The love of God for His rebellious children is the most wonderful thing that the universe knows. It will be constantly unfolding throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. Our human mind is not capable of understanding its full significance. All the paternal love which has come down from generation to generation of human hearts, is but as a tiny rill to the boundless ocean when compared with the infinite love of God. Furthermore, tongue cannot utter it and pen cannot portray it. The apostle cannot find words to describe it. He calls upon the world to behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. 1 John 3:1.
We may put to the stretch every power of our mind, and yet we shall not be fully able to comprehend the dimensions of the love of God. He so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16. Yet as we study the Bible and meditate upon the life of Christ and the plan of redemption, these great themes will help us to realize the blessing which Paul desired:
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. Ephesians 1
The Lord Himself outlines His character
God has revealed Himself as The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin… Exodus 34:6, 7. This is the language God has chosen to express His love toward us: “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Isaiah 49:15.
The pen of inspiration describes the love of God as:
- God Himself
- coming from God and proving that you are born of Him
- binding us to God that no power in the universe can separate us
- giving and self-sacrificing for us
- healing and transforming, casting out selfishness and fear
- enabling us to love only because He first loved us
- remedy for the infection of sin which is destroying mankind
- restoring us to full son-ship with Him
- infinite and embracing every human being
- pouring out all heaven for our good
- an inexhaustible wellspring of joy and peace
- removing the breach of distrust in our minds and hearts
- as enduring as eternity
- unfailing supply that every soul may be satisfied
- unmerited as the ground of all forgiveness
- showing that you know God
- everlasting, amazing, unconditional, matchless,
- and many more descriptions in the Word of God
In short – this love is the life of God – working with transforming power in the soul, perfecting Christian character, making human beings partakers of the divine nature. Through Christ this living stream of love and life flows to the world.
God is love
The law of love is the foundation of God’s government. The service of love is the only service acceptable to heaven. Like rays of light from the sun, love and light and joy flow out from Him to all His creatures. It is God’s nature to give. His very life is the outflow of unselfish love. God has granted freedom of will to all. He endowed mankind with capacity to appreciate His character, and therefore with ability to love Him, and to choose His service. So long as created beings worshiped God, they were in harmony throughout the universe. While love to God was supreme, love to others abounded. As there was no transgression of the law, which is the transcript of God’s character, no note of discord jarred the celestial harmonies.
Our heavenly Father is made known as the God of love through:
- His Son
Christ declares Himself as a representative of the Father
In His nobility of character, mercy and tender pity, love and goodness, Christ stands before us as the embodiment of divine perfection, the image of the invisible God. In Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Colossians 2:9. Furthermore, the life of Jesus is made manifest in our mortal flesh. 2 Corinthians 4:11. That life in you will produce the same character and manifest the same works as it did in Him. Thus you will be in harmony with every precept of His law. For the law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul. Psalm 19:7, margin. Through love “the righteousness of the law” will be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:4.
Christ, the outshining of the Father’s glory came to the world as its light. He came to represent God to men. In Christ’s prayer offered just before His crucifixion He declared: I have glorified Thee on the earth. Glorify Thy Son, He pleaded, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee. O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me. And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them. John 17:4, 1, 25, 26.
The light of His love shines upon us
Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, God’s word is a light as it becomes a transforming power in the life of the receiver. We are to be centers of light and blessing to our little circle, even as He is to the universe. We have nothing of ourselves, but the light of God’s love shines upon us, and we are to reflect its brightness. In His goodness, we may be perfect in our sphere, even as He is perfect in His. If you are the children of God you are partakers of His nature. You cannot but be like Him. Every child lives by the life of his father. If you are God’s children, begotten by His Spirit, you live by the life of God.
What matchless love, that sinners and aliens as we are, we may be brought back to God and adopted into His family! We may address Him by the endearing name – Our Father, which is a sign of our affection for Him and a pledge of His tender regard and relationship to us. And the Son of God, beholding the heirs of grace, is not ashamed to call them brethren. Hebrews 2:11. They have even a more sacred relationship to God than have the angels who have never fallen.
The order and harmony of creation
The earth came from God’s hand holy and beautiful. Every flower shrub and tree answered the purpose of its Creator. Everything upon which the eye rested was lovely and filled the mind with thoughts of the love of God. Every sound was music in harmony with the voice of God. To the dwellers in Eden was committed the care of the garden – to dress it and to keep it. Genesis 2:15. The order and harmony of creation spoke to them of infinite wisdom and power. They were ever discovering some attraction that filled their hearts with deeper love and called forth fresh expressions of gratitude.
