With this being the first Saturday of February and Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, the subject of love will be on many people’s minds. Money will be spent; food will be consumed; entertainment will be enjoyed. However, when one stops to think about the unending, unconditional and immense love of God, it makes all our human love fall far short. For that matter, we wouldn’t know how to love if God hadn’t show us love first. 1 John 1:19 says, “We love, because He first loved us.”
To reach back even further, when the Godhead (God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit) created man and woman, He created them to love. They were created to love each other in a special institution called marriage, and they were given brotherly love that was to spill over to others. They were created to love God with all their hearts, minds, souls and strength, and in turn, to love others.
The love of God is so rich and amazing. Focusing on it, hymn writer Frederick Martin Lehman (1868–1953) wrote:
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star
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And reaches to the lowest hell.
Lehman rightly points to this amazing love of God as something we can never fully understand and grasp. Oh, that doesn’t mean we won’t ever experience the love of God, but that God’s love is so vast that it is only in eternity where we will fully comprehend it. Now, one could spend a tremendous amount of space writing about this love, but for today, I want us to look at just two aspects — God’s redemptive love and His preserving love.
First, let’s look at His redemptive love. The Bible is very clear that God’s love is self-initiated and self-motivated. God didn’t wait to see if man would love Him before He loved man. The Bible says in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” While we were yet sinners? Yes, while we were still sinners, God was motivated to send Jesus Christ to die for us. Does that seem odd? Not in the eternal plan and love of God. This is who He is. He sent us a demonstration of His love, a Savior, a Lord, who would die for us and redeem our souls from the just penalty due our sins. This is remarkable.
John 3:16–17 echoes this intention of God’s love: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” God’s redemptive love was displayed at the cross of Jesus Christ. Jesus died for your sins. He atoned for them through His death, resurrection and ascension. And the Bible is very clear — the only way to receive this wonderful, redemptive love is to turn from your sins (repent) and turn to Jesus Christ and receive His grace and forgiveness. Your response of receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior will cause you to be “born again.” In other words, your life will be transformed, made anew.
In John 15:12–13, Jesus says, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus gave His life for your redemption. This is the only way one will experience and live in the love of God. You must receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior in order to be saved and to be immersed in the love of God.
Now let’s look at God’s preserving love. Don’t think for one moment that God’s love for the sinner ever goes away. Because of Jesus Christ and His paying the full debt for our sins, God sees you as He sees His Son. So He preserves for eternal life all who have been redeemed with His own power. In Philippians 1:6 Paul says, “For I am confident of this very thing, the He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Paul reminds us that since God has demonstrated His love by sending Jesus to provide the means of our salvation, we can rely on Him to complete it. “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion.” God always finishes what He starts, especially the salvation of His people.
God’s love is unconditional. You can’t produce it within yourself. You can’t earn it, but you surely can receive it. And then, in turn, God will hold you in His love for eternity. Rest your minds on that, beloved. Enjoy your Valentine’s Day, but, above all, may you continue to immerse yourself into the deep and far-reaching redemptive and preserving love of God.
Dr. Bear Morton shepherds Christ’s flock at Magic Valley Bible Church, 204 Main Ave. W., Twin Falls. The church has a Christian book store that may be of help to you — open from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, go to mvbibletf.org.
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