John L. Schwery
God's love. If you are thinking, here we go, another love, love message and nothing about sin, this isn't one of those. Anna sent me an article recently that reminded me that people do not understand some aspects of God's love. Preaching about repentance from sin is important but understanding God's love can help us to be free from the guilt of sin and live a more joy filled life. It shouldn't be surprising to us that God loves us because the Bible tells us that God is love, in I John 4:8 and 16. I want to discuss three points about God's love. God loved us, God loves us and God will love us.
The Love Of God
A. God loved us: I believe that God loved us, children of God, before we were born. Here are some examples.
Israel: In Deuteronomy 7:7-8, God told the nation of Israel that he chose Israel because he loved Israel. He didn't choose the children of Israel because they were great in number or more righteous than the other surrounding nations, but simply, because he loved them.
Jesus: Jesus said in John 17:24 that the Father loved him before the foundation of the world. So in Jesus' humanity we can see that God, the FATHER loved him before He was born.
The world: In probably the best known verse of the Bible, the gospel in a nut shell, John 3:16, we see that God loved the world so much, that He gave His only son.
His children: In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, in speaking of God, in 2:4, he mentions His great love wherewith He loved us. In 2:1 he says we were dead in trespasses and sins. Because He loved us, he made us alive verse 5. In 1:4, He chose us before the foundation of the world. As with the nation of Israel, I believe He chose us because He loved us.
B. God loves us: God loved us in the past and He loves us presently.
Nothing can separate us from His love. In Romans 8:35-39, notice that nothing can separate us from God's love. Just as one example, in verse 38, are the words, "things present." Absolutely nothing can separate us from His love.
The sin objection -- Some people would argue, but what if we sin? Not even sin separates us from His love. Sin breaks our fellowship relationship with Him but not our salvation relationship. If we sin, we have an advocate, our Lord Jesus Christ, I John 2:1. Repentance from sin is important for restoring our fellowship with God.
C. God will love us: God loved us in the past, He loves us presently and He will always love us.
Things to come: Notice in Romans 8:38 the words, things to come. Nothing in the future that occurs will separate us from the love of God.
The example of Jesus: In John 13:1, we see that our Lord loved His disciples in spite of their sins and mistakes. He loved Peter, even though Peter denied Him. He loved Thomas, in spite of the fact that Thomas was a doubter.
Think about the broad, wonderful scope of the love of God, from eternity past through eternity future. Think about how he chose us to have a relationship with Him. Think of how He drew us to Himself, and enlightened us, so that we could trust Him for our salvation. He loved and loves us in spite of our sin, faults, shortcomings and unfaithfulness to Him. He will love us through eternity, though we are unworthy, not deserving His love. What should our responses be, to the love of God?
Responses to God's love
Freedom from guilt: One of the blessings that comes with our salvation, resulting from the love of God, is our justification, discussed in Romans chapter 4. Justification means to be declared righteous. God's righteousness was given to us. Because we are justified, we are no longer under condemnation, and need not suffer under the guilt of sin.
Love one another: Because God loves us, we should love one another, as He has loved us. In John 13:34, the new commandment is given to us, to love one another. His love should instill in us a desire to love each other.
Keep His commandments: I John 4:19 tells us that we love Him because He first loved us. God's love enables us to love Him. John 14:15 says, If ye love me, keep my commandments. I believe that God's love in us should cause us to want to keep His commandments. We keep His commandments because we are saved, and not to BE saved, or to try to gain something from God. We do not obey God as a necessity of keeping the Law, because salvation is by grace, through faith only.
Again, try to imagine the fullness of God's love. Are you suffering from guilt? Believe that God will always love you and that your salvation is eternal. All of your sins have been forgiven, even future sins. Do you love one another? His love will give you a desire to do that. Are you keeping His commandments and living a life pleasing to Him? Realize that He loves you and His commands will not be a burden to you. God loves you. Rest in Him and live your life by faith in Him.
Questions or comments? Please contact the author.