"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because God sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another."
John in his first Epistle does a wonderful Job in capturing the meaning of God's love as it is extended to mankind. This is shown by following the second commandment, "Thou shall love thy neighbor as thy self." Part of the "new birth" experience as outlined in the Gospel of John requires that we love our neighbors, for without loving others we cannot love God. God is the beginning of love. He demonstrated his love by sending his only begotten son into the world to redeem us. The Bible has declared that, "Greater love hath no man than he is willing to lay down his life for his friend."
The beginning of love is that God first loved us. He loved us when we were unlovable. It was not directed toward us because we were deserving, because he loved us while we were yet sinners. God has told us that there is rejoicing in heaven over one sinner that repents and embraces God.
As God defines our value, he declares that the soul of one person is worth more than the whole world. God has declared, "What would it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his soul", or what would he give in exchange for his soul.
We are living in an age that is in desperate need for the demonstration of agape love that God has taught us and that he has extened to us. We have been warned by James, the half brother of Jesus, "that in the last days people would be lovers of themselves rather than God and they would have a form of godllessness by denying the power of God."
The question has been raised, "How can we love God whom we have never seen if we fail to love our neighbor whom we have seen."
Jesus instructed us that we need to move beyond just loving our neighbor but hating our enemy. Jesus has taught us to love our enemy and do good for those that despitefully use us. To love in a way that is consistent with Christian teaching is a challenge for us all.