Sunday Services at 10:00am
1155 Silas Deane Highway, Wethersfield
Today’s guest writer is Jim Quigley.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Over the last several weeks, the topic of God’s love has been an overarching theme, not only in the sermons preached but also in my personal time of devotion. While this may not be very shocking, it has served as a great reminder of just how awesome God’s love is for us. Although volumes can be written on God’s love and still not do it justice, I will try to limit what I feel were the four key reminders to me of what God’s love is for His people.
1) God’s love completes our joy. Jesus tells His disciples in John 15:9-12, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” This concept of remaining in God’s love for us instead of the love the world or man can offer is what brings true joy to our soul. And indeed, knowing that our Lord and Savior and Creator knows and loves us intimately should cause our hearts to leap with joy. No man or woman or material possession can bring complete joy to our being. Only by remaining in the love of God is our joy made complete.
2) God’s love is sacrificial. God loves us so much that He (*spoiler alert*) gave up His one and only Son so that our relationship with Him can be reconciled once and for all. As Paul says it in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus showed that sacrificial love with every strike He took while being flogged, with every step He took carrying that cross, with every insult hurled at Him, with every agonizing second He suffered hanging on the cross. Jesus showed that sacrificial love by drinking the cup of God’s wrath down to the very last drop so that we would never have to partake of it. Instead we who submit to Him as Savior and Redeemer drink from the cup of eternal life. God sacrificed His best for us, His unblemished, pure Lamb, to show us how much He loves us.
3) God’s love is unchanging. As the author of Hebrews writes, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). And since Jesus in unchanging, so is His love for us. In a world that is fast paced and constantly changing, it is comforting to know that God’s love for us never changes, never lessens. What I do think changes is our ability to receive His love. As we grow deeper in our relationship with God, we “learn” how to embrace His love for us more than we did before. There is great comfort and joy in knowing that God’s unchanging, unwavering love was, is, and will always be there for us.
4) God’s love is unconditional. God’s love for us is not based on our performance. There is nothing that you can do to make God love you more. And there is also nothing you can do to make God love you any less. He loves you because He wants to love you, not because of anything you have or have not done. He loves you when you succeed and when you fail. When you leap for joy and when you cry in sorrow. When you are healthy and when you are sick. He loves you when you are close to Him and when (you think) you are far away from Him. When you are content in Him and when you are frustrated with Him. When you are at peace with Him and when you are angry at Him. He loves you when you love Him and when you hate him. When you live in freedom and when you live in fear. He loves you through all your emotional outbreaks. He loves you when you are hurting. When you doubt Him. When you fall short of His standards. He loves you when you give into sin and your addictions. When you don’t trust in Him. He loves you when your life is a mess. He loves you even if you don’t have it together. He loves you PERIOD. As Paul puts it in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I was reminded recently that we embrace God’s love in stages. At certain times in our life and at different stages of Christian development, we experience God’s love in a certain way. Then we go through trials and tribulations, and we learn that we need to rely and depend on God in a way that we were not doing previously. And it is by trusting in His strength to get us through and ultimately out of the trial that we experience God’s love for us in a deeper way than before. Yes, God’s love is constant and unchanging, but at that time, we could only handle a certain amount of His love. It is as if we were a sponge and we could only soak up so much of God’s love. As we continue to grow in Christ, our “spiritual sponge” gets larger and we are able to soak in some more of God’s love. And what is exciting is that, though His love is unchanging, it is without bound. And so we can always grow deeper and deeper into His love for us. “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” (Ephesians 3:17-19).
I pray that we can be a people that makes our joy complete by remaining in God’s sacrificial, unchanging, and unconditional love for us.
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