These words describe the great love of God the Father, who, by His will (James 1:18), gives life to sinners by His Holy Spirit, even while they lie dead in their sins and unbelief. Consider the great love of God for His own.
- God’s love is holy. “The righteous LORD loveth righteousness” (Ps. 11:7). “The LORD loveth the righteous” (Ps. 146:8). “Thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Ps. 5:5). The great question is not, “Does God love me?” But, “How can God, who is holy, He love me, a sinner?” The answer scripture gives is...
- God’s love is in Christ. The Bible never tells sinners, “God loves you.” Rather, it points sinners, in all of their filth, in all the nakedness of their need, away from themselves to Christ. It is in seeing Christ crucified that we believe the love God has to us. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). God can only love sinners in Christ. There is no love of God to sinners apart from Christ. Nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39).
- God’s love is sovereign. God loves His own because He loves (Deut. 7:7-8). The only reason given for the love of God to His people is His sovereign will to love. Every reason for God’s love to sinners is found in His own will in Christ. “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him in love” (Eph. 1:4). “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Rom. 9:11-13).
- God’s love is saving. I believe this is the most endearing aspect of God’s love: He saves sinners like me and you, for His great love, even when we are dead in sins! This is how we know the love of God (1 John 4:10, 16, 19). “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 2:13-14). “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save... He will rest in His love” (Zep. 3:17). “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev. 1:5). "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight" (Matt. 11:25-26).
- God’s love is unfailing. The LORD will have the objects of His love (John 10:16; Jer. 31:3). He will perform all that His love designs for them. No sin or unbelief on their part will keep them from the designs of His love for them. “Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine” (Hosea 3:1). “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim” (Hosea 11:8)? “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it” (Song 8:7). Neither the flood of sin and unbelief on our part, or the flood of God’s wrath on the part of His justice could drown the love of Christ for His people (Rom. 8:35, 37). Hear the reasoning holy justice and grace give as they embrace each other in Christ crucified: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow...” washed in His blood (Isa. 1:18; Rev. 1:5). He will therefore rest in His love. Christ set His face like a flint to go to the cross for the joy His love for His people brought Him (Heb. 12:2-3; Eph. 5:25-27; Zep. 3:17).
- God’s love is from everlasting to everlasting. It is as old and as enduring as God. “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16). “From everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God” (Ps. 90:2). As long as God has been God, He has loved His people. “The LORD hath appeared of old to me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love…” (Jer. 31:3). And as long as God remains God, He will yet love His people. Nothing “...shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39).
- God’s love is giving. “Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it” (Eph. 5:25). “The Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). God teaches the measure of His love for His people by the gift of the Son of His love. The LORD told Abraham, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, ... and offer him there for a burnt offering” (Gen. 22:2). “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things” (Rom. 8:32). “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16). For the world God loves, He delivered up His Son to death. To the world God loves, He gives everlasting life. To those God so loved, He gives all things with Christ (Rom. 8:32; 1 Cor. 3:21-23; Col. 2:9-10)!
- God’s love is unearnable; it is unmerited. “God commendeth (made known) His love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). “I will love them freely (without cause in them), for mine anger is turned away from him (Christ)” (Hosea 14:4).
- God’s love is gracious. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved)” (Eph. 2:4-5). This is amazing grace indeed! But consider the grace of God that crucified His Son for sinners! “When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son” (Rom. 5:10)! There can be no higher measure of the love of God for His own than that He gave His Son to death for them to have them for Himself when they were His enemies (Hosea 3:1-2; Eph. 1:7)!
- God’s love is invariable, unchangeable. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). “God is not a man that He should lie, neither the son of man that He should repent” (Num. 23:19). We may be tempted to think God loves us more after our conversion than before. But the revelation of God's love for His own before their conversion is a love unparalleled to all that follows after. He gave Himself: "I will be your God" (Ezek. 36:28; 2 Cor. 6:18). He gave His Son for them (Rom. 5:6-10; Rom. 8:32; 1 John 4:10). He raised them from death in sins to spiritual life with Christ (Eph. 2:4-5). Now, all of these displays of the love of God for His own are made before their conversion. This forms the basis of God's argument in Rom. 5:10 to assure His people of their final salvation from every enemy!
