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What “God Loves You” Actually Means
From the beginning, God chose to have a people who would be the object of his eternal love, just as Christ is the object of his eternal love. God sought to acquire a “bride” for Christ who would receive and reflect the love of the triune community (Eph 5:25-32). And the only qualification for being incorporated into this radiant bride, and thus for being loved by God with the same love he has for Christ, is simply that one is willing to let God do this!
The very same love that the Father has for the Son is now given to us, for we are, as a matter of fact, in the Son. The point is made perfectly clear in John 17 when Jesus prayed that his disciples, and thus all the world, would know that the Father has “loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23, emphasis added). Then a few sentences later, he said to the Father, “I made your name [character] known to them … so that the [very same] love which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them (John 17:26, emphasis added).
The perfect love that defines God throughout eternity—the ultimate, worth-affirming, mutually submissive love that eternally unites the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is now directed toward every person who is “in Christ.”
This means that as you read this sentence you could not be more loved than you are right now! The love that God eternally is burns toward you with the same unimprovable, passionate intensity that the three divine persons have for each other. The perfect love that God eternally is is directed toward you, right here and right now. It is not a secondary, compromised, watered down, or derivative love. It is the one and the same love that is shared by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the very act of loving Christ, the Father loves you.
The goal of creation is for people to participate in the eternal love of the triune God. We do not do this by performing good deeds, successfully conquering certain sins, or holding all of the right theological positions. These may be by-products of the change in reality that takes place in us, but they are not the cause of the change. We participate in the eternal love of the triune fellowship by allowing ourselves to be placed in Christ by faith. We receive it. It is simply a matter of saying yes to God’s desire to relate to us in the process of relating to the triune community.
This was achieved when Christ came—which we celebrate during this Advent season—crossing the infinite gulf that distinguishes and separates God from fallen humanity. Through the incarnation and the eventual crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the Father incorporates all who say yes into the Son. Thus the Trinity opens up the perfect, triune love and allows undeserving sinners to share in the dance of God’s eternal love and glory.
—Adapted from Repenting of Religion, pages 37-39
Image by Kaleb Nimz via Unsplash
Getting Honest about the Dark Side of the Bible
Eddy Van 3000 via Compfight While most of the Bible exhibits a “God-breathed” quality, reflecting a magnificently beautiful God that is consistent with God’s definitive revelation on the cross, we must honestly acknowledge that some depictions of God in Scripture are simply horrific. They are included in what is sometimes called “the dark side of…
A Question about Salvation
Greg answers a reader question regarding whether people who have never heard of Jesus are going to hell. Can we know who is and who is not saved?
Sermon Clip: Through Samaria
In this final installment of the Women on the Outside series, we explore the story of the woman at the well Jesus encountered while traveling through Samaria and how he dives right in to the gender and racial tensions of the first century Jewish culture. You can listen/watch the full sermon here: http://whchurch.org/sermons-media/sermon/through-samaria
Love That Keeps On Giving
In English, we have one word for love. In ancient Greek, there were four different words that we can translate as “love.” And each has a different meaning. Let’s consider each briefly. Storge—referred to a person’s affection for something. When we say we love our car or a person’s smile or another’s ability to sing,…
A Word About Sharing the Gospel From an Atheist
Jen J over at A Deeper Family wrote a little piece about how she felt convicted after this video was played during a sermon at her church. She makes some good points. Penn Jillette is a famous atheist, and I’m sure he encounters a lot of Christians trying to persuade him to come to God. It’s…
A Jesus Kind of Church
The church can only be the conduit of God’s love if it stops judging others (See yesterday’s post). This means that it will stop being concerned about its reputation in the eyes of those who practice this religious judgment. The only reputation we need be concerned with is to have the one Jesus had. He…