Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)
The short answer to all our questions about God is simple: God is love.
Paul writes a bit more extensively and gives a bit more detail, building on the concept:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:1-8)
If God hadn’t told us in the Bible that he loves us, we might not realize that he does. Anymore than that girl or boy you were enamored of in junior high had any clue how you felt, since you never worked up the courage to say anything.
The universe is not an obviously kind and loving sort of place, which is perhaps why the Bible so frequently informs us, both through the stories told in its pages, as well as through simple, declarative statements, that God loves us. John wrote that “God is love” while Paul reminds us what that means in the context of Jesus’ visit to this blue marble. Paul points out the obvious about human love: we love those who love us. We wouldn’t even think of being nice to someone who is cruel to us. But God’s love is remarkably inhuman. He writes, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” While someone might be willing to die for a loved one, whether child or spouse, the chances of you willing to die for someone you don’t know, or worse, someone who is your enemy are slim and none. But God’s love is different from ours. It is not dependent upon performance. It doesn’t matter if you care, if you are nice to God, if you do what he asks or refrain from what he warns about. No matter how bad, rebellious or hateful you might be, God loves you and willing gave everything he had on your behalf. We don’t see that kind of love—a selfless, utterly altruistic love—expressed between people. But that is God’s natural state in how he expresses himself toward us.