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“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3: 1
The dictionary defines lavish as:
“To bestow something in generous or extravagant quantities on.”
We know that God loves the world. (John 3:16) But if you’re like me, sometimes I forget that he loves me too. I mean, I know me. I know that I don’t measure up to the glory of God. (Rom 3:23) I know that in me there’s nothing deserving of this great gift. (Rom 7:18) So, sometimes I find it hard to believe he loves me.
What I have to keep reminding myself is, God’s love for me is not even about me. This might sound crazy, but let me try to explain. The Apostle John tells us that “God is love” (1 John. 4:16). I am not aware of any other instance in the Bible where God is referred to as one of his attributes. What I mean is God is referred to as being holy, but we don’t read anywhere that God is ‘Holiness’. God is all knowing, but we are never told he is ‘All Knowingness’ or ‘Omniscience’. He is all powerful but none of the bible writers said that he is ‘All Powerfulness’ or ‘Omnipotence’. The Lord is merciful, and yet we don’t see him defined as ‘Mercy’ in scripture.
When John says, “God is Love.” It seems to me that he is saying more than God is loving. He goes further and says that in his very essence, God is love. That he is love personified or ‘living love’. That all of God’s other attributes directly come from divine love or are directed by divine love. Let me try to break this down a little. God is gracious. But why is he gracious? He is gracious because he is love. God is kind, because he is love. His attributes of being gracious and his kindness flow directly from love, which he is. God is omnipotent, or all powerful. Because he is love his actions are always consistent with and motivated by divine love. God is omnipresent or everywhere at once, and because of who he is, love, he chooses to be always with us. God has the independent and sovereign right to do anything he desires, but he never acts unlovingly or for any other motive than love, because he is love! Hallelujah! Even when he judges and chastens he does so from love. (Heb 12:6)
So let’s go back to the weird statement I made before, that God’s loving me isn’t even about me. (and this is such good news!) Like I said earlier, it’s easier for me to believe God loves you than it is for me to be secure in his love for me. Whether this is because of my contemptible pride or my awareness of my own unworthiness, or both I am not completely sure. What is wondrous though, is that God, by his very nature loves because this is who he is and I therefore, (and you), cannot be the exception! By his very nature God’s love is indiscriminate. He loves you and me because He is love! Oh I wish I could find the words to communicate this... You can’t stop God from loving you even if you wanted him to. You can “make your bed in hell” and he will still love you because he is love, not because you are lovely. This is the greatest news there is! God loves us in spite of us so we can rest in that love with the full assurance that we are never beyond it.
If you are not convinced, look to the cross. When you were at your very worst, before you repented and received his mercy, he demonstrated his love for us in the most public and convincing manner possible. (Rom 5:8) Now that we have been saved he has bestowed on us the most extravagant and generous proof of that love by calling us his children. His love for us is more certain than any other truth in the universe.
My appeal to you today is this. Receive God’s love. His word is his divine love letter revealing from Genesis to Revelation that he loves us unconditionally. Don’t live another moment without the secure knowledge of his love for you. Walk each day for the rest of your life in the light of his love, because that is our eternal destiny.
Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints' and angels' song