Pastor’s Corner

Pastor Jim Mann

February is the month of love, so what better time to talk about God?

“God is love,” the Bible tells us (1 John 4:8). That’s a pretty straight-forward statement but easily misunderstood. When we say God is love, we’re not discussing his ontological being. For example God is not the love of a boy for his puppy. Rather what we mean is that love characterizes the nature of God. God is the type of God that would create a wonderful world with boys and puppies.

God invented and expressed love.

In the English language we have only one word for love. That’s unfortunate because I love my wife. I love my children. I love my church. And I love pizza and Dr. Pepper. But in the New Testament the Greek has four words for love. Agape is God’s self-sacrificing love. Phileo is friendship or brotherly love. Storge is protective, parental love. And eros is romantic love. God created them all.

Though eros gets top billing on February 14, we humans value all four types of love. There are two places where all four loves can be found. One of those is marriage. The union of a husband and wife is the only human relationship where all four types of love are pulled together in one place. That’s why marriage is so beautiful and why the church defends the institution and sacrament.

If we as a society turn marriage into something God prohibits, we remove from it the divine aspect of love. If you remove agape from the mix, marriage becomes purely a human construct, and you desacralize marriage. And ironically when marriage centers only on eros, it damages eros itself. Romantic, sexual love was created by God to function within the protective safety of self-sacrifice and friendship. And without agape eros can never be what it was intended to be. It will never live up to the promises made by the world. It can’t. It wasn’t designed by God that way. It will remain hollow and damaging to the soul—and damaging to a nation.

The other place you find all four aspects of love is in God Himself. After all, God is love. His sacrificial love is seen by sending his Son Jesus to die for our sins (John 3:16). His brotherly love is shown as Jesus “calls us brothers” (Heb. 2:11). His parental love is found in his disciplining us as a loving Father (Heb. 12:6). And though not to be taken literally, there’s even romantic references to God: “I will betroth you to me forever…and justice, in love and compassion” (Hosea 2:19, NIV).

So this month freely celebrate the love in your life, grateful that God created this wonderful emotion. And take the time to experience God’s wonderful love for you expressed in his Son, Jesus. Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’ll see you in church!

Jim Mann, Ph.D. pastors New Life Church at Robson Ranch. This interdenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. Visit New Life’s website: www. for more information.