” (Ps. 37:11) This will come to pass because our loving God always does what is in the best interests of his faithful servants. The Bible tells us: “He will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:4) What a marvelous future awaits all of us who truly appreciate Jehovah’s love and obey him as our Ruler!
12. Who can be viewed as “the blameless one”?
12 Jehovah’s Word tells us: “Take note of the blameless one, and keep the upright one in sight, for the future of that man will be peaceful. But all the transgressors will be destroyed; the future of wicked people will be cut off.” (Ps. 37:37, 38) “The blameless one” comes to know Jehovah and his Son and obediently does God’s will. (Read John 17:3.) Such a person takes seriously the words of 1 John 2:17: “The world is passing away and so is its desire, but the one who does the will of God remains forever.” As the world’s end draws near, it is urgent that we “hope in Jehovah and follow his way.”
GOD’S GREAT ACT OF LOVE
13. What great act of love has Jehovah performed in behalf of sinners?
13 Although we are imperfect, we can ‘follow Jehovah’s way.’ We can also have a close personal relationship with Jehovah because of his great act of love. He provided the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ, opening the way for obedient humans to be freed from sin and death inherited from Adam. (Read Romans 5:12; 6:23.) Jehovah had complete confidence in his only-begotten Son, who had been faithful to him in heaven for countless ages. As a loving Father, God was no doubt pained at the unrighteous treatment that Jesus received while on earth. However, Jesus faithfully upheld God’s sovereignty and demonstrated that a perfect human can maintain integrity to Jehovah under the most trying of circumstances.
14, 15. What was accomplished by Jesus’ death?
14 Jesus maintained his integrity and upheld Jehovah’s sovereignty under the severest of tests, dying as a faithful servant of his Father. How grateful we should be that by his death, Jesus also paid the ransom price needed to redeem mankind and open the way to everlasting life in God’s promised new world! The apostle Paul showed what a loving act that was on the part of both Jehovah and Jesus by stating: “Indeed, while we were still weak, Christ died for ungodly men at the appointed time. For hardly would anyone die for a righteous man; though perhaps for a good man someone may dare to die. But God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:6-8) The apostle John wrote: “By this the love of God was revealed in our case, that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might gain life through him. The love is in this respect, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins.”
15 Regarding God’s love for humankind, Jesus said: “God loved the world [of redeemable mankind] so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) God’s love for humans is so great that he does not withhold good from them regardless of the cost to himself. His love is everlasting. We will always be able to count on it. “I am convinced,” wrote Paul, “that neither death nor life nor angels nor governments nor things now here nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor any other creation will be able to separate us from God’s love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
KINGDOM RULERSHIP NOW IN ACTION
16. What is the Messianic Kingdom, and to whom has Jehovah entrusted Kingdom rulership?
16 God’s love for mankind is evident in the arrangement he has made for the Messianic Kingdom. Jehovah has already placed this government in the hands of his Son, who loves mankind and is superbly qualified to rule. (Prov. 8:31) At their resurrection, Jesus’ 144,000 heavenly joint heirs take with them the experience of human life. (Rev. 14:1) The Kingdom was the main theme of Jesus’ teaching, and he taught his disciples to pray: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth.” (Matt. 6:9, 10) What blessings the fulfillment of such prayers will bring to obedient mankind!
17. Contrast the rulership of Jesus with that of sinful human rulers.
17 What a contrast there is between Jesus’ loving heavenly kingship and the rulership by humans who have led many millions of people to their death in warfare! Jesus truly cares for his subjects and reflects God’s marvelous qualities, especially love. (Rev. 7:10, 16, 17) “Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you,” said Jesus. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for yourselves. For my yoke is kindly, and my load is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30) What loving assurance that is!
18. (a) What has God’s Kingdom been doing since its establishment? (b) What will we consider in the next article?
18 Bible prophecy shows that God’s heavenly Kingdom was established when Christ’s presence began in 1914. Since then, there has been a gathering of the remaining ones who will rule with Jesus in heaven as well as of “a great crowd” of people who will survive this system’s end and be ushered into the new world. (Rev. 7:9, 13, 14) How large is the great crowd now? What is required of those making up this group? The next article will examine such questions.