I challenged my church this week to think long about how God has loved them. The goal? That we might respond the way the Bible writers respond when they are thinking about the love of God. I thought that it might help to illustrate those examples to help our thinking…
Think of King David…
5 You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it.Psalms 139:5-6
When I read Psalm 139, I see David touching over and over his amazement that God thinks so intimately about him. That God’s love would not only direct His attention me-ward is amazing. That once He knows me intimately, He still directs His loving attention my way is too wonderful for me. It is hard to understand.
Think of Moses…
2 “ The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will extol Him.Exodus 15:2
Moses and the Israelites are praising God for His deliverance from the Egyptians in this passage. When God does something great in our lives, don’t we feel this type of praise? I want to shout, “The Lord fights for me!” I am awestruck when God does this in my life. I, too, say, ” “Who is like You among the gods, O Lord? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?” (Exodus 15:11)
Think of Paul…
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?… 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:31-39
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.Ephesians 1:3-6
17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.1 Timothy 1:17
These declarations of Paul always seem to be in response to some expression of God’s love and mercy. Romans 8 is in response to the reality that there is no condemnation from God for those who believe in Jesus. Ephesians 1 is the declaration (as is common to Paul) that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone. It amazes him that we should be so saved by God. and 1 Timothy 1 is Paul’s self-confession that Jesus died to save sinners just as bad as Paul. Paul’s deep theological declarations about the grace and mercy of God were as personal as they were thought provoking. He never got over how much God loved Him in Jesus. I have that in my life. To know my own distance from God, and also to know that Jesus still died for me, it brings such wonder! I will never get over it.
Think of John…
1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.1 John 3:1
The end of 1 John 2 talks in depth about God’s invitation to abide in Jesus through receiving and drinking deeply in the promises of Jesus. What does John do when he thinks about the promises of Jesus? He bursts into praise and wonder over the love that God has given unto us. He rejoices in the reality that every Christian has been made a child of God. This is a deeper type of ‘child of God’ than what we usually mean. Usually, we are speaking of being a child of God as one who is made in God’s image. For John, he is thinking about being purposefully adopted by God as full heirs of all of God’s promises in Jesus. It makes him pause. It makes me pause. To be so received by God as His true child. What an amazing truth to always have before me!
What about you? Which of these resonate with you? Of course, there are more, but these should suffice to draw our hearts out of their closets of safety. They should move us to either discover anew our own story with God’s love, or make us ponder why we don’t have such a story with God. I urge you, consider how much God has demonstrated His own love toward you. My favorite verse in all the Bible is Romans 5:8. Take a gander at it right now. Does it move you?
Something to think about,