First, we need to grasp the connection between selfless love and life itself. The Bible says plainly,
Love is of God. (1 John 4:7)
These four little words state something huge and fundamental. God is the source of the selfless love we’ve read about. He is also the most perfect example of it. It’s what He is. It’s a love that doesn’t think of itself; it always puts others first. It is self-sacrificing; it delights to give and give of itself to make others happy. It’s a humble, warm, rich, great, endless love that loves someone whether he or she is loveable or not. It looks for nothing in return, it never changes; it’s a love you can rest in because it won’t be withdrawn if you get something wrong. That’s how God loves, and He joyfully creates that love in anyone who wants to do the same.
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them to drink from the river of Your pleasures. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light. ( Psalm 36: 7-9)
“With You is the fountain of life” means that God is the source of life as well as love. The Bible calls this life “life more abundantly.” (John 10:10) It’s like an irrepressible fountain that just keeps springing up forever. The love and life that originate with God are inseparable. God’s life is a life of loving selflessly, and there is no lasting life without that love. This turns out to be true for us too:
He who does not love his brother abides in death. (1 John 3:14)
This is another enormous statement. “Brother” here means more than sibling—it means other human beings. It’s saying that a person who does not consistently love all others with God’s selfless love does not possess life from God’s endless fountain. He’s on borrowed time, and death is on its way.
Because these are mind-stretching concepts, it will take a while to digest them. Already we’re beginning to see why there’s a problem. Let’s look at the whole thing from another angle now as we dig a little deeper.