Article by Roger Himes
God & Love! God’s Love Is Gospel Truth Because “God Is Love.” Love Creates An Encounter With God – Spirituality – Religion
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With all the sin and wrong in the world, we often struggle with the concept of the love of God. How can God love human beings who engage in so much sin and compromise? But the gospel truth is the fact that God loves us so much that he sacrificed his only Son so that we might enjoy continual relationship, fellowship and connection with him.
God and love go together like a hand in a glove. This is often hard to see in the Old Testament especially, because of all the killing and dying and plagues. God was even personally responsible for some of these!!! But even here, the message was one of God’s love. Why? He was pursuing and protecting his covenant people which was Israel, as well as protecting the ‘seed’ to come, who was Jesus (Gal 3:16, 19). Satan was doing his best, and using other nations, to try to stop the coming seed ” Jesus.
God’s Love Is the Gospel Truth Because God is Love
This is what I John 4:8 says, and also I John 4:16 says. Love is God’s nature. Therefore, everything he does is out of love. It doesn’t always seem this way to us because bad things and bad problems happen to all of us (John 16:33). We think God causes these bad things to happen, but he does not.
Because of human free will, and the fallen state of man, and a curse being placed on the earth because of the fall, he does allow bad things to happen. He doesn’t stop the boys who entered Columbine High School with guns and killed so many people. This was very close to where I live ” plus it happened on my brother Tim’s birthday: April 20th, in 1999. There have been many equally bad situations since then.
The Fact Is that God IS Love
Love is not simply a characteristic God has. Instead, it’s who he IS. He must love because he IS love. If he did not love, he would be contrary to his own identity. And In Ephesians we are told that we stand before God in love (Eph 1:4).
To entertain and receive the gospel truth that God loves us ‘unconditionally,’ as the Bible says, is perhaps the hardest thing for us to believe. This is because we don’t love others this way. We love based on conditions: “If you do what I want then I will love you more.” But this is not God’s love. This is human love. Receive the truth that God is in love with you. It’s the greatest revelation you can live with daily.
God Loves Us Unconditionally and Forever
This means that God’s love does not depend on what I do, or what I don’t do. If I do good, God loves me, and if I do bad, God still loves me. He doesn’t like what I do (my performance), but he does love me (my person).
This is always true if I am in Jesus. If you are not in Jesus, God still loves you the same way, but he is trying to draw you into his love. If you’re not in Jesus you can never begin to experience God’s love personally. It’s hard enough to when you are in Jesus.
God Loves Us As Much As He Does Jesus
This exactly what the gospel truth says in John 17:23. This is a real mind-blower. Paul says we should be ‘rooted and grounded in the love of God.’ The whole New Testament is a revelation of God’s love for us (I John 4:10, 19).
We must learn to believe and receive God’s love for us or nothing else will make much sense for us in the Bible. You see, the Bible must be accepted in faith, and it is God’s love that generates faith in us (Gal 5:6). Without love, faith is hard to come by. This is especially true if we live by God’s Old Testament law, because the law voids our faith and makes it inoperable (Rom 4:14). Love and faith are linked intimately. You can’t have one with the other, and both are the GIFT of God. Neither can be earned or deserved.
The first step to receiving God’s love is to forget about our human nature and human love. Our love is conditional, as I said. God’s love is unconditional as far as we are concerned, because it’s all based in Jesus ” because of his death on the cross.
Next time I’ll tell you about a legal client I had who taught me more about God’s love ” before I ever really knew it existed ” than anything I could imagine.
Love Cannot Begin in Us ” It Must Begin in God
The truth is love cannot begin in us. Most preachers preach that love begins in us, but this is wrong: “Love God with all your mind, soul, heart and strength ” and then love others as yourself.” Jesus does say this (Matt 22:38-40). But he was preaching the law. In fact, he was responding to a trick question, from a lawyer, about the law.
Jesus says he gave us a NEW command: To love others AS he loves us. Without us truly experiencing the love of God, we can’t love others the way we should. Love must begin with God (I John 4:10).
Paul gives a beautiful picture of how love works: “The Lord make you increase and abound in love one toward another” (I Thes 3:12). Note three things: God initiates it, we increase in it personally, and then we abound over toward others.
It is God’s agape love at work from him through us. It is not human love at all.
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