Published February 14, 2012

Paul's Epistle...
"God So Loves Me"

If you've grown up in church, you most likely have heard countless sermons and Bible lessons about God's love. And that's as it should be. But it's one of those topics that can become almost too familiar – so much so that it's taken for granted and its profundity is overlooked.

Entire books have been written about the familiar truth in John 3:16: "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."

How much did God love us? "So" much! Enough to cause Him to do something amazing!

What did God do? "He gave His only begotten Son..." This was His choice, but it was the direct result of God's love. And it was supremely significant because His Son – Jesus – was His "only begotten" Son. There was — there is — no other like Him.

Why did He give His Son? So "that whoever believes in Him" – that is, believes in the Son, Jesus – "should not perish but have everlasting life." Sin brings death: "Just as through one man [Adam] sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned..." (Romans 5:12). After all, the "wages of sin is death..." (Rom. 6:23). Sin separates man from God eternally. Nevertheless, God sent His Son "that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:17). After all, "the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 6:23).

Now, that's love beyond all measure. That's a depth of love that our finite human intellects find impossible to plumb. You can sense the Apostle John's utter awe and amazement as he wrote, "Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God..." (1 John 3:1). Can you imagine it!? And what is our logical and rightful response to such love? "We love Him, because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19).

I like Rodney Griffin's recent song, as sung by Greater Vision, that poses the question and provides the answer:

Why do I love God, you may ask me.
What do I have in common with Him?
How does flesh and bone relate to the Holy?
The only way I can explain is this...

God so loves me. He truly loves me.
No other love is like the Father's love to me.
Requiring nothing, yet giving everything.
God so loves me, that's why I love God.*

God loves us so much that before He created us, He created a wonderful world in which we could live – and He pronounced it "good" (Gen. 1: 4,10,12,18,21,25).

God loves us so much that when Adam and Eve sinned, thereby severing their perfect relationship with God, He had already provided a plan of redemption – the Lamb, Christ, "slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8).

God loves us so much that His Son took on flesh as a baby born in Bethlehem. Jesus, who was with God and was God (John 1:1) "made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men" (Phil 2:7).

God loves us so much that Jesus was "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil 2:8) to pay our sin debt. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).

God loves us so much that He wants us to be with Him for eternity. Think of it!

God loves us so much that, to accomplish that, not only did He redeem us unto Himself, but He's also sending His Son back for us. Christ promised, "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:3).

God's overwhelming love is a love that demands a response from us.

Jesus told His disciples, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34,35). We are to love others as Christ has loved us. Wow – that's setting the bar pretty high.

How do we know if we truly love God? "He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me..." And this comes with a promise of the greatest benefit of all: "He who loves me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him" (John 14:21).

Love was so important to Paul that he said if he didn't have love, he would be "nothing" (1 Cor. 13:2). "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three: but the greatest of these is love" (vs. 13).

And God's love is the greatest love of all. Feel the love! Abide in it today.

- Paul

*"God So Loves Me," Rodney Griffin, Songs of Greater Vision, BMI. Lyrics quoted by permission.

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