Love is a subject and a word that is frequently used in the world and in the Church. In many instances it is defined in terms as an emotion, feeling, and sentiment. This is appropriate when describing human love, brotherly love, familial love, and physical love but the Divine love of God is much more than that. It is not primarily a feeling or emotion though it can create feelings and emotions.
When Jesus talked about love He defined it in terms of an act, actions, and obedience. John 14:21, 23, 24 says, He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him…. 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. Our love for God is not a mere feeling but will be seen in our actions and obedience to His Word. The one who is saved obeys God’s Word or you could say saving faith results in obedience. Romans 1:5 calls it the obedience of faith or the obedience that comes from both a saving and a living faith.
Our love to God and to others was made possible because He first loved us. First John 4:19 says, “We love him, because he first loved us.” God first loved us and God’s love toward us was not passive, a mere sentiment, or a feeling but was seen in an act or an action. Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Love was seen in the act of Christ dying for us while we were at our worst, or yet sinners. First John 4:9 agrees with this definition of love as an act when it adds further illumination by saying, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”
Jesus said that this love was how He loved us and is a part of a new commandment we were to obey. It was to be a distinguishing mark that men would know and recognize that we were one of His disciples John 13:34, 35. We experienced it and are able to express it so it can be seen and known. The Spirit of God through Apostle John said that this love would be how we would know we were saved, born again, new creations in Christ or know we passed from death to life because we love the brethren 1 John 3:14.