As long as they remained loyal to the divine law, their capacity to know, enjoy and love, would continually increase. They would be constantly gaining new treasures of knowledge. Moreover, discovering fresh springs of happiness, and obtaining clearer and yet clearer conceptions of the immeasurable, unfailing love of God. It was sin which marred God’s perfect work. Thus thorns and thistles, sorrow and pain and death, are all the result of disobedience to God. Though marred with the curse of sin, nature still reveals God’s goodness and love.
All in nature tell us that God is a lover of the beautiful
He speaks to us from nature’s book that He delights in the perfection of beauty of character. He would have us look up through nature to nature’s God. Thus He would have our hearts drawn out in love and affection to Him as we view His created works. The Lord wants us to rejoice in the works of His creation. He rejoices in the work of His hands, which He has clothed with such a profusion of beauty. His glory is declared not only in the heavens, the sun, moon, and stars, but in everything in nature, opening bud and blooming flowers, which His hand has created.
We may consider, as Jesus bade us, the lilies of the valley and the other beautiful flowers growing up around us. They should awaken in our hearts not only reverence but love to God. We need greater natural simplicity, and far more spirituality than we now possess in order to read aright the pages of the book of nature that God has opened before us. We want to grasp through faith the eternal, which He has set before us in earthly forms.
The marvelous love of God in the plan of salvation
The attributes of God were made known through the life and works of Christ. He was the representative of the divine character. The plan of salvation through Christ had been laid before the creation of the earth. For He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
This is the mystery of redemption – the love of God for a world that did not love Him! Who can know the depths of that love which passeth knowledge? Ephesians 3:19. Through endless ages immortal minds, seeking to comprehend the mystery of that incomprehensible love, will wonder and adore. Mankind had become so degraded by sin that it was impossible for him or her, in themselves, to come into harmony with Him whose nature is purity and goodness. But Christ, after having redeemed them from the condemnation of the law, could impart divine power to unite with human effort. Thus by repentance toward God and faith in Christ the fallen children of Adam might once more become sons of God. 1 John 3:2.
In the light of the cross
The mystery of the incarnation of Christ, the account of His sufferings, crucifixion, resurrection, and His ascension, opens to all humanity the wondrous love of God. This imparts a power to the truth as it is in Jesus. So it is the assurance of God’s love that prompts the sinner to return to God. The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance. Romans 2:4. A golden chain of mercy and compassion of divine love passes around every imperiled soul. The Lord declares:
I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee. Jeremiah 31:3
Our sins have pierced and our sorrows have burdened the Author and Finisher of our faith. While looking upon Jesus we shall see cause for gratitude and praise. Thus our thoughts and desires will be brought into submission to His will.
In the gracious blessings which our heavenly Father has bestowed upon us we may discern innumerable evidences of a love that is infinite. When we study the divine character in the light of the cross we see mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness blended with equity and justice. In the language of John we exclaim:
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. 1 John 3:1.
Reconciling the world unto Himself
God was to be manifest in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself. 2 Corinthians 5:19. Only as we contemplate the great plan of redemption we can have a just appreciation of the character of God. The work of creation was a manifestation of His love. Moreover, the gift of God to save the guilty and ruined race, alone reveals the infinite depths of divine tenderness and compassion. While the law of God is maintained, and its justice vindicated, the sinner can be pardoned. The dearest gift that heaven itself had to bestow has been poured out that God according to Paul:
To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Romans 3:26
By that gift humans are uplifted from the ruin and degradation of sin to become children of God. We see in the midst of the throne One bearing in hands, feet and side the marks of the suffering endured to reconcile man to God and God to man. Matchless mercy reveals to us a Father, infinite, dwelling in light unapproachable, yet receiving us to Himself through the merits of His Son. Thus Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
The cross of Calvary speaks the amazing love of God for the sinner
God valued mankind at an infinite price as giving his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. If the love of God fails to call forth a response from the human heart, if it fails to soften and subdue the soul, we are utterly lost. There is no reserve power through which to influence the sinner. Heaven’s richest gift has been freely offered for our acceptance. No greater manifestation of God’s love can be given than that which was given on Calvary’s cross. If the love of Christ does not melt and subdue the heart, by what means can man be reached?
Have you failed to respond to the pleadings of his Spirit? Then no longer fortify your heart in hardness. Open the door of the heart to receive Christ – the best gift of Heaven. Let not cruel unbelief influence you to refuse the heaven-sent guest. Let not Christ say of you – Ye will not come unto Me that ye might have life. John 5:40. With loving entreaties He follows the sinner, pleading: Turn ye, turn ye; for why will ye die? Ezekiel 33:11 margin.
