The longer I walk with Christ, the more convinced I become that most Christians do not truly believe that God loves them with an inexhaustible, everlasting, gracious love.
Because when we do believe that God truly loves us, it will radically revolutionize every relationship in our life.
When we understand, grasp and believe the immensity and magnitude of God’s love for us, here are a few things that happen:
- We become secure in our relationship with God.
- We are filled with joy that no one can take away.
- We are able to forgive the hurts and offenses that others commit against us.
- We become far more humble, realizing the grace that He has given to us.
In other words, we become so filled up with God’s love for us that it spills over to others.
We are able to give love and kindness and grace and mercy to others out of the overflow of what is in our hearts because of Christ.
We no longer have to operate from a love deficit, but rather out of a love surplus.
Notice what the Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 3:17-19….
“…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (ESV)
He prays here for us to “know the love of Christ,” but then immediately says it “surpasses knowledge.”
No matter how hard we try to fully grasp God’s immense love for us, it will always be far greater and grander.
But that shouldn’t stop us from both praying to understand it better and learning more about its breadth and depth.
Sam Storms wrote a book years ago entitled The Singing God. It is based on Zephaniah 3:17.
“The Lord your God is with you; he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Did you ever think about the fact that God “rejoices over you with singing?”
J.I. Packer said this about God’s love for his children:
“There is tremendous relief in knowing [that] his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on [his] prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery can disillusion him about me.”
Think about that for a minute.
God’s love for you includes the fact that He knows everything you have done or thought or imagined – or will ever do or will ever think – and He still says: “I love you! You’re mine!”
The Apostle Paul said in Romans 8:
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (vv. 38-39)
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (v. 15)
Brennan Manning, in his well-known book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, wrote:
“Whatever our failings may be, we need not lower our eyes in the presence of Jesus. Unlike Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre Dame, we need not hide all that is ugly and repulsive in us. Jesus comes not for the super-spiritual but for the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don’t have it all together, and who are not too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace.”
We must always remember that the cross of Calvary is the one objective, absolute, irrefutable proof of God’s love for us.
What does the Apostle John say in 1 John 4?
“This is how God showed his love among us: he sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrificed for our sins.” (vv. 9-10)
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Jerry Bridges, in his book Trusting God, wrote:
“God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures. It is true whether we believe it or not. Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our faith create it. It originates in the very nature of God, who is love, and it flows to us through our union with His beloved Son. But the experience of that love and the comfort it is intended to bring is dependent upon our believing the truth about God’s love as it is revealed to us in the Scriptures.”
Isaiah writes in chapter 62:
“As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” (v. 5)
And finally, the Apostle John writes in 1 John 3:
“How great a love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are!” (v. 1)
Your central identity as a believer in Jesus Christ is “a beloved child of God.”
That’s who you are.
No one can take that away from you.
You are loved and you are accepted in Christ never to be rejected.
Now, let Christ’s love so fill your heart that each day you go out and live from a love “surplus” rather than a love “deficit.”
“Whatever God’s love is, it is not exhausted by our concept of it. It transcends our best efforts to describe it. It is higher than our loftiest notions of it.” (R.C. Sproul)