Saturday, February 16, 2013

How Does God Love Me? Let Me Count Three Ways.



Valentine’s Day started me thinking about perfect Love, the Supreme Lover, and the ultimate Loving Gift. God’s love for us is infinite, eternal, and unconditional, for it has no limits, transcends all time, and requires nothing in return.

His infinite love reflects His almighty power (Genesis 17:1, 18:14; 28:3, Jeremiah 32:27; Colossians 1:16) to give us all good things (Matthew 7:11; Luke 11:13); His perfect wisdom, to know and do what is best for us (Psalm 139; Romans 8:28; 11:33-36); and His omnipresence, to protect, embrace and comfort us no matter where we go (Psalm 139; Revelation 1:8).

He alone is love itself (1 John 4:8), the source of all blessings (James 1:17), and the light that overcomes all darkness (2 Samuel 22:29; Psalm 112:4; Isaiah 9:2; Matthew 4:16; John 1:5; 8:12; 12:35,46; 1 John 1:5). He made His loving plan for us (Jeremiah 33:2-3) from the foundation of time (2 Timothy 1:9; Ephesians 1:4); He loved us from before we were even conceived (Psalm 139:16;Jeremiah 1:5); and His love is everlasting, continuing throughout eternity (Jeremiah 31:3). We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

We know His unconditional love through His grace, as He gives us blessings we don’t deserve (Ephesians 2:8); His mercy, as He spares us from the punishment we do deserve (Psalm 109:26; 136:26; Isaiah 30:18; Romans 11:30; Ephesians 2:1-7) and His universal acceptance of all who have faith in His Son’s death, burial and resurrection as the only way to eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; John 14:6), regardless of their race, sex, or religious heritage (Galatians 3:28).

Because His love is unconditional, it is self-sacrificing to the point of death (1 John 3:16), it flows from a servant’s heart (John 13:5-14), and it is unmerited, for there is nothing we can do to earn it (Ephesians 2:8-9). He gave us the perfect Gift of His sinless Son, Who willingly laid down His life for us (John 15:13), empowered by the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 12:2-4). And He did all this while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:5), rebels against His truth (1 John 4:3), and His enemies (Romans 5:10).

The incomprehensible richness of this love is possible only because He is One in Three Persons: our Father (Matthew 6:9); Jesus, our Bridegroom (Matthew 9:15); and the Holy Spirit, our Comforter (John 14:16). Each Member of the Trinity not only exemplifies what each of these relationships should ideally be like with their earthly counterparts, but each is perfect, complete, and ever present to sustain us.

God the Father sits on His throne in Heaven (Psalm 45:6; 47:8; Matthew 5:34, from which He rules all things, everywhere, throughout all time, commanding all matter, space and time. Yet He is our Abba Father (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6), our Daddy Who loves for us to come running to Him for reassurance, forgiveness, and encouragement (Luke 15:20). We can boldly approach His throne (Hebrews 4:16) with our requests because when our Holy Father looks at us, He does not see our sins, but only the perfect righteousness of His Son Who was the perfect sacrifice reconciling sinners to Holy God (Romans 3:25: 1 John 2:2).

Not only was Jesus that perfect Sacrifice, and now the High Priest Who intercedes for us while sitting at the right hand of God the Father (Hebrews12:2), but He is also our Betrothed, for the church of born-again believers is His bride. He is our Bridegroom (Matthew 9:15), Husband (2 Corinthians 11:2), and Beloved (Song of Solomon 2:3,8-10,16,17), as we saw in an earlier post..

According to the Jewish marriage custom, a man seeking to marry breaks bread with his beloved and her father, and if she accepts his proposal, she drinks from the same cup that he does. He then returns to his father’s house to build an addition for himself and his bride, and when his father decides the new home is ready, the groom returns unannounced to claim his bride, carrying her off with a great shout in the middle of the night. Therefore, the bride-to-be must keep herself pure and ready, for she knows that he will come back for her, but she doesn’t know when.

When we place our faith in the power of Christ’s shed blood, it is as if we drink of that cup of suffering with Him, and during the remainder of our earthly life we become more conformed to His image through those sufferings and through the power of His resurrection (Philippians 3:10). We are the bride awaiting Christ’s return, and only the Father will determine when the mansion He is preparing for us is ready (John 14:2-3; Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32). Without warning, at the sound of the trumpet, He will snatch us away to meet with Him in the air (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16) and take part in the marriage ceremony and feast (Revelation 19:7-9).

We must therefore be like the wise virgins awaiting the Bridegroom’s return, keeping our lamps trimmed and filled with oil, symbolizing being filled with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 25:1-13). Only through the Spirit is it possible for us to remain separated and holy as His bride, preparing for His return.

Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit, Who indwells each believer at the moment of salvation (John 14:17), is our constant Comforter, Companion, and Guide (John 16:7). At the moment of salvation, He gives each of us at least one spiritual gift to use to grow the church by sharing the Gospel, to fortify the church by helping, exhorting, and teaching fellow believers, and to glorify God in all that we do (1 Corinthians 12).

Throughout our Christian walk, the Comforter enables us to bear the fruit of the Spirit, described in three groups of three (Galatians 5:22-23): the sweet fruit we enjoy of love, joy and peace; the fruit governing our relationships with each other (longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness), and the fruit of self-control (faith, meekness, and temperance).

As our Companion, He is the Friend Who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24), for He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). How can He leave us, for He inhabits our very body (1 Corinthians 3:16) as His temple! As our Guide, the Spirit constantly draws our focus to Jesus Christ (John 15:26; 16:13-14), teaches us to understand the Scripture (John 14:26), and allows us to know that we belong to God evermore (1 John 4:13-16).

Praise Him that He allows us to be children of God the Father, joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17) through our relationship to Our Father and as the betrothed of God the Son, and His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) through the work of the Holy Spirit!  What greater love could there be?

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.


© 2013 Laurie Collett
Photo by Wingchi Poor

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50 comments:

  1. The love of God is so high, so deep so wide, so powerful it cannot be explained. Jesus showed us the true meaning.
    I'm sorry I took so long in responding to your giving me the Versatile Blogger Award. It was so sweet of you to think of me. Thank you.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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    1. Amen, Charlotte! There are no boundaries to God's love.

      You're very welcome for the award, & God bless!
      Laurie

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  2. Hi Laurie,
    that is right, there is no other love like that of our Lord's love. I did not even know what the true meaning of 'love' was until I became born again. Isn't it lovely how the Jewish way of life reflects out relationship with God? Lovely, encouraging post.
    God bless you

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    1. Dear Brenda,
      His love is truly beyond compare. Thanks so much for your uplifting comment, and may you have a blessed Lord's day.
      Laurie

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  3. Dear Laurie,
    Indeed the love of God to us is the most blessed of all relationships. Thank you for posting. I enjoyed reading this.

    By the way, yes I'm back - thanks to a good Christian friend who lent me his desktop while he fixes my laptop. It was affected by a virus I unwittingly let in during a browsing session. How could modern technology be so truculent?
    God bless,
    Frank.

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    1. Welcome back, Frank! I'm sorry to hear that happened, but glad that you're computer is being fixed and that you're back online. Thanks for your uplifting comment, & God bless!
      Laurie

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  4. God is Love. What a wonderful concept. Everything he does is a product of that love. if only we humans could comprehend what that means. Thanks be to him for being such a loving father and God.

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    1. Amen, Donald! His love is manifest as His mercy & grace, extended to us who are totally undeserving. What a wonderful and blessed mystery! Thanks for your comment & God bless!

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  5. Hopping here from Inspire Me Monday. God's love is amazing to me. That He can love us as His Forever Family as well as individually is an example of how big He is. Blessing to you and yours - - Marie
    http://asatisfied spirit.com

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    1. So true, Marie! He so loved the wotld that He gave, and yet He numbers the hairs on each of our heads. What an amazing God we serve!
      May you have a blessed week in Him!
      Laurie

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  6. Every one talks about "finding the perfect love", when if we think about it, we already have it from Him. :O)

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    1. Amen, LuAnn! He is perfect love! Thanks so much for your visit & comment, & God bless!
      Laurie

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  7. Hi Laurie,

    It is humbling to think of God's love for us, huh?

    Have a great week.

    Jennifer Dougan
    www.jenniferdougan.com

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    1. Humbling and amazing, Jennifer! Blessings to you & your ministry,
      Laurie

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  8. "His mercy, as He spares us from the punishment we do deserve" - how He loves me, I am learning, trying to wrap my brain and heart around it - it is bigger than I can fathom. Wonderful post with such good information!

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    1. His love is unfathomable indeed! Praise God that His thoughts are not our thoughts; that His ways are not our ways; and that His love is infinite and amazing!
      Thanks so much for your comment, and blessings to you!
      Laurie

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  9. I didn't know about that Jewish tradition. It all sounds very romantic, doesn't it?

    I enjoyed the post, Laurie. :)

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    1. Thanks, mail4rosey! Challenging for the bride-to-be, but exciting, thinking every night that tonight could be the night! May we have the same anticipation in awaiting Our Lord's return!
      Blessings to you,
      laurie

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  10. What an inspiring post. Thank you so much for sharing it at the Oh HAPPY Day party!