Under the shadow of the cross of Calvary
Thus the inspiration of His love fills our hearts. We are inspired with love, zeal and earnestness through a living connection with Christ. Furthermore, we are capable of responding to the bright beams of the Sun of righteousness. For as Christ illuminates our souls, He gives light and life.
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6
We receive the love of Christ as the branch draws nourishment from the vine. If we are grafted into Christ, if fiber by fiber we have been united with the living Vine, we shall give evidence of this fact by bearing rich clusters of fruit. If we are connected with light, we shall be channels of light, and in our words and works we shall reflect light to the world. Those who are truly Christians, grasp the golden chain which links earth to heaven, which binds finite man to the infinite God.
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6
Drawn near to the heart of infinite love
Through the atoning Sacrifice of Christ, we are not simply forgiven. We are accepted of God through the Beloved. The plan of redemption is not merely a way of escape from the penalty of transgression. Through it the sinner is forgiven his or her sin and will be finally received in heaven. Furthermore, it is not as a forgiven culprit pardoned and released from captivity, yet looked upon with suspicion and not admitted to friendship and trust. It is as welcomed as a child and taken back into fullest confidence. The sacrifice of our Savior has made ample provision for every repenting, believing soul. We are saved because God loves the purchase of the blood of Christ.
God will pardon the repentant sinner and permit him or her to enter heaven. Moreover, the Father of mercies, will wait at the very gates of heaven to welcome us, and to give us an abundant entrance to the mansions of the blessed. Oh what love, what wondrous love the Father has shown in the gift of his beloved Son for this fallen race! And this Sacrifice is a channel for the outflow of His infinite love. Thus all who believe on Jesus Christ may, like the prodigal son, receive full and free restoration to the favor of Heaven.
An individual does not step down in becoming a Christian
It would require the language of the Infinite to express the love that has made it possible for us to be called the sons of God. There is no shame in having connection with the living God. Jesus bore the humiliation and shame and reproach that justly belonged to the sinner. He was the Majesty of heaven and the King of glory. Furthermore, He was equal with the Father. Yet he clothed his divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity and divinity might lay hold of divinity. He came as our substitute and surety. Moreover, He overcame the prince of darkness in our behalf and make us victors through his merits.
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. Galatians 6:14
The world sees no charm in Jesus. On the other hand Christian sees in Him matchless charms, and expresses his love, saying: Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. Psalms 18:35. Christians realize the blessing that comes upon those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. For they are filled. The blessing comes upon those who desire entire conformity to the will of God. Moreover, who desire to know Christ and to reflect His image.
Through the merits of Jesus Christ, they realize that nothing is reserved in the heart of God for them but the fountain of the water of life. That is Christ’s tender mercy, loving-kindness, infinite compassion. Jesus changes place with the sinner who believes, and the Father loves the followers of Christ, even as He loves His Son. He who receives the truth, has his or her heart filled with peace and joy as they contemplates Jesus.
A love that embraces all humanity
While we were yet unloving and unlovely in character, hateful, and hating one another, our heavenly Father had mercy on us.
For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Titus 3:3-5
His love received will make us in like manner – kind and tender, not merely toward those who please us, but to the most faulty and erring and sinful.
The children of God are those who are partakers of His nature. It is not earthly rank, birth, nationality, nor religious privilege, which proves that we are members of the family of God. It is love that embraces all humanity. Even sinners whose hearts are not utterly closed to God’s Spirit will respond to kindness. While they may give hate for hate, they will also give love for love. But it is only the Spirit of God that gives love for hatred. To be kind to the unthankful and evil, and to do good hoping for nothing again, is the sign of the royalty of heaven. This is the sure token by which the children of the Highest reveal their high estate.
God uses love to expel sin from the heart
God does not employ compulsory measures. With untold love our God has loved us. Thus our love awakens toward Him as we: May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the foulness of God. Ephesians 3:18, 19. By the revelation of the attractive loveliness of Christ, by the knowledge of His love expressed to us while we were yet sinners, the stubborn heart is melted and subdued.
The conditions of eternal life, under grace, are just what they were in Eden – perfect righteousness, harmony with God and conformity to the principles of His law. This standard is not one to which we cannot attain. In every command that God gives there is a promise – the most positive, underlying the command. God has made provision that we may become like Him, and He will accomplish this for all who do not interpose a perverse will and thus frustrate His grace.
Do not give up to despair
It was sinners that Christ came to save. We have not to reconcile God to us. For God in Christ is reconciling the world unto Himself. 2 Corinthians 5:19. He is wooing by His tender love the hearts of His erring children. Earthly parent couldn’t be as patient with the faults and mistakes of his or her children, as God is with those He seeks to save. No one could plead more tenderly with the transgressor. No human lips ever poured out more tender entreaties to the wanderer than does He. All His promises and warnings are but the breathing of unutterable love.
