The Love of God (part 5)
Greetings precious people. In today’s article I would like to address a few of the misconceptions that people have concerning the Love of God. As always, we will be looking at what God’s Word, the Bible, has to say concerning this subject in contrast to what man says and thinks. The Bible makes it clear that we like to think that we know much more than we really do. We value our own opinion as though it were of great importance. Often when our opinion conflicts with what the Bible says, we make the mistake of holding to our opinion rather than the Word of God.
Many have opinions concerning the Love of God. Some believe that His Love is like man’s, changing and subject to emotional highs and lows. While others think of Him as being only a God of Love. Still others look around at what is going on in the world today and question whether God has any Love at all in Him.
The Bible tells us concerning the character of God that, "God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent." (Numbers 23:19) "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." (James 1:17) "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8) God does not change, and never will. Man attempts to change Him, molding and shaping Him into man’s own image, but God will no be changed by puny little man.
God’s love is not based on emotion, as is man’s. Man’s emotional state is often like that of a roller coaster, constantly up and down. God is both constant and consistent.
The New Testament is written in the Greek language. It is much more expressive than the English language. Where we have one word for love, which covers many uses, i.e. I love my dog, my cat, I love my children, I love the beach, I love my wife, I love chocolate covered almonds, the Greeks have many different words for love. There is the ‘Erros’ which is a sensual type of love. It is a selfish love that has only ones own self-satisfaction in mind. This is the type of love Hollywood often times portrays for us on the screen, attempting to pawn it off as real love. They try to make it look like love when in reality it is only lust and sex.
Another Greek word for love is ‘Phileo’ this is the root word from which Philadelphia comes. It is a deeper type of love than that of ‘Erros’. It means to be kindly affectionate toward, a brotherly kind of love.
Then there is ‘Agapao’; this is that deep unconditional love that a mother has for her child. That love that as a mother looks upon her child from birth, is willing to give up all for that child, to care and nurture and protect, to deny ones self for the betterment of the child. It is a selfless love, whose focus is on the child rather than self. It was from this word the New Testament writers chose to try to describe the love that God has for mankind. The word ‘Agape’ comes from this word ‘Agapao’ which has the meaning of a deep unconditional love. The word ‘Agape’ is used often to describe God’s love for man. We see this in many verses in the Bible. Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 8:35-39, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 1 John 3:16, "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us."
There are some people that think of God as being only a God of love. Though the Bible does tell us in 1 John 4:8, "For God is love." This is but one of many character traits that make up the whole Person of God. I do believe that love is the main trait, yet it is only one of many. God is also Holy, Just, Righteous, Gracious, Merciful, Compassionate, and Longsuffering to name just a few.
Let us consider the trait of God as being Just. To be Just means to be lawful, rightful, equitable, upright, do what is right, righteous. From Just, comes the word Justice, doing what is right. Let me use an analogy from what is going on in our present society that we may better understand what Just and Justice is. We have heard in past weeks of the jury’s verdict concerning the guilt of David Westerfield in the brutal murder of precious little Daniel Van Dam. Lets us consider for a moment the day comes when the judge will pronounce Mr. Westerfield’s punishment. Mr. Westerfield stands before the judge and the judge asks, "Did you kill Daniel?" He answers, "Yes". The judge then asks, "Did you know it was wrong to kill her?" Again he answers, "Yes". Then the judge asks, "Are you sorry for what you did?" He answers again with conviction, "Yes, I feel terrible, I am sorry." Then the judge says, "OK, based on your acknowledging your wrong doing and your being sorry, I will let you go free."
How would you feel? Angry? Enraged? Outraged? Yes, and so would i. We would not feel justice had been served at all, rather injustice by the greatest means has taken place. Yet, when the subject of God acting Justly and with Justice toward man when his sin is mentioned, many think that God is not fair and should just wink at our sin. God will not wink at our sin as though it is a small matter. Because God is Just and will carry out Justice, all sin, yours and mine, must be punished.
The Bible tells us that the penalty for sin is death. Ezekiel 18:20, "The soul who sins shall die." Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death." Yet, God Loves us also. So the question must be asked, "How can God’s Love for man be reconciled with the Justice of God?" The answer is found in John 3:16-18, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
God offered His own Son in response to the need for His Justice to be satisfied. 2 Corinthians 5:21, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." Romans 5:10, "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." Romans 4:24-25, "It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification."
Herein is the Great Love of God and His amazing Grace seen at work. Dear, precious friend, do you know the Love of God? Are you experiencing His Grace at work in your daily life? O how He loves you so. If you do not know Him intimately and personally, you can right now, today! Recognize God’s assessment of you and all of mankind, we are lost, pitiful, sinners, incapable of saving ourselves. Admit to Him that you are a sinner needing to be saved. Ask Him to forgive you and give you His Mercy and Grace. Repent of your sin and ask Jesus Christ to come into your life to be the Lord and Savior of your life. If you do this , God will do exactly what He has promised. He will forgive you of all your sins and come into your life and begin to make all things new in your life. Let Him dear one.
If you have made that all important decision, I would like to know so that I can pray for you and send you a Bible if you need one and some literature that will help you in your new life as a Christian. You may reach me at any of the addresses listed below.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine