Category Archives: Love of God

What Wondrous Love!

“What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
to lay aside his crown for my soul, for my soul,
to lay aside his crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing,
to God and to the Lamb, I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb who is the great I AM,
while millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
while millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free I’ll sing and joyful be,
and through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
and through eternity I’ll sing on.”

Why Christianity is True 2

Scripture is replete of one theme: a huge number of diverse people will come together in unity around Jesus.

Further, I have written about sin and sin’s punishment a few times before.

Sin demands a payment

It is Jesus Who pays the penalty of the sin of all who believe in Him (John 3:16; Romans 6:23).

Because of sin, particularly in the Old Testament, God allowed lambs to be sacrificed so that the people’s sin was covered even though the lamb’s blood could never take away the sin (Hebrews 10:4).

Nothing and No one else could pay sin’s penalty except Jesus

The Apostle Paul tells us,

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” ~1 Timothy 2:5.

The writer to the Hebrews explains, “Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.” And the writer says, ” to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Jesus is the Great Mediator Between God and Man

This means, in large part, Jesus is the only way to forgiveness of sins and the great salvation which sets us free unto freedom– Freedom from sin and guilt.

Continued…

The 5 Best Sentences You’ll Ever Read

OK – – 7 Best Sentences You’ll Ever Read (I added two more after I wrote the title…)

  1. You were bought with a price. ~1 Corinthians 6:20
  2. For you were called to freedom, brothers. ~Galatians 5:13
  3. If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. ~John 8:36
  4. God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~Romans 5:8
  5. Salvation belongs to the LORD; Your blessing be on all Your people! ~Psalm 3:8
  6. Abound in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. ~1 Corinthians 15:58
  7. In God’s unique Son, by faith, we are no longer slaves, but adopted sons—and amazingly, heirs with Jesus of all he inherits. ~Galatians 4:1–7 (via Ian McConnell)

What sentences are the best you’ve ever read?

Is God Angry in the Old Testament But Loving in the New Testament?

From my experience, non-Christians (and some Christians) sometimes assert that God is a monster in the Old Testament but somehow loving and Fatherly in the New.

Robin Schumacher over at CARM.org explains:

Non-Christians sometimes assert that God is portrayed in the Old Testament as a cruel and ruthless deity that indiscriminately orders the execution of seemingly innocent men, women, and children, or directly carries out their deaths by various means. Such a God, the argument goes, in no way represents the loving Creator or Father figure that the New Testament offers, and should in no way be worshipped or venerated. However, a closer examination of Yahweh in the Old Testament refutes the charge of the Creator being a tyrant and instead reveals a righteous, patient, merciful, and loving God who does indeed mirror the picture painted by Jesus and the rest of the New Testament writers.

I highly recommend reading the article.

Go on. Check it out.

But there’s another aspect to the discussion that is oft overlooked.

God is a jealous God and will protect all whom are His

Exodus 34:14 explains, “you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” God is speaking to His people with whom He has established a covenant (see Exodus 34:10).

God protects His own and woe to those who oppose His people.

Folks see God as a vindictive and horrific monster. I can understand that false perspective.

Leviticus tells us, “Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.”

God is jealous for His name; He desires His name to be praised and adored among His people and all who do not will be judged.

You will not understand this until you recognize the Old Testament is written from an insider perspective;

people who are God’s people see the Old Testament as an expression of God’s love for them

The New Testament expresses the same idea. God loves His people; God loves His people so much, He gave His only Son to die for all those who believe in Him. And for those who don’t revere His name and believe in Him will perish.

This is the greatest expression of love, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The whole of the Old Testament testifies to this, and the New Testament explains it.

Both Testaments possess this single truth:

Hell is eternity in the presence of God without a mediator. Heaven is eternity in the presence of God with a mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ.1

Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!

References
1Eternity Without a Mediator by Tim Challies

Rinse, Repeat, Rinse, and Repeat Again (Reflections on Our Justification)

If you are like me, you hardly ever have to convince yourself of your sinfulness. Temptations abound and sin is ever present. But what you must convince yourself of is the extent to which your Justification reaches. You must continually think on how your Justification affects everything in which you may be involved- job, unpleasant co-workers, family life, social pressures, and self-doubt just to name a few.

How does our Justification affect how we handle our job, family life, and social pressures?

Understanding our Justification begins by striving to understand the nature of God. Within God’s Trinitarian essence, we see the Father loving the Son (John 5:20). This love with which God loves the Son is an everlasting love. In other words, there has not been a time in which the Father has not loved the Son. This is demonstrated by the Father’s full acceptance of the Son. When a person is loved, he is fully and completely accepted.

Jesus, Who is righteous, became as one who is unrighteous, yet without sin. He was born under the law in order to fulfill the law but was treated as one who broke the law, and He did this so that we might become the righteousness of God and adopted as Sons. Christ not only is righteous, but He accrued righteousness on our behalf because He fulfilled the law. Christ fulfilling the law is a complete fulfillment, in that, there is not one part of the law for us to fulfill; absolutely nothing left for us to fulfill. (Matthew 5:17; Galatians 3:10; Romans 8:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Philippians 1:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9; Galatians 4:5).

Jesus, Who possessed the full and complete love and acceptance of the Father did everything required to gain the full and complete love and acceptance of the Father, for us. So that, through faith in Jesus, we possess all of the righteousness He Himself accrued which is imputed to us and our sin imputed upon Him. Once we possess this love and acceptance, nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:39). We are then fully and completely loved and accepted by the Father.

Our justification is not merely a forensic declaration of being righteous. It is certainly nothing less than that, but it is not merely the declaration of being righteous. We are fully and completely loved by the Father.

