God’s love is a selfless principle that maintains a perfect balance between righteousness and justice, mercy and forgiveness. Decisions based on love can be very difficult. Some situations require infinite wisdom, patience, and persistence. The Bible is the best source for explaining love. For example, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:16,17, italics mine) After reading this verse, have you ever wondered why the Father, rather than Jesus, could not have died for us? If the Father’s death would have produced a better result, He surely would have. He loves His children just as much as He loves Himself! However, the Father foresaw a better solution to saving sinners than giving up His own life!
The Father designed the plan of salvation before Creation. He foreknew the rise of sin so He created a plan with such a high price for salvation that no one could ever challenge the idea that saving undefiant sinners was unjust. Moreover, when the drama with sin is finally completed, no one can challenge the law that requires a future sinner to be executed on the day he sins. (Genesis 2:17)
Using His infinite wisdom, the Father decided to take what belonged to Jesus and transfer it to those who would live by faith. Simultaneously, the Father transfers everything that the curse of sin produces to Jesus. The Father chose to send Jesus to Earth and have Him nearly scourged to death before dying hopelessly on the cross. Through the Father’s infinite love, He chose to crush the life out of His own heart. Which would be more painful for a loving parent: Dying so that his child could live or putting the child to death? Can you imagine the agony that Jephthah endured when he put his only daughter to death? (Judges 11) Many parents have said they would gladly give up their lives if it meant their deceased child could live. No earthly love matches the depth of parental love.
“Brotherly love” is also very intense. Jesus said to His disciples, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) There is a higher love than parental and brotherly love. The Father and the Son demonstrated divine love through their incredible mission and sacrifice to save sinners. Jesus willingly gave His life for His enemies (Romans 5:10) and the Father put His only child to death. Only deity, not humanity, took the Jesus’ life at Calvary.
The plan of salvation includes several objectives. For example, the Father has revealed the depth of His love for His children by giving us Jesus. He killed His dearest and closest friend to save us! He sent Jesus to live as one of us to show the love that exists between Jesus and the Father. The Father also chose to use the plan of salvation to reveal that the ever humble Jesus really is an Almighty God just like Himself! Therefore, when the Father designed the plan of salvation He deliberately took steps that made His own suffering unfathomable and the sufferings of Jesus unbearable. When we understand that the Father loves Jesus with all His heart, mind, and soul, giving us “His only Son” goes beyond comprehension.
The Father designed the plan of salvation to make Jesus an eternal hero. Jesus has sovereign power equal to the father. The Father lives in unapproachable light and will reign as Almighty God throughout eternity, but He wants everyone to know that Jesus is His equal even though Jesus lives in the humble form of a created being. Throughout eternity, Jesus will receive honor and worship wherever He goes. This adulation will not compete with the honor and worship which belongs to the Father because the Father is just as humble and selfless as Jesus. In character, they are identical. There is no jealousy. The Father is thrilled every time Jesus receives worship, honor, and praise.
The humility demonstrated by Jesus (who created the universe) when washing the dirty feet of the disciples in the upper room is the same humility the Father demonstrated toward Jesus. The hearts of the Father and Jesus are identical, filled with love for each other and for their neighbors. Their differences are in their roles, not in their deity. This is why the Father decreed before Heaven and Earth were created that all created beings must honor and worship the Creator as they honor and worship Him. Lucifer and his followers chose to rebel against this law. This decree is described as “the eternal gospel” in Revelation 14:6.
God is Love
One of the best arguments favoring the existence of three separate, equal, distinct, coeternal, Gods is the Biblical declaration: “God is love.” (1 John 4:8, 16) This declaration is far more profound than many people realize.
The Godhead lives and acts within the boundaries of love at all times. The Trinity is a perfect demonstration of “what love is and what love does.” The Bible has revealed the words, thoughts, and actions of the Godhead over a period of about seven thousand years. This is long enough for every possible situation to arise for God to demonstrate what love does and does not do. It also provides enough time for the curse of sin to mature so that everyone can see the results of sin. God has miraculously preserved the Bible through the ages because it is the only book on Earth that correctly reveals His ways, plans, character, and love. God wants everyone to know Him and His ways by studying His Word. He wants sinners to understand the principle of love because the two highest laws in the universe are laws of love. One day, a lawyer asked Jesus: “ ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ’ ” (Matthew 22:36-39)
Love should not be confused with feelings or emotions. Love is not indulgence, lust, or an insatiable desire or addiction. Love is wise and patient. Love has firm boundaries. Love includes discipline. Love is always humble and fair. Love exalts righteousness and it always honors integrity and truth. Love requires endless study and intelligence and love grants everyone the power of choice, the freedom to be self-directed.
The boundaries of love are called laws. Sin occurs when a boundary is violated. For example, it is a sin to commit murder, to steal, to commit adultery, to lie, and to covet. Love does no harm to others because love originates from selflessness. On the other hand, selfishness causes harm and offenses. Selfishness destroys relationships with abusive words and actions. Hatred, murder, lying, cheating, stealing, sexual immorality, greed, and dishonesty are the fruits of selfishness. Lust (I want) is the opposite of love (I give).
Love is directly connected to the doctrine of the Trinity. If there is only one God (as monotheism teaches), and He is a self-proclaimed God of love, the first law of love is a contradiction in terms. How can a person love the Lord with all of his heart, mind, and soul when this behavior is demanded? If God demands love, how is He different from Hitler, Stalin, and other dictators? Dictators, kings, queens, and war lords operate on the premise that any attempt to depose, dethrone, or restrict their sovereign power is treason, and all traitors deserve death because traitors want to tear down the authority of THE authority. Therefore, if we wrongly attempt to apply the first law of love within the context of monotheism, we have a situation where God demands love. Lucifer used this logic to taunt the angels that were loyal to the Father saying, “Go ahead, break the first law of love and the penalty for sin (sudden death) will be yours.”
The Christian version of monotheism, that is, one God manifesting Himself in three persons, does not change the first law of love, because there is still one God demanding love. This demand would be contrary to the nature of love because love is something that a free-will person must choose to give. Love can only be given, it cannot be coerced, demanded, or extracted. If God commands everyone to make Him first and foremost, because He has the highest throne, He is just a dictator.
A Covenant of Love
Previously, we considered how in the distant past, three Gods eternally gave up a portion of their rights and prerogatives to the others. Their union would eliminate any competition between them and it would keep “highly intelligent beings” from developing a loyalty for one particular God. Three Gods functioning as a union is why the Bible declares, “God is love” instead of “Gods are love.”
They based their commitment to each other on two laws of love. The first law stipulated that each God would love the other two with all of his heart, mind and soul. The second covenant stipulated that each God would love “their” children (their neighbors) as they loved themselves. In this agreement, The Holy Spirit would see and hear everything occurring in the universe and He would report His observations to the other Gods each minute. The Holy Spirit would also serve as a divine conduit through which the Father and Jesus could communicate with their children. The attributes of the Godhead (love, joy, peace, happiness, purpose, and the fullness of life) are conveyed to angels and humans through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Father would sit on the throne as the sovereign most high God in charge of the universe. He alone would have the powers of foreknowledge and infinite wisdom. Jesus would speak for all three Gods. He would be called the “Word” and serve as the Creator. He would create each being that the Father wanted to experience life. When the time came and the Father wanted to save Adam and Eve, Jesus learned the Father had chosen Him to be their Redeemer.
If you can accept the idea that it takes three Gods to function as one God, guess what, the Trinity becomes a daily demonstration for eternity showing what love is. Each God loves and worships the other two with all of His heart, mind, and soul and all three love their neighbors as themselves! This means that each of the three God’s would have died to save sinners, and this shows why the two highest laws in the universe are laws of love! Three Gods live together in perfect peace and harmony with each other and this is only possible through humble submission to one another. No union in the universe is stronger and more fulfilling than that experienced by the Trinity. They want their daily experience to be the daily experience of their children! This is why the angels and Adam and Eve were created in their image, after their likeness. Jesus gave Adam and Eve a powerful propensity for righteousness and natures that were totally selfless. They lived in an environment where love excelled until they sinned!
If we understand the Trinity consists of three Gods serving the universe as one God, the first law of love is no longer a selfish, self-seeking law. Instead, it represents a covenant that the Trinity lives by and people who wish to enter into their relationship of love can only do so if they abide by the same covenant. Incidentally, the Ten Commandments are called a covenant (Exodus 34:28) and they are stored in the Ark of the Covenant. (Revelation 11:19) The first four commandments define love for God and the remaining six commandments define love for others. The Ten Commandments are a covenant because God has promised to write these laws in the hearts and minds of non-defiant sinners (Hebrew 8:10) so that we can live within them and they can live within us!
Love kept the Father from dying for us. When I now read the phrase, “God is love,” I understand the phrase to describe how the Trinity lives. The Godhead is a party of three and what a party it is! Love is the only way that three omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and coeternal Gods can submit to each other and serve the universe as one God; and love is the only way that God’s children can live in harmony with them and with one another. Each God is selfless and His humble submission (worship) to the other two makes the Trinity possible. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have made a covenant with each other to live in perfect harmony for all eternity and they invite each of us to enter into their joy. This is why Jesus commanded, baptize my followers “in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit!” (Matthew 28:19) If we are willing to become a part of their infinite love, eternal life will be joy-full.