When Satan comes to tell you that you are a great sinner, look up to your Redeemer and talk of His merits. That which will help you is to look to His light. Acknowledge your sin, but tell the enemy that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners and that you may be saved by His matchless love. 1 Timothy 1:15. Jesus asked Simon a question in regard to two debtors. One owed his lord a small sum, and the other owed him a very large sum; but he forgave them both, and Christ asked Simon which debtor would love his lord most. Simon answered: He to whom he forgave most. Luke 7:43.
Christ died that we might be forgiven
The merits of His sacrifice are sufficient to present to the Father in our behalf. Those to whom He has forgiven most will love Him most, and will stand nearest to His throne to praise Him for His great love and infinite sacrifice. It is when we most fully comprehend the love of God that we best realize the sinfulness of sin. When we understand something of the infinite sacrifice that Christ has made in our behalf, the heart is melted with tenderness and contrition.
The wanderer will be received
When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. Luke 15:20
But even this parable, tender and touching as it is, comes short of expressing the infinite compassion of the heavenly Father. The Lord declares by His prophet – I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee. Jeremiah 31:3. While the sinner is yet far from the Father’s house, wasting his substance in a strange country, the Father’s heart is yearning over him. Every longing awakened in the soul to return to God is but the tender pleading of His Spirit, wooing, entreating, drawing the wanderer to his Father’s heart of love.
With the rich promises of the Bible before you, can you give place to doubt? Can you believe that when the poor sinner longs to return, longs to forsake his or her sins, the Lord sternly withholds them from coming to His feet in repentance? Away with such thoughts! Nothing can hurt your own soul more than to entertain such a conception of our heavenly Father. He hates sin, but He loves the sinner, and He gave Himself in the person of Christ, that all who would might be saved and have eternal blessedness in the kingdom of glory.
As we contemplate the great plan of redemption we can have a just appreciation of the character of God and His love. The gift of God to save a guilty and ruined race alone reveals the infinite depths of divine tenderness and compassion. God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16.
Human love may change, but God’s love knows no change. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. Isaiah 54:10. Circumstances may separate friends, but no circumstance can separate us from the love of God. Thus Paul declares: I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38, 39.
The dearest gift of Heaven
While the law of God is upheld and its justice vindicated, the sinner can be pardoned. Thus God might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Romans 3:26. What matchless love, that, sinners and aliens tho we are, we may be brought back to God, and adopted into His family! We may address Him by the endearing name – “Our Father”. It is a sign of our affection for Him, and a pledge of His tender regard for us. And the Son of God, beholding the heirs of grace, is not ashamed to call them brethren. They have even a more sacred relationship to God than have the angels who have never fallen.
Christ compares the love of a parent, who is so willing to relieve the necessities of his or her children, with that of our Father in heaven. He would impress upon His followers their true relationship to God. They are His children by creation and by redemption. God is their Father in a sense that implies a closer relationship than that of a child to its earthly parents. If earthly parents know how to give good gifts unto their children – how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Luke 11:13
Look up, you that are doubting and trembling
Jesus lives to make intercession for us. Thank God for the gift of His dear Son and pray that He may not have died for you in vain. The Spirit invites you today. Come with your whole heart to Jesus, and you may claim His blessing. As you read the promises, remember they are the expression of unutterable love and pity. The great heart of Infinite Love is drawn toward the sinner with boundless compassion. We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Ephesians 1:7. Believe that God is your helper. He wants to restore His moral image in you. As you draw near to Him with confession and repentance, He will draw near to you with mercy and forgiveness.
Christ and Him crucified must be the theme of contemplation, conversation, and most joyful emotion. We should have these special appointments of keeping fresh in our thoughts everything which we receive from God. Moreover, of expressing our gratitude for His great love, and our willingness to trust everything to the hand that was nailed to the cross for us. We should learn here to talk the language of Canaan, to sing the songs of Zion. By the mystery and glory of the cross we can estimate the value of man. Then we shall see and feel the importance of working for our fellow men, that they may be exalted to the throne of God.
- ST, Dec, 1914; CE 207; PP, 46-51; 6T 358; 5MR 19; PP 63; COL 202; 4T 461; 5T 633, 739; ST, Nov, 1889; MB 75-77; RH, Sep, 1892; SC 35, 53; BE, Mar, 1894; ST, Jul, 1904; – The Ellen G. White Estate
- King James Version (KJV) Bible – BibleGateway
- Image courtesy – Pixabay
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