“God is love.” 1 John 4:16. Everyone who belongs to a Christian religion knows this Bible text. But afterwards, other questions come up, “Does true love exist, and what is love? Is love a feeling?” Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:14, “For the love of Christ constraineth us.” Love is revealed in actions. When we stand in line at a bus stop waiting to enter the bus, it is proper for the last one who has arrived to stand at the end of the line. It would be wrong for this last person who as arrived to stand in front of the line. It would bring public disapproval. But if someone who is sitting down sees an older person standing, and then gets up and offers his seat to the older person, this is an action of love.

We need to practice love from birth to the grave. Much has been spoken about love, and many books have been printed about it. In 1 Corinthians chapter 12, Paul is writing about the great gifts of the Spirit, and encourages us to receive them. Then in the last verse he shows us an even higher way, “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” 1 Corinthians 12:31

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1–3. Paul is exalting love to the utmost. There are sacrifices which are  possible to do without love, however, the Apostle Paul mentions that if we do them without love they would not benefit us.

In the same chapter, in verses 4–7, he continues to explain what true love is, and what love will not do. “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave herself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinking no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

If we are traveling on this higher road, we need to examine ourselves to make sure that characteristics which do not belong to love are not revealed in us. Let us strive to climb up Peter’s ladder, which we find in 2 Peter 1:5–7. “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”  The highest step in this ladder is charity; it means perfection.

We receive love from heaven; it is given to us as a gift. It is a heavenly plant, planted in us. In a mother’s love we see a small example of God’s love; she loves and cares for her little ones, who have done nothing for her benefit. So also, God cares for us even that we may have done nothing for His benefit, and at the same time He is doing everything for us. We get a better understanding of true love when we look at Calvary and see Jesus dying for our sins. There, true love opens before our eyes like a great ocean, of which the magnitude and depth we do not know.

Paul writes, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Ephesians 3:17–19

In this life we do not fully understand the love of God. Solomon says, “Love is strong as death.” Song of Solomon 8:6. It was love that brought the Son of God to the cross. It was love that made Him pray for His murderers; His endless love even defended them, and led Him to say “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”  Luke 23:34

When Jesus was arrested, His disciples left Him and ran away. They came to Calvary and were standing among the people, but at the cross were standing three defenseless women—His mother, His mother’s sister, and Mary Magdalene. They were not afraid to be seen at the cross publicly. They were travelers of the higher road, and it was love stronger than death that kept them there. They did not care about the mocking people; they had no fear of prison or death. After this, millions suffered torture and death, because nothing can separate us from the love of God.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35–39

The love of God has been poured into our hearts, and this love can grow in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. The last words in The Great Controversy, p. 678, we read, “The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.”