Often times we attempt to understand God by viewing Him through our own way of doing things. It follows then that we assume that because we are a certain way or because we do things a certain way then God must be the same way.
Love is one of the most obvious examples of this. We assume that because we love a certain way, then God must love the same way. We project our views of love onto God and then erroneously believe that God must love the things we love and love the way that we love. In order to avoid making this mistake, we need to understand why and how it is that God loves.
What we discussed on Sunday is that God Himself is the primary focus of His affections. His love is based on three things:
- His Nature – Since God exists as Trinity, He exists in a perfect relationship of love and community. He is self-sufficient and therefore needs nothing.
- His Glory – God is all about His glory. He does what He does in order to see His name glorified. Under no circumstances will God ever compromise His glory in the name of love. Instead, God’s love will be manifest in such a way as to bring Him glory.
- His Holiness – Above all, God is holy. He is all-together separate fromus. His holiness is seen in everything He does and everything He is. There is no attribute or action of God that is not inherently and completely holy. Therefore, God will never do anything to compromise His holiness in the name of love. If we want to love something, but it does not uphold and promote the holiness of God, we are wrong.
With an understanding of God’s love for Himself, we can then see creation for what it is: an outworking of the love of God. God did not need anything, but instead He chose to create as an act of His love. Additionally, He chose to make mankind special, being made in God’s image and acting as His representatives to all creation. All of creation was “very good,” which is to say that it met its intended purpose: bringing glory to God.
But sin did what sin does and it marred the intended design of God and fractured creations ability to live out its purpose. But God did not give up on us. He continued to love His creation as He invited all creation to continue bringing Him glory as He worked out His magnificent plan of salvation.
And if that wasn’t enough, God carried out the ultimate act of love with the cross. On the cross was displayed the culmination of the love of God in which He did everything required to save His people from the condemnation of sin. Jesus bore our penalty, died the death we should have died, and gave us the gift of life we never deserved. Specifically, the cross shows us God’s love through:
- Redemption – God purchased us out of slavery to sin by paying the price we owed and re-purposed us for the glory of His name.
- Reconciliation – God restored us to right relationship with Him as our sins were forgiven, even while we were His enemies.
- Sanctification – God shows His love for us as our Father when he corrects us and leads us to look more and more like His Son, Jesus. Even when it is hard, God continues to show His love for us by never leaving us and never giving up on us. God loves us too much to leave us where He found us; instead, He loves us enough to bring us to where He wants us.
- Judgment – God’s judgment is affirmation of His holy love, as He makes good on His promise to punish sin. He affirms His love for Jesus by upholding His Son as the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). For God to not judge would be for Him to show contempt toward the sacrifice of His Son, which would be a tragedy beyond words. Instead, His judgment upholds His nature, glory, and holiness.
As we reflect on the love of God, let us be thankful for how He has loved us. Because His love is founded on Himself, we know it will never change. Because His love is not based on us, we know we could never lose it. Because He loves us enough to endure the cross, let us respond by worshipping Him and bringing Him the glory that he deserves.