The love of God
The love of God is not just a fluffy, warm feeling. It is revealed in a Person, the Godman – Christ Jesus. According to the theologian Wayne Grudem, the love of God means that God eternally gives of himself to others and continues to give Himself to those who believe.
The love of God is one of the great themes of Scripture: Here are a few Scripture verses to show us that the love of God is CENTRAL to God’s redemptive plan revealed in the Bible: this is however not an exhaustive list:
Psalm 36:7 “How precious is your lovingkindness O God, therefore, the children of men put their trust in the shadow of Your wings.”
Psalm 103:11,17 “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him” (ESV)
“But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children” (Psalm 103:11, 17 ESV).
Jeremiah 31:3 states: “The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”
John 3:16 declares: “For God SO loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but everlasting life.”
John 13:1 reveals: “when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.”
Ephesians 2:4,5 states about the believers: “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)”. (Ephesians 2:4-5 NKJV)
1 John 3:16 states: “By this we know love because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren”.
1 John 4:10 reveals: “Herein is the love of God, not that we loved Him, but that He loved us and gave His only begotten Son to be a propitiation (removing the wrath of God) for our sins.”
Romans 5:9 declares: “God demonstrated His love to us that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
And Romans 5:5 states about the believers: “God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”
The love of God has been revealed in the life, death, resurrection, ascension and intercession of Jesus Christ at God’s right hand of omnipotent power. And God continues to pour out His love into the hearts of believers through the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit throughout the centuries until today.
This is the love of God that has been hidden throughout the ages but has NOW been revealed to us in Christ Jesus. No greater love has there ever been in the world, is there in the world at this moment, and no greater love will there ever be.
This love dominated the life of Paul the apostle while he lived on earth. He said that the love of God constrained him or compelled him to preach the gospel (2 Corinthians 5:14). Paul the apostle knew that God saved him from his sins and that it was the love of God which gave Jesus Christ to this world. This same love was working in Paul (John 17:26) and compelled him to preach the gospel. This same love of God should also be the driving force and move us to share the only gospel who can save people from their sins. When we are filled with the love of God we are filled with the fullness of God and we will be able to lay down our lives for those God called us to serve.
Paul prayed the following to the church in Ephesus:
“I pray that….that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 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 3:17-19 ESV)
Only if we are born again by the Spirit of God can we be filled with the Spirit of God and the love God. God gave Jesus Christ to this world so that those who would believe may be filled with His love so that they may also lay down their lives for the world in order that many may become the children of God. God has a general love for all the people of the world but a specific love for his elect.