The Amazing Love of God
The word love could be described or defined in many different ways in our culture, but to a Christian the ultimate sense of the word love can be defined with one word-God. The Bible tells us “God is Love” (1 John 4:8, 16). Christians are to love one another, and love God, but the purest form of love is found in God Himself. It is difficult to grasp the idea of God being love with out looking at the different aspects of His love. The apostle Paul wrote, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13). Faith and hope come from God, but love is greater than both, because it is eternal. It is amazing to consider that everything that God has ever done for mankind was based on His love for us. From eternity to eternity His love shines forth as a beacon of hope for mankind. So, as we attempt to understand the love of God, let’s consider some of the different ways He manifests His love toward us.
1. God’s love is a tough love. Do you remember those ironic words your parents would tell you right before they spanked you with a belt? They would say, “I’m doing this because I love you.” It may not have seemed true at the time, but as we grew older and had children of our own we understood what they meant. In the same sense, God shows his love to us through discipline when He knows it is what is best for us. The writer of Hebrews quoted a proverb of Solomon when he said, “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens” (Heb. 12:5,6). A good parent rebukes his child for harmful behavior because the parent loves his child. That is true love, not an enabling and appeasing imitation of love. God’s love for us can be a tough love, because He will correct us for our own ultimate and eternal well-being.
2. God’s love is a tender love. David wrote, “Hear me, O LORD, for your loving kindness is good; turn to me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies” (Psalm 69:16). God has a compassionate and caring love for those who follow Him. God sent His son to earth in our likeness to experience everything we suffer and endure. The writer of Hebrews said that Christ can “sympathize with our weaknesses” because He was “in all points tempted as we are” (Heb. 4:15). God is not a hard and distant god who does not care about His creation. His divine love is shown to us every day through the forgiveness of our sins and His divine providence that watches over us through this life. It was this tender love that Paul spoke of when he wrote, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
3. God’s love is a trustworthy and triumphant love. Love in our day and time is not so trustworthy. Fifty percent of marriages in this country end in divorce and the divorce rate continues to climb. Couples separate and children grow up in broken homes wondering why the love of their parents failed. God’s love is eternal, secure, and based on the promises of a God that cannot lie (Tit. 1:2). Jesus said, “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 (John 3:16). Paul stated that “love never fails” (1 Cor. 13:8), therefore we know that God never fails! Temporal love on this earth may disappoint us, but the love of God will never cease nor fail us. -Ed