Do you ever feel sorry for your child? Do you look at him or her and say to yourself, “Oh, how sorry I am that you have to go through so much pain in this world”? In other words, do you pity your baby?
Don’t you — even if you are not a mother — feel that umbilical cord between yourself and the flesh of your body? Don’t you feel what your child feels? Joy for joy, sorrow for sorrow, fear for fear?
I know I do — with both of my two children.
If you are a parent, then it follows you understand something of God’s relationship with you, His child. Hold God in awe; He loves you so much.
“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.”
We talk quite a lot of our love for God. We declare, “I love God! I follow God!” But God, in a succinct statement in a letter likely penned by the disciple whom Jesus loves, reminds us love is not that we love Him but that He loves us. We need to turn our statements around, putting God in the subject slot and ourselves in the object slot. We ought to declare, “God loves me! God seeks to save me!”
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Our toddler looks up to us, pulls on our clothes, “I love you, Daddy!” But our love — not the toddler’s — is the mature love of a parent completely devoted to the child at our feet. The best the child may do is reflect our love back to us. How many times do parents hear, “I hate you!” from that same toddler who suddenly rebels in an attempt to gain attention or some forbidden thing?
This is love — God loves us. He sends His only Son to save us from our sins. Like the best parent imaginable, God protects. And, His protection extends forever.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loves us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, makes us alive together with Christ — by grace you are saved.” Paul says, God is rich in mercy and filled with great love for us. God “makes us alive” and seals us “with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14) God “raises us up with Him and seats us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6) “For we are [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) I pray you “may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:18-19)
Lord, make us strong so that we may know the gift of Your grace, the richness of Your mercy, and the immensity of Your love, so that we “may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Amen.
“The earth is full of Your never-failing love,” O Lord. Nowhere we might go, nowhere we might hide can we escape God’s love. His love finds us out.
Adam hides from God in the garden of Eden after he and Eve sin; and God finds him. Moses runs away after he kills in anger, and God finds him. Hagar wanders into the desert after Sarah threatens her, and God finds her. Jonah winds up in the belly of a great fish after refusing to preach to Nineveh, and God finds him.
We are incapable of successfully hiding from God. Even in our darkest hour, God is watching.
“For nothing is hidden unless it is to be disclosed, and nothing put under cover unless it is to come out into the open.” (Mark 4: 22)
“The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
First, “love is from God.” (1 John 4: 7) Love does not and never has and never will originate in us. In our natural state, our fallen state, we are incapable of producing love. “Love consists in this: not that we love God, but that He loves us.” (1 John 4: 10)
I repeat this: Love is not from us; rather, love originates in God. “We love because He first loves us.” (1 John 4: 19)
Because love emerges directly from God, “there is no fear” in this love. “Instead, perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4: 18)
What have we to fear since God is for us? Who is able to condemn us since God justifies us? Because God is on our side and because He justifies us, we are to “love the one born of [God.]” (1 John 5: 1) How can we condemn our brothers and sisters when God sets aside His condemnation of us? How can we hate one another when God puts His hatred of the sin in us upon His Son?
“The one who loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4: 21)
How does God show His love of us? He sends His only Son to earth as a baby, allows two flawed humans to raise Him, sends Him into the wilderness to contend with our adversary, asks Him to travel — preaching and healing — for three years; then commands Him to sacrifice Himself to a terrible, slow death and to the darkness of separation from His own glory.
“In this the love of God is made manifest among us, that God sends His only Son into the world, so that we may live through Him.” (1 John 4: 9)
We live through Jesus. Make no mistake, we do not live through our own power. Our lives are powerful only through the finished work of Jesus the Christ.