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    1. Thanks, Holly, for your lovely comment & for hosting! God bless,
      Laurie

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  11. Laurie,
    Great post. Thanks for linking to Wednesday' Word - growing takes time.
    Loved the Jewish Marriage Custom.
    Blessings,
    Janis www.janiscox.com

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    1. Thanks, Janis, for your sweet comment & for hosting! You have a lovely blog & linkup, & it's only a matter of time before it grows by leaps & bounds!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  12. God's love is awesome Laurie! In Him we can always put our trust. Thanks for sharing another wonderful and inspirational post.

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    1. Amen, Judy -- He is so faithful! Thanks for hosting & for your uplifting comment!
      Blessings to you,
      Laurie

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  13. Oh no Laurie,
    I am following you again - this time on Winsome Wednesdays. We have to stop meeting like this or at least have a coffee.
    Blessings,
    Janis

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  14. Reminds me of the words, "Oh love of God--how rich and pure. How measureless and strong. It shall forever more endure, the saints and angels song." The tenor in the quartet my husband and I traveled with in college sang that as a solo most services. It continues to be one of my favorite songs. Love the beauty of your words about the love of my Heavenly Father.

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    1. Thanks so much, Pamela, for your kind words! I'm not familiar with that song, but the lyrics are beautiful! I would love to hear it sung.
      Love in Him,
      Laurie

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  15. This entire post has me swooning, Laurie. I never grow tired of meditating on His love.

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    1. Laura, your comment is a great blessing to me! Praise God for the unfathomable mystery of His love!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  16. I am so very thankful that His Love is Unconditional, and that He loves even me. Thank you for sharing at Tell Me a Story.

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    1. Amen, Hazel, the Creator of all loves a wretched sinner like me! Thanks for your comment & for hosting, and may you have a blessed weekend in Him!

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  17. This is a fabulous and comforting post -- well thought out! Bless You!

    http://thejoyfulservant.com

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    1. Thanks so much, Ms. Kathleen, for your kind encouragement! God's blessings to you!
      Laurie

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  18. Wow, so many verses of scripture, one could stay around here for awhile and soak up all the truth you've shared. Thank you for linking up with Imperfect Prose this week.

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    1. Thanks, Shelly, for your sweet comment & for hosting! My utmost wish is that this blog would help readers spend time in His Word.
      Blessings to you,
      Laurie

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    1. Thanks, Susan, for your visit 7 encouraging comment! God bless you!
      Laurie

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  20. Hi Laurie!
    I wanted to thank you for linking up with us at the "Linkin with ladies" hop yesterday! I hope you enjoyed reading some new blogs and hope you can join us again next week!
    Thanks again,
    Katie~
    http://dysfunctionsjunction.com

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    1. Thanks Katie, for your comment & for hosting!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  21. God's love is incomprehensible. I don't think I have a deep enough understanding of His love. Great post, Laurie! Thanks for linking up over at WholeHearted Home this week.

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  22. So true, Judith -- we can't even begin to get a grasp of how much He loves us. Thanks for your sweet comment & for hosting, & God bless!
    Laurie

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  23. Hi I am a new follower to your lovely blog (Via GFC)and it really feel pleasure meeting new awesome bloggers like you. Found you through Harvest of Friends Weekend Blog Hop.

    my blog: www.wilsontom.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Tom! Thanks so much for your very kind comment & for following! I'm following you back!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  24. As I read your post, I am reminded of this song,
    The love of God is greater far than The love of God is greater far
    Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
    It goes beyond the highest star,
    And reaches to the lowest hell;
    The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
    God gave His Son to win;
    His erring child He reconciled,
    And pardoned from his sin.
    Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
    How measureless and strong!
    It shall forevermore endure—
    The saints’ and angels’ song.
    Truly we cannot fathom the depth of the love the Lord had for us. We can see the vastness of it at Calvary. Praising Him for loving me so unconditionally! Thanks Laurie for this amazing thought!
    Save My Marriage

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  25. What a beautiful song! Thank you so much for your visit and uplifting comment. Praise God for His unfathomable love!
    Blessings to you,
    Laurie

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  26. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  27. Hi Steve,

    As I said before, I welcome your comments in response to a post, but this is not an appropriate forum to copy and paste your latest blog post. Thanks in advance for understanding why I have therefore deleted your comment.

    Peter preached the Gospel of the Kingdom to the Jews (Acts 2:5,14). Only Paul, through Divine revelation from Christ Himself, preached the Gospel of Grace (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Ephesians 2:8-9), to the Gentiles.

    The Gospel of the Kingdom, for the nation of Israel, required faith that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, Who would establish the Kingdom. Evidence of that faith was turning from sin and being baptized.

    The Gospel of Grace, for Gentiles and all who are saved in this Church Age, requires faith in the death, burial and resurrection as the only way to Heaven. We must rightly divide the Word of truth, distinguishing that which is spoken to Israel from that which is spoken to the Church.

    Please see my blog post on this topic:
    http://savedbygracebiblestudy.blogspot.com/2013/08/triplets-of-faith-three-true-gospels.html

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