What is God’s love and what are we to do with it?
The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary states that it is a “strong affection for another arising out of personal ties…affection and tenderness felt by lovers…affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests…a warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion…unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another…the fatherly concern of God for mankind…a brotherly concern of others.” Synonyms for Love are affection, attachment, devotedness, devotion, fondness, and passion.
The Wesley Study Bible says on page 830:
“God always acts to redeem and rescue us. We can’t outrun, out-give, outlast, or out grow God’s love….would send the Son to rescue the world. The whole of Scripture captures Gods’ great love affair with humanity. We may try to run and hide, but the arm of God’s love for us is always long enough to reach and rescue us.”
John Wesley’s Teachings on the Loving God:
“Love is such an easy word to say and such a hard thing to do. Ultimately love shows itself not by declarations of affection but by the service we render to the one we profess to love, especially service that inconveniences us or that calls for sacrifice. What is true in expressions of human love is equally true of our love for God. Jesus put the matter quite simply: If we love him, we will keep his commandments. “(John 14:15)
How great is God’s love?
Jeremiah 31:3 “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”
Everlasting means there is no beginning and no ending. Since God is eternal and God is love, the more we discover about Love, the more we know God; and the more we know about God, the more we know about love.
God’s love is infinite. In Eph 3:18-19, Paul writes “I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you many be filled with all the fullness of God. “ The Message reads “And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.”
Dr. Barnhouse described God’s love like this. He said we are touched by the edge of this love, bathed in it, but we can’t fathom just how great the love is, even as the sea is beyond the human swimmer to conquer.
Why does he love us? There is no cause why God should ever love us. But as His heart is love, He found his own purpose for his divine love of us.
God’s heart is love. As God is perfect love, he cannot even look upon sin. Sin is anything that keeps us out of our personal relationship with God. Anything that keeps us from knowing God’s grace and forgiveness is Sin. We could not overcome our own sinful nature to love God and reach Him. He had to reach for us, by becoming human, and being a living sacrifice to overcome our sins.
As Jesus was perfection sacrificed, and His spirit dwells in all of his believers, when God looks upon us he no longer sees our sins, but he sees Jesus reflected in us. This is the great and eternal gift of God.
Love was manifested in Jesus Christ. To manifest is the revelation of something that had before been hidden. When Christ was made visible, the eternal, infinite sovereign love was with us. He was to become a sacrificial lamb and to die for all of mankind’s sins, past, present and future. Imagine that. He took every sin upon himself for every one of us, throughout history from the beginning to the end, and died so that we could live in His eternal grace. Think of that. He died for You! Your personally, as well as humanity universally, so we could have a relationship with him. So that we could experience and share in His divine love.
He was the gift of God’s love, he loved us enough to give his life for you. For you personally, and humanity universally.
In John 15:12-13 Jesus tells us “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
So Christians are called to witness through loving acts of Agape, to love one another as Jesus had done. Do we? We should be reaching out to those that are hurting, those in mourning, those that are hungry, suffering, in prisons, addicted, stricken, and ostracized from society. When I hear Christians attacking others such as homosexuals, drug addicts, abortionists with venom and verve, I cry inside, for this is not what we are called to do. That is not the great commission.
The song by Casting Crowns gets this absolutely right:
If we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way
Jesus payed much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the body of Christ
God’s love is for everyone and is so powerful that nothing can come between Him and us, if we simply accept Him into our hearts as our savior.
Romans 8:38 states ”For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor other things, present, nor things to come, not powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
In the Message Romans 8:38 reads “None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing, nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable- absolutely NOTHING can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”
God’s love is universal and personal.
No one needs to ever feel left out, as God’s love is open to all. That’s right, all of us. We are all sinners, none stands before God in perfection except through Christ Jesus. God’s love is open to EVERYONE, not just the Frozen Chosen, but the prostitute, the abortionist, the homosexual, the pornographer, the wife-beater, murderer, liar, cheat, adulterer, alcoholic, road-rager, abuser, and yes, even the lawyer-politicians. Every one of us. None of us are reconciled to God through anything we do, but through the Grace of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” Many folks stop there, but if you continue into John 3:17-18 you discover “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because the have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
So what do you have to do to know him? Simply accept Him into your heart. Confess that you are a sinner. Ask Him to save you and accept His grace, his sacrifice for you. If you do this, you shall be saved and know the personal love of the God of the Universe.
We are made partakers of divine salvation, and divine love.
God’s love is everlasting, infinite, manifest, redeeming, sacrificial, personal, rebuking, providing, protecting, universal, sustaining, and pure.
Accept it. Accept Him. Then show His love to others by your actions. Good works do not save you, Christ already did that and what can you possibly do to equal that Holy Sacrifice? We do good works because we are Christians. Show it.
(This was inspired by a Bible lesson on God’s Love by Dr. Barnhouse that can be listened to at alliancenet.org.)