Speaking for God, the prophet Jeremiah wrote, "Let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me" (Jeremiah 9:24). To understand and know God is to know His love. Love is at the center of His nature. The Scriptures declare simply in 1 John 4:16, "God is love." The creator of the universe, the one who holds our very breath, is a loving God. He is holy and He will judge in furious wrath those who reject his Son Jesus Christ. Yet the Scripture declares that God is not willing that any would perish but that all would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
If one opens a Bible concordance and looks up the word love he finds it is given hundreds and hundreds of times. The Scriptures state that God is "abounding in love" (Numbers 14:8). Jeremiah 31:3 declares, "I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with love and kindness." Unfortunately, God is often thought of as mean, angry or even short tempered. Nothing is further from the truth. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden and were hiding because they were naked, God called to the man, "Where are you?" (Genesis 3:9). This was not the call of an arresting officer, but of a heartbroken father who had lost fellowship with his son. Biblical love is not an emotion but an action taken. The Law of Moses shows us that we are sinners, and cannot in ourselves measure up to a holy and perfect God. God's loving solution, His action taken, is revealed at the cross. The fullness of God's love is demonstrated in the life, death and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ. Jesus came to rescue us by shedding His blood and paying our penalty. Those who repent and call on the name of the Lord are freely saved, justified, forgiven and granted eternal life. John 3:16 famously declares, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." Romans 5:8 adds, "God demonstrates His love in this that: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Finally, Romans 8 triumphantly shouts, that nothing "in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Friend, God's love is not dependent upon your performance, but upon the finished work of His Son at the cross of Calvary. Those who trust in Christ are loved in every season of the soul. Whether my light is shining brightly or I am struggling with sin, God's love remains constant. Such love allows me to draw near daily in prayer and through the reading of Scriptures. Christ's finished work on my behalf allows me to maintain a daily intimacy with God, and to cast all my cares on Him because He cares for me.
Do you know this love in your life? It is found only in Christ Jesus. Receive Him this day and experience His love on a daily basis. Let His love change you and joyfully lift you. In a dreary and broken world, we can experience God's love. Oh, the joy of belonging to Christ!
Roger Scalice is pastor of Streams of Grace Church, 455 S. Kirkland Road, Golden Valley. He can also be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 565-9611.