Biblical love is not a feeling, but is an act of obedience
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words:
Jesus’ love was made known to the world through His obedience to the Father’s commandments:
John 14:31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.
The Bible defines love as “the fulfilling of the law”:
Romans 13: 10b ... therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
The above verses help us to better understand this verse:
1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
GOD LOVED JACOB
Again, God's love towards us was not simply an expression of strong feeling, but was shown through Christ's action of dying for the sins of His elect people (typified by Jacob).
Malachi 1:2 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,
The Bible says that God loved Jacob. When did He first love him?
Romans 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
God loved Jacob before He was born. Jacob was born in the year 2007 BC. Exactly 2000 years before the birth of Christ in 7 BC.
So we know that God's love was in evidence upon Jacob over 2000 years before Jesus Christ went to the cross in 33 AD.
I HAVE LOVED THEE WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE
Actually, God's love for Jacob was much older than 2000 years:
Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
God loved Jacob (and all His elect people) with an everlasting love.
THE PROOF OF GOD’S LOVE FOR HIS PEOPLE IS HIS DEATH ON THEIR BEHALF
How is that possible though? After all, the Bible tells us again and again that the proof of God’s love towards His people is evidenced by His dying for their sins:
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
The act of bearing His people's sins and dying for them, according to the will of the Father, was obedient action in relationship to the commandments of God and therefore qualifies and meets the Bible's definition of love (if you love Me keep My commandments).
JESUS LOVED HIS PEOPLE AS HE DIED FOR THEM AT THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD
Again though, the Bible says this love of Christ for His people is an everlasting love. And He loved Jacob long before He went to the cross.
How could this be possible?
Of course the answer is obvious, Jesus loved His people as He died for them at the foundation of the world in obedience to the Father's will (commandment). The death of Christ at the foundation of the world actually took place in eternity past, therefore, the love shown in the atonement is said to be an everlasting love. The following verse also reveals to us that God's salvation program stretches back into eternity past:
Psalm 103:17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him,...