“… And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Eph 3:17-19).
Another proof that Jesus Christ is not just a man, but also God. His love is beyond our ordinary human comprehension. Paul had to pray in order that other Christians would “have power” just to know the “love of Christ” – the love “that surpasses knowledge”! Could a mere man capable of exercising that kind of love?
But the questions we are more concern to answer this time are: Do we really know the love of God? Do we believe it? Do we experience its joy and excitement?
We hear such teachings as “God is love”; “His love is unconditional”; “God hates sins, but loves the sinners”; “He loves everyone”; “He loves even those who reject Him, even those who choose to be in hell,” etc. Some believe that because God is love, He will not allow anyone to suffer for eternity in hell.
Are all those perceptions of God’s love being taught by God’s Word? Or, are we trying to color some of them with our egoistical or human-centered mind set?
Before, I thought God has an “equal amount” of love for everyone – not only for the believers, but even for the unbelievers. The Bible, however, taught that love could be applied in different degrees. We read in Luke 7:47, “But he who has been forgiven little loves little." We can love little and we can also love much.
The Son of God said that our love for Him should be greater than our love for any member of our family. “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt 10:37).
And in Mal. 1:2-3, God declared that He loved more Jacob than Esau. In fact, the passage says that “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated…”
Let’s go on to examine the Bible and find out “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” -- “to know this love that surpasses knowledge.”
Who are the objects of this kind of love, aside from Jacob, Abraham, David, John, Paul, etc.?
We read in 2 Cor 9:7 that “God loves a cheerful giver.” Do you believe that God loves more a cheerful giver than a stingy one?
In Ps. 37:28, we read: “For THE LORD LOVES THE JUST and will not forsake his faithful ones.” And in Ps. 146:8, “…the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD LOVES THE RIGHTEOUS.” I hope you also believe that God loves more the just and the righteous than the unjust and the wicked.
Notice also Ps. 32:10, which says: “Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds THE MAN WHO TRUSTS IN HIM.” Not all men trust in the Lord. But those who do are surely loved more by God. Do you believe it?
How about Ps 86:5? It says, “You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love TO ALL WHO CALL TO YOU.” Do you also believe that he who calls upon God receives an abounding love than the one who mocks Him?
Now, let us read Ps 103:11 & 17, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for THOSE WHO FEAR HIM. . . But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with THOSE WHO FEAR HIM, and his righteousness with their children’s children.” Indeed, God’s love is greater for those who fear Him than those who defy Him.
In Deut 7:9-10, we find these words, “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of THOSE WHO LOVE HIM AND KEEP HIS COMMANDS. But those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him.”
Are those who love God and keep His commands enjoy His greater love than those who “do not have the love of God” in their hearts (John 5:42)?
Then in Ps 36:5-10, “Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep O LORD, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. Continue your love to THOSE WHO KNOW YOU.”
Could we also say that those who know God intimately are loved more by God? For those who do not know Him “will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed” (2 Thess 1:8-10).
And in John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM shall not perish but have eternal life.” Do you also believe that God has greater love for the believers – those who belong to Him or “His own who were in the world” (John 13:1) – than for the unbelievers?
Know and treasure how the Word defines God’s love for the believers:
-- SO LOVED (John 3:16; 1 John 4:11). -- LOVE THAT ENDURES FOREVER (1 Chron. 16:34). -- ABOUNDING LOVE (Ps. 86:5). -- WONDERFUL LOVE (Ps. 31:21). -- GREAT LOVE, REACHING TO THE HEAVENS (Ps. 57:10). -- LOVE THAT IS BETTER THAN LIFE (Ps. 63:3). -- GREAT LOVE (Ps. 86:13). -- HOW GREAT IS THE LOVE THE FATHER LAVISHED ON US (1 John 3:1). -- FOR AS HIGH AS THE HEAVENS ARE ABOVE THE EARTH, SO GREAT IS HIS LOVE (Ps. 103:11). -- LOVE THAT STANDS FIRM FOREVER (Ps 89:2). -- UNFAILING LOVE (Ps 107:21). -- HOW PRICELESS IS HIS UNFAILING LOVE! (Ps 36:7). -- LOVE THAT IS FROM EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING (Ps. 103:17).
Perhaps, we can love from now on and forevermore. But only God can love us “from everlasting to everlasting” and that kind of love is directed to the true believers, to those who fear God – whom He inspired to have that kind of fear (Jer. 32:40). Even before the material universe – from everlasting – those who are “His own” are already loved by the Everlasting God!
But the real reason why the love of Christ would defy even our human comprehension is when He described His love in John 15:9 -- "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you…”!!!
How did the Father love the Son?
We will just go to two Scriptures. In John 3:35, we read: “The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.” Also in John 5:20: “For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does…”
God the Father loves His Son by placing everything in His hands and by showing the Son all the Father does. (Please read Part 2 to see many wonderful favors He intended to do for the believers – the object of His great love.)
How God the Father loved the Son is the same how He loved the believers. Is there any power that will severe Christ from the love of the Father? In the same way, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Rom. 8:35.)
With such kind of love lavished on us, surely, nothing will be able to separate us from the great love of God (Rom. 8:38-39).
PRAYER: Our Loving Heavenly Father, we praise and thank You for the great love You lavished on us. Reveal more to us Your Magnificence and the wonder of Your love. Help us to delight more and more in Your Presence as we savor the sweet love that is in Your Son. Bless us with more opportunities to exalt You and draw others to the sufficiency and glorious joy of Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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