Love Is Not God
Wednesday of Pentecost 16
7 September 2016
The abundance of God is a source of amazement to the Christian. Our heavenly Father never has possessions or personal attributes, except that those attributes are the perfect and fullest embodiment of them. He does not have gifts by bits and pieces, but rather He is the essence of these things. This is what the church means when she calls God the "highest good." He is the fullness of the good; there is nothing better than or beyond His goodness.
 
Whatever there is of good in the world is merely a pale reflection of the divine goodness, just as the moon is a pale reflection of the light of the sun. We mean the same thing when we say with the apostle John, "God is love," in Him there is no higher or greater love. The crucifixion is the act that brings to us the full love of God (Rm 5:6-8). Coming to us through the means of grace the Holy Spirit grants us that fullness of God in preaching and sacraments. God's love is shed abroad by Him. Love is not God, but God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is love.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Augustine of Hippo
 
"If Holy Scripture proclaims that God is love, and that love is of God, and works this in us that we abide in God and He in us, and that hereby we know this, because He has given us of His Spirit, then the Spirit Himself is God, who is love. Next, if there be among the gifts of God none greater than love, and there is no greater gift of God than the Holy Spirit, what follows more naturally than that He is Himself love, who is called both God and of God? And if the love by which the Father loves the Son, and the Son loves the Father, ineffably demonstrates the communion of both, what is more suitable than that He should be specially called love, who is the Spirit common to both?
 
"For this is the sounder thing both to believe and to understand, that the Holy Spirit is not alone love in that Trinity, yet is not specially called love to no purpose, for the reasons we have argued; just as He is not alone in that Trinity either a Spirit or holy, since both the Father is a Spirit, and the Son is a Spirit; and both the Father is holy, and the Son is holy,-as piety doubts not. And yet it is not to no purpose that He is specially called the Holy Spirit; for because He is common to both, He is specially called that which both are in common.
 
"Otherwise, if in that Trinity the Holy Spirit alone is love, then doubtless the Son too turns out to be the Son, not of the Father only, but also of the Holy Spirit. For He is both said and read in countless places to be so,-the only-begotten Son of God the Father; as that what the apostle says of God the Father is true too: ' He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son of His love ' (Col 1:13, Lit). He did not say, 'of His own Son.' If He had so said, He would have said it most truly, just as He did say it most truly, because He has often said it; but He says, 'the Son of His love.' Therefore, He is the Son also of the Holy Spirit, if there is in that Trinity no love in God except the Holy Spirit. And if this is absurd, it remains that the Holy Spirit is not alone love, but is specially so called for the reasons I have sufficiently set forth; and that the words, 'Son of His love,' mean nothing else than His own beloved Son; the Son, in short, of His own substance. For the love in the Father, which is in His ineffably simple nature, is nothing else than His very nature and substance itself, as we have already often said, and are not ashamed of often repeating. Therefore, the 'Son of His love,' is none other than He who is born of His substance."

Augustine, On the Trinity, 15.19
Romans 5:6-11

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person - though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die - but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.   Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.  More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.   (ESV)
Prayer
O Holy Spirit, You give divine love to us in an abundance we cannot fathom. Grant us the grace to accept in faith what we cannot grasp with human wisdom. Amen.
 
For President Matthew C. Harrison of the LCMS, as he prepares to be installed into office in a service on Saturday, that the Lord would give him joy in his labors for the gospel
 
For all those who are ill with cancer that God the Lord would grant peace and confidence in His gifts given by Christ
 
For President Obama, that he would serve the freedom of the people
Art: Durer, Albrecht   The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
©  Scott Murray 2016