GOD’s AMAZING LOVE
Jer 29:11-14; Jn 1:12-13,17; 3:15-21; 10:10-11; Rom 5:1-8; 8:28-39; Eph 2:1-10; 1 John 3:1; 4:8-19
When the Bible says that God is love, it is saying more than that God loves, or that God is loving, or even that God is lovely; it is saying that love is the energy behind everything He does – love is not merely one of His attributes but is His whole nature. God is not only the Author of loving acts; He is love in the very core of His Being. Sometimes you hear people talking rather sentimentally about the love of God as if it is some kind of amiable weakness, a sort of good-natured indulgence patterned after fallen human emotions. Our thoughts of God’s love, however, must be built on God’s revelation about Himself in the Scriptures, not by projecting our own ideas about love onto Him. Let’s focus, therefore, on what the Bible has to say about God Who is love…
First, God’s love is uninfluenced. Nothing in us can give rise to it and nothing in us can extinguish it. It is ‘love for nothing’. The love which we humans have for one another is drawn out of us by something in the object of our love. But God’s love is not like that; His love is free, spontaneous and uncaused. The above Scripture verses make it clear that there is no reason behind the love of God for His people. He loves because He would love. If you look for a reason you just won’t find one. He loves because… He loves. He is love. No man or woman can ever explain why God loves us. To ‘explain’ it would require that He loves us for something outside of Himself, and, as we have seen, He loves us for ourselves alone and then because He, God is Love! And that love has its beginning, not in us, but in Himself. He is love’s source as well as its river [continuous supply].
How little real love there is for God! The reason for this, and the resulting low level of spirituality in today’s Church, is that our hearts are so little occupied with thoughts of the divine love. The better we are acquainted with His love – its character, its fullness, its blessedness – the more will our hearts be drawn out in love to Him.
Second, God’s love is also eternal. Since God is eternal, it follows that His love also is eternal. This means that God loved us before earth and heaven were called into existence, that He has set His heart upon us from all eternity. This is the truth proclaimed in Eph 1:4-5, where we are told that we were chosen in Christ before the creation of the world. What a tranquilizer this is for our hearts! Can you see what is implied by this? If God’s love for you had no beginning then it has no ending either. It is from ‘everlasting to everlasting’.
A third thing we need to know about the love of God is that it is a holy love. This means that His love is not regulated by whim or caprice or impulse or sentiment, but by principle. Just as His grace reigns not ‘at’ the expense of righteousness but ‘through’ it (Rom 5:21), so His love never conflicts with His holiness. This is why John says that God is light before he says that God is love. And this is why, too, the Almighty never lets us go unchanged – He loves us too much (2 Pet 3:9). His love is pure, holy and unmixed with maudlin sentimentality. God will not wink at sin, not even in His own people.
Then fourthly, carefully and prayerfully, contemplate 1 Jn 3:18-24. Note verse 20 and consider with it Heb 10:14. The Amplified Bible presents 1 Jn 3:19-20 as follows: “(19) By this we shall come to know (perceive, recognize, and understand) that we are of the Truth, and can reassure (quiet, conciliate, and pacify) our hearts in His presence, (20) whenever our hearts in [tormenting] self-accusation make us feel guilty and condemn us. [For we are in God’s hands as in 1 Jn 2:1-2!!!]. For He is above and greater than our consciences (our hearts), and He knows (perceives and understands) everything [nothing is hidden from Him]. Ponder 1 Cor 13:1-13. Note that Love [God] does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking (v5)! God is therefore not the manipulator so many falsely accuse Him of (expanded on in the paper “The Gospel”). Hence, 1 Cor 13:13 and 1 Jn 4:4!!! Re-consider this carefully with Rom 8:29-39.
Notes on 1 Cor 13. The revelation that God is Love enlightens 1 Cor 13:1-3,14! In other words (Jn 1:14,17; 14:21,23-26), if we read not a set of rules or steps in an attempt to act out from it a syrupy forced speech of a bigot [hypocrite, a play-actor as those addressed by Jesus in Mt 13], then we will get the revelation that for us to be in Christ [His Messianic anointing, Life, Truth, power], He has to be inside of us! Possibly even to the extent of Jn 6:47-58 as expanded on in the paper “The Testimony”! Contemplate Jn 14:20 and Rom 13:14 with 1 Jn 4:4. God [Love] is not a manipulator, if you truly invite Him [Jn 4:23-24; Jn 14:23,26; Rom 8:14] into your deepest thought-life continually and habitually (2 Cor 10:5-6), what will manifest externally is the evidence spoken of in 1 Cor 13:4-8. To follow steps and rules relates to the principle of futility given in Rom 3:20,28 and Gal 5:4,18; to discover Phil 3:9. Note that Jesus seeks disciples not proselytes – Mt 28:19-20 (Mt 23:13,15; 7:15-23); hence a relationship not religion (Mt 15:6-9). So to read 1 Cor 13 not as a set of rules or steps but instead with the revelation that God is Love and is therefore of course the biggest of all (verse 13). With Love [God] inside of you, you’ll be in a different position all together (Jn 3:3; Lk 17:20-21), and yes God [Love] is the greatest of all – to the extent of Mt 17:5 and Heb 1:1-4 (Col 1:10-20).
A fifth consideration is our Parakletos. We read in 1 Jn 2:1-2, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
The tradition was that the parakletos was the person [advocate] with the highest ranking, esteem, stature and reputation known by the defendant that would then act and speak in his or her defense – but without receiving any reward for this service! The idea is that if someone receives payment from you, they are in your employment.
Jesus does not pray for us, He intercede so that we may pray effectively to God our Father (Jn 1:12-13,17; 14:6-15; 15:16-23; Jn 17:9; Rom 8:14,34; Heb 7:24,25). This is what “In Jesus’ name” means (1 Tim 2:5; Jn 16:23-27; Gal 6:2. Refer to the paper “Prayer” and “Who is Jesus Christ” in www.gospel-truth.co.za). Remember our Savior that also is our Parakletos, that sent us His Spirit as our Helper, Guide and Comforter (Jn 4:24; Rom 8:14,26,27).
If we had to pay for anything from Him, even earn his Love, He would be subject to us; but now instead, He – Love – has paid for us, and all our sins, once for all! This is what we must come to believe [accept, trust, cling to].
God’s Love does not exclude hate!
For a deeper understanding of this statement, contemplate even just Ps 119:104 with Rom 12:9. There are clear abominations to God stated in The Bible – things such as lewd behaviour, homosexuality, and every false way. These are expanded on in the other papers on this website.
The syrupy bigotry many religious people [not yet followers of Jesus Chris – disciples – but mere proselytes] hold upfront, is not at all how Jesus and His prophets, apostles and followers present(ed) God [Love] to the world. Consider even just Jesus’ address in Mt 23 (especially 23:15), and the paper “The Gospel” on this website for a qualification of this statement.
Remember also, Scriptures such as Mk 8:38; Jn 14:17; 15:18-26; Rom 1:16-17; 2 Tim 1:8-9; 2:15; Js 4:4 but 1 Jn 4:4-6…
Incidentally, Jesus is the Love of God for us demonstrated (Jn 3:16), so to reject Jesus (even His teachings – 1 Jn 2:4; 14:6), is to reject God’s Love (Jn 3:17-21).
O God my Father, save me from believing my problem is that I don’t love You enough, when the real problem is that I don’t know how much I am loved by You. Let the scales fall from my eyes right now and let me see – really see!
Thank you Jesus!
Dan Mohler, series “Becoming Love”