Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Love of God

by Ron Livesay

In the day and age in which we live, it is easy to ask why God puts up with all the sin and foolishness of the human race. Why does he not just put a stop to it all and judge the sinfulness of man? In contrast to some who believe the only attribute of God is love, we know that God is also a God of justice, holiness, righteousness, and that He will judge sin. Nevertheless, we still need to remember that, while there is much in the world that is abominable to God, He is a God of great love. He loves us beyond all human understanding. Human love is little more than a shadow of His love for us.

How much does God love us? John 3:16 uses one small word to express an infinite love. That word is “so.” “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” This small word tells us that He loves us “in such a way” that He gave everything for us. God the Father gave His only Son so that we might live. God the Son gave up the glories of heaven to become a man and die the death of a criminal for us. “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8, NASB)

There are those who actually express the idea that God somehow owes us something. “If God will show me He loves me, then I will believe in Him,” they say. Such thinking totally ignores the fact that He has already done more than enough to show us He loves us. How much more could possibly be necessary to prove His love? How dare we expect Him to do more? He has taken us from the depths of sin and condemnation to the heights of being His children. “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:1-7, NASB)

The amazing thing about the love of God is that He loves those who hate Him. He loves those who are His enemies. He loves the unlovely. He loves those who disobey Him. He loves the ungodly. He loves sinners. This love defies all human logic and human comprehension. “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8, NASB)

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

“The Love of God”
Fred­er­ick M. Leh­man, 1917

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