Mar 11, 2009, 9:56 AM
“He is good; His love endures forever.” (2 Chronicles 5:13)
Love is sacrifice
Very often we hear people talk of the love of God, but do we really know what it entails? Have we experienced this love in all its fullness? The most common Bible verse quoted to describe the love of God is found in the Gospel of John, chapter 3 verse 16. It reads; “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” What has God manifested by this gesture? God in His goodness and as a concrete sign of His love, decided to offer His Son, as a sacrifice, so that the world may be saved from sin. The Bible teaches: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:23) Someone had to die for our sins; God chose His Son, Jesus Christ. Blood has to be shed to attain forgiveness. (Hebrew 9:22)
Loving His creation
We must recall that God does not need humanity; it is the other way round. It is humanity that has need of God. He made humankind for His own pleasure. “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive honour, glory and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:11) And because we are His creation, we have become ‘the apple of His eye.’ God is willing to intervene on our behalf on any and every occasion.
God loves sinners, not sin
He did so even after the fall of humankind in the Garden of Eden. As an expression of His love, God clothed Adam and Eve as they parted company with Him. In their nakedness they had covered themselves with leaves – a far from satisfactory mode of clothing. “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21) This act explains what Paul wrote to the Romans: “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Our sinful nature does not constitute an obstacle to the manifestation of God’s love. He would neither deal with us according to the sins we have committed, nor according to the punishment we deserve. One song writer talks of God’s love in terms of its vastness as being so high we cannot scale it, so wide we cannot encircle it. It is so deep we cannot fathom it. In fact, all it means is that God’s love towards us is immeasurable.
This is clearly displayed in the parable Jesus recounted of the Prodigal son. He prematurely claimed his inheritance from his father only to squander ‘his wealth in wild living’ with strangers and prostitutes in a far off land. When he came to his senses, he decided to return home where even the servants could boast of a much better life. What is amazing in this parable is that since he left home, his father had been in an expectant mood awaiting his return. His father never gave up on him. Deep within he knew he would return. One day, from his watch post he recognised his son trekking back home and he ran to meet him. He welcomed him with open arms and even threw a party for him. “While he was yet a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, and threw his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20)
The Father’s love is inseparable
This kind of love depicts the relationship we have with God, the Father. His love is unfailing and equally genuine and sincere. It brings to mind that we cannot always fathom the love our parents have for us, in spite of who and what we are or have become. God expresses his love towards us unconditionally. That is how strong his love is. Paul underlines in the epistle to the Romans, that nothing can separate us from the love of God – absolutely nothing. (Romans 8:38-39) If you have the worst criminal record or live the most immoral life in town, be sure God has not written you off. He loves you just as you are. He does not condone sin, yet He loves the sinner. He will not forsake his own. In accepting God’s love, we must be ready and willing to forsake our old ways and turn a new page. God’s love will see us through.
Dying for someone is the ultimate sign of one’s love; what you treasure the most is what you would give up. God sent His Son to die in our stead so that the price of sin would be paid in full. It took someone without sin to pay such a price. “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Our God is a loving God; that is in fact His nature. “God is love.” (1 John 4: 7) “…for love comes from God.” (1 John 4:7) We cannot pretend to be something we are not. “This is how God showed his love among us: he sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9) God’s love is everlasting. It is not dependent on whether we love him in return. “I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with loving–kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
His love compels us
What are we doing with God’s love? God’s love for us must be reciprocal; we ought to love Him in return. “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) That is the least He expects from us. God delights in us when we walk in love by keeping His commandments.
You want to know whether you love God, listen to these words. Jesus said: “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.” (John 14:21) “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23)
Would you like to pass the love test? Abraham asked God for an heir, God obliged. Then God challenged Abraham to offer the son He had given him as a sacrifice. “Abraham! Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” (Genesis 22:2) “Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two servants and his son Isaac.” (Genesis 22:3) He was on his way to execute God’s command. What are we ready to give up or part with as a manifestation of our love for God?