We must remind ourselves of these truths particularly when we struggle with doubt, temptation, guilt, and sin.

Have you struggled with doing your devotions? consistently? Have you caught yourself thinking, “I haven’t done my devotions consistently enough, so I will read my Bible for one full hour (as punishment),” even though we may not explicitly express it that way.

Do you struggle with consistently tithing? Have you ever thought, “I need to give $20 more each week to make up for my lack of consistency” ?

Do you struggle with anger? Have you found yourself thinking, “I can’t control my anger. I might as well give up trying” ?

Do you find yourself arguing with people all the time (the subject doesn’t matter)? Do you think “I can not help it that I’m always right and they’re always wrong”?

But when we think in these ways, we say that Christ’s complete fulfillment of the whole law is not enough; Christ’s accomplishment of acquiring the Father’s full love and acceptance is incomplete. We really believe that God’s love and acceptance of us is not enough; there is something more outside of Himself.

We think our effort of reading Scripture is a means to get back God’s full and complete love and acceptance of us.

We have placed a price on God’s love at a mere $20 instead of the priceless (and all sufficient) blood of Jesus which paid for our sin and guilt.

We struggle with anger because we truly believe we are superior to others, no one else thinks properly like I do, or we simply do not see people as made in the image of God.

We find ourselves arguing over anything and everything because we simply must be right. We have failed to recognize that Christ’s finished work frees us from this self-imposed law of “being right”.

We do not see that the Father’s love and acceptance of us is all we need; we do not need to be right all the time.

We are either thinking “I must do something to gain the Father’s full and complete love and acceptance,” or “there is something more I must have outside of God”. We are not remembering that “neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, (nor our lack of consistency in our devotions), (nor anger), (nor being right), nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39). Oh, what love is this!

Yes, we must strive to do better in the areas of which we struggle, but our motivation must flourish from the Gospel, the Good News that we are Justified by faith in Jesus Who is our righteousness and has gained the full and complete love and acceptance of the Father for us! Let this truth pour over your soul like pure water over a parched tongue; rinse, repeat, rinse, and repeat again.

A Gospel Reflexion On The Love of God

God created mankind in the image and community of the eternally existing Trinitarian God (Genesis 1:26) producing an inherent need and desire for “community” displayed in love by loving God with our whole being and loving others as ourselves (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37-39). God created us so that we may know Him. His creative work of mankind was the act of drawing near to us which was an act of love When God acts, He acts in love because God is love.

“…God’s nature is the grammar of God’s will, which is a Wittgensteinian way of saying that God’s being and acts are one. God is love (I John 4:8) – that is the defining divine perfection – and God is love from tip to toe. God’s only power is the power of love, in which there is no domination, coercion, or violence. Such is the imminent perichoretic, self-giving, non-rivalrous love of the Trinity, economically embodied in the cross (and, as Luther said, crux robat omnia). ‘Omnipotence,’ T. F. Torrance urges, ‘is what God does, and it is from His ‘does’ rather than from a hypothetical ‘can’ that we are to understand the meaning of the term. What God does, we see in Christ …” (HT: Curt).

Likewise, God’s love is what God does, and it is from His ‘does’ rather from a hypothetical ‘can’ that we are to understand the meaning of the term. What God does, we see in Christ. P.T. Forsyth explains,

What ought we say about the love of God? In the cross, God’s love for himself, his name and his authority, and his love for his creatures, is taken up and met in one action wherein God exhibits the very nature of his being as unconditional Holy Love. That’s why not only is the doctrine of the Trinity necessary to make sense of the atonement, but the atonement is necessary to reveal the Trinitarian fellowship of God. The Holy Love that defines the perichoretic life of the Triune God has, by the grace of the Father in the action of the incarnate Son and by the mission of the Spirit, overflowed freely towards those outside of God’s community that creatures may enter into the Holy Love communion that the Triune God has ever known and spoke creation into being for participation in.

In Jesus Christ, God has shown not only that he does not want to be God without us, but that he does not want us to be without him. And in the action of the Holy Spirit, the Triune God is present and active among us to hear and answer our prayers, to sustain us in all the happenings of life, and to continuously bring home to us afresh the good news of the Father’s sanctifying action in Jesus Christ, guaranteeing our inheritance, and empowering us to live in the reality of being ‘holy and blameless’ before God (Ephesians 1:4).

We must not think of ourselves higher than we are. We possess nothing special, nor do we offer any benefit to God for God to choose us. Deuteronomy 7 explains, “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping [His] oath…” We are God’s treasured possession; not because of anything good we possess but because God loves us. And God loves us because He loves us. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

This great love with which God loves us can not truly be experienced without our setting love upon others. “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4:20-21). I believe C. S. Lewis says it well,

“When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. Insofar as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.” – Letters of C.S. Lewis (8 November, 1952)

“… May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. … May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. … The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, 3:5, 2 Corinthians 13:14).

Is Love A Decision ?

One statement that irks me says something like this, “Love is a decision – decide to love today.”

Really? And we know this for sure?

What drives me nuts about statements such as this is they are commands. If love is simply a decision, then I can love anybody at any time. Right? Right?

But can I truly love on demand? You are certainly a better person than I if you can love on demand. I can’t do it.

And this is where the Gospel steps in. John 4:19 tells us “We love because he [God] first loved us.” And John couples this great truth with “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

And this is good news. I can only love when I see that I am as unloving as they come, yet God in Christ first loved me! And this is my motivation to love others. When I see that God has loved me and demonstrated this great love for me in Jesus on the cross, I can love others because the Spirit of love indwells me and loving others becomes a fruit of the Spirits Gospel-applying work in my life. (See Galatians 5).

And then I can love God and love others upon which all the commands hang.