The Bible tells us “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16). We are reminded that God IS love not merely God is loving. Love is the nature of God not just one of his characteristics. One of the most vivid images throughout the Bible is that God is love. In Psalm 103, we see how God’s love manifests itself in actions. God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy (v8). His love is like a father towards his children, filled with compassion (v13). He does not deal with us as our sins deserve (v10). Instead he has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west (v12).
In fact, to say God is love means God has our best interests in mind. He wants to give us good gifts and provide us with “all his benefits” (v2). What are these benefits?
Spiritually God's love removes the barrier that separates us from him by cancelling the debt of our sin (v3 & 12). We can never pay for our sins but because of Jesus Christ, our debt is cancelled. Now we can enjoy a loving relationship with him because he has removed our sins as though they never existed.
Next are the eternal benefits. God’s love “redeems us from the pit” (v4) i.e. eternal death. More than that, he grants us eternal life. Even more than that, we are adopted into his family. We are the children of the king of kings and lord of lords.
What else can we know of God's love here? I think the best thing we can know is that God’s love is personal. Notice again in Psalm 103 the number of times the personal pronouns used - "me", "my", “your”. The Bible tells us God is a person. As a person, God is capable of loving us and being loved. Further, being a person, he loves each one of us intensely and personally. That means he loves not simply not just mankind as a whole but each one of us personally as an individual. He loves each one of us as though each one of us is the only child he has. That’s how God loves.
There was this famous Bible scholar who was asked, ‘What is the single most important truth about Christianity?’ He answered simply with ‘Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.’ ‘Jesus loves me’ – that is the cornerstone of our Christian faith. So when God says “I love you”, he is saying that you are important to him. You are a person of worth. You are valuable to him. Regardless of what others think, whether you have little or much, old or young, strong or weak, in God’s eyes, you are precious and wonderful.
Finally we know that God’s love is beyond human understanding (vv13-14). He knows how terrible we are but still loves and forgives us. We were drowning in sin but he pulled us out. We deserve justice and punishment but instead we get life. That is how God loves us - beyond comprehension.
To see God’s love in action, all we have to do is look at the cross, “But God demonstrates his own love toward us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). If we really want to understand what it means to love and be loved, look to the cross! It is there that God’s love for mankind is seen beyond any doubt. It’s a love beyond human comprehension. All we can do is receive it. And then we thank him not just for his love but for the many benefits that we are blessed with as a result of his love, by living for him alone.