- God’s love is distinguishing. “In love, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto Himself” (Eph. 1:5). “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). Men express great consternation because of the distinguishing nature of the love of God. But it is because we do not understand the love of God. Much outcry is raised, saying that we limit the love of God to God’s elect only; that God loves only some, but not every man in the world. But God limits His love. He loves those who are in Christ. Can God love any man outside of Christ? No. Why? Because He is holy!! Does God love those He does not save? No. He gives all things to those for whom He delivered up His Son to judgment! Those He loves, He saves to the uttermost. Those He loves, He loves as sons by Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:4-7; 1 John 3:1). To those He loves, He shows mercy (Ex. 33:19). To those He loves, He is gracious (Rom. 9:15-16). To those He loves, He gives promises in Christ before the world began (2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:1-2; 2 Cor. 1:20; Gal. 3:7-29; 4:28; Rom. 9:6-8). And those God loves, He "foreknew" in love before the world began. He predestinated them to be conformed to the image of His dear Son (Jer. 31:3; Rom. 8:29; Matt. 7:23). God’s distinguishing love for His own is seen when He raises them from their spiritual death in unbelief, to faith in Christ (Ezek. 16:8; Ezek. 37:3-14; Eph. 2:4-6; Titus 3:3-7). His love is sovereign, and therefore distinguishing, without cause found in the objects of His love (Song 8:7; Rom. 5:8; Eph. 2:4; Hosea 14:4).
- God’s love is forgiving. We know the love of God to us by the debt He forgave us when we had nothing to pay (Luke 7:41-47). The greater our sense of the horrible evil of our sin, and the unspeakable grace of God in forgiving us all of our sins for Christ’s sake alone (Eph. 4:32; Rom. 5:9-10), the more we will love our God and Savior (Luke 7:47; Titus 3:3-8).
- We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). God loved us when we were ungodly, when we were slaves to sin in our minds, when we were by nature and by wicked works the children of wrath, even as others; when we were the very enemies of God (Rom. 8:7; Eph. 2:1-4; Rom. 5:5-10). Yet, because He loved us from everlasting, He drew us to Christ (Jer. 31:3; John 6:44-45). We therefore love Him, because He crucified His Son to save us from our sins. We love Christ because He gave Himself in life and death for us (Gal. 2:20; Ex. 21:2-6). And we love God because by His Spirit, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, gave us life with faith, which faith is the evidence of spiritual and eternal life, life given to us by the breath of the Holy Spirit of God who comes to live in us in the new birth (Ps. 33:6; Ezek. 16:8; Ezek. 37:3-14; John 3:5-8; Eph. 2:4; 1 John 3:9; 4:19; Eph. 2:8-10).
- The love of God is preserving: He keeps us and enables us to endure to the end, ever looking to Christ. “...the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ” (2 Thess. 3:5). “Tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly... “If when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Rom. 5:5-10).
The lesson is this: everything in our salvation follows God’s great “therefore:” “The LORD hath appeared of old to me, saying, I have loved thee with an everlasting love, THEREFORE, with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jer. 31:3; Titus 3:3-7; John 6:39-40, 44-45; 10:16). Therefore, if you are looking to Christ as all of your salvation; if Christ is your only Answer to God for obedience to His law and for satisfaction to His justice for your sins, it is because God, for His great love wherewith He loved you, even when you were dead in sins, has made you alive with Christ. He has raised you from the dead and made you a new creature in Christ (Rom. 8:34; Ezek. 16:8; Ezek. 37:3-14; John 5:24; Eph. 2:4-10; 4:24; 1 John 4:16). All favor and blessings given you by God in Christ, are because the LORD loved you in Christ with an everlasting love! “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (1 John 4:11).