The Love Of God

Have you ever been truly loved by someone?
Have you ever loved someone truly?
“Love” is a word we throw around quite freely in our culture.  Isn’t it kind of odd that we use the same word to describe a fondness or affection for any person, event, activity, hobby, food, location, movie or television show?

I love popcorn.
I love dark chocolate.
I love The Waltons.
I love my parents.
I love my husband.
I love my kids.
I love those shoes!
We are truly strange creatures! (insert smiley face icon).
The reality is, we usually love until we don’t.  I love Mexican food, but after a food poisoning incident, that love grew cold for some time!  I love dark chocolate, but the scale in my bathroom says that love affair is over!  Our love is fickle, conditional, changeable.
But God’s love is different.
God loves because He is love.
God loves us because He chooses to love us.  And He continues to love despite every reason that exists as to why He should not love.
I believe my husband loves me fully and completely, but I can’t deny there are some things about me that he doesn’t know, or hasn’t seen.  Inside every human creature are the secrets of our inner man.  Thankfully, God’s Spirit does His transforming work in us, and so for the most part we are able to put aside the darkness of our human nature and enjoy real relationships.  But let’s not kid ourselves…we still possess the free will and the unredeemed flesh to quickly deteriorate into our human nature.  If I choose to walk in the flesh, I’m quite certain there exists all manner of ugliness that could come spewing to the surface!
My husband loves me, and has never seen all the ugliness that dwells in my human flesh.  He’s seen bits of it (trust me!) but chooses to overlook and forgive those lapses in character, and still love me.
But God sees it all…and still loves me.
God is all-knowing.
He knows exactly what dwells in human souls…every random and secret thought, every temptation, every hidden desire, every bit of pride and selfishness and even hatefulness.  Don’t kid yourself…God doesn’t just see the sins you commit and still love you.
God sees all the hidden darkness in your heart…
And He still loves.
Jeremiah 31:3 – I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.
God sees everything, and then says, “I am going to love you forever.”
Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinnners, Christ died for us.
In Genesis 6:5, before the flood, God looked down at earth and was grieved with mankind, because every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  I don’t know how you see it, but I don’t think we evolved into a nicer kind of mankind.  Except for the Holy Spirit indwelling us, that statement would describe every one of us.
Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinnners, Christ died for us.
In Romans 1, Paul exposes the true heart of man.  First, we suppress the truth.  We deny it.  We know God exists, but we refuse to honor Him or be grateful.  Our foolish hearts are darkened.  So we’re given over to the lusts of our heart.  We worship what He created (nature, ourselves) instead of the One who created.  So we’re given over to degrading passions.  Our relationships become perverse and indecent, but we still refuse to acknowledge God.  So we’re given over to our depraved mind, resulting in all kinds of unrighteousness – not only in our own choices and actions, but in giving approval to them.
Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinnners, Christ died for us.
In Acts 2:23, Peter confronts us with our own personal sin:  This Man [Jesus], you nailed to a cross.  Just as real as if we ourselves were the Roman soldier with the hammer in his hand, we nailed Jesus to the cross.
Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinnners, Christ died for us.
God doesn’t just love in theory.  He doesn’t love like we love dark chocolate.
God loves in action.  He demonstrated His love.
Demonstrates(4921) [synistēmi] – lit., “to place together,” denotes “to introduce one person to another, represent as worthy”; literally, “to set together” (sun, “with,” histemi, “to stand”), hence signifies “to set one person or thing with another by way of presenting and commending.”
How did God demonstrate His love?
God looked at the dirty, depraved, sinful, unrighteous orphan child.
Then He looked at His righteous, holy, perfect Son.
And He brought us together.  He put Christ in our place on the cross, and put us in Christ’s place in His family.
Christ stood with us.
Christ stood in our place.
Christ made us worthy.
Colossians 3:3 – For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Jeremiah 31:3 – I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.
The same love for us that put Christ on the cross in our place is the same love that calls out to us every day.  We could not be so sinful that the love of God could not overcome it and redeem us.  God loved enough.
And He keeps on loving us with that same love.
He keeps on drawing us with that same love.
What could He possibly NOT have known about you, when He chose to put Christ on the cross in our place?  Nothing.
What could He possible know about you today, that would cause Him to choose not to continue to love you?
If you are a child of God, one who has turned from your sin, repented, asked God to forgive you and have received His gift of grace by faith, and are a part of His kingdom, then I urge you to glory in the love that God has for you!  Relax in the security of that love.  Know it.  Feel it.  Believe it.  And let it spill over into the lives of the people you live with.
If you have not yet realized how much God loves you…if you’ve been debating in your mind what it would “cost” you to surrender to Christ, I pray that God opens your eyes to how much He loves you.
Today…God loves you.
Right now…God loves you.
In this moment…God loves you.
Don’t miss it!
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.  (Ephesians 3:14-19)

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