From The Coordinator
Love is the Essence of God
We will never fully grasp the extent of the sacrifice God made in the gospel without understanding the immensity of the love-bond that existed within the Trinity—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—from all eternity.
When Jesus cried out on the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46c), that was the greatest demonstration of love ever to take place. The Triune God willingly endured such cruel and violent separation for our sakes in the central event of all history, the cross. G.K. Chesterton called this the “furious love of God.” I believe that the hardest thing in the world for human beings to believe is that God loves us this much, enough to endure the break-up of the Trinity, in order that we could be reconciled to Him.
“Love is not just an attribute of God,” wrote Jonathan Edwards. “It is the essence of God. God is love.”
The Christian life begins with the love of God. Throughout his writings the Apostle John was moved to refer to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Kittle’s Bible Dictionary comments that when John got to be an old man all he could write about was the “marvelous monotony of the love of God.” He was stuck on one theme, the 200-proof distillate of the love of God.
We all have a love-need that can only be met by the steadfast, unchangeable love of God. Our deepest emotional and spiritual needs are never met by material things, by prestige or power, exhilarating experiences, beauty, or human love. All of our human desires and longings are mere symptoms of our need for Him. Psalm 42:1 expresses this need: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.” He Himself is the Bread of Life and the Water of Life.
When we are gripped by the love of God, He frees us from being emotionally and spiritually crippled. When we realize how we are loved, then we can stop loving ourselves and start loving others. He enables us to become dispensers of love rather than consumers of love. We are able to love others, even our enemies. When old age, life-threatening illness, or danger threatens us, we can look with confidence to God’s loving promise of eternal life with Him.
When we sin, we come to Him for cleansing, comfort, and a new start. When we strike out, we come to Him. God loves us when we strike out. He covers the holes in our lives.
The love of God gives us purpose. The purpose for our lives grows out of His love. He liberates us from self love. Our love relationship with God governs our relationships with others. He enables us to begin to love unlovable sinners as He loves us. When we are angry, depressed, struggling, feeling insecure, we can bring these things to Him. He cares about every aspect of our lives. When our sins and fears are petty and downright embarrassing, we can come clean with Him. He is the Sinner’s Friend.
I believe He wants to see our lives, like John’s, stuck on one theme: the unfailing and limitless love of God.
Originally published in the devotional 31 Days of Grace.