A.W. Pink: Christ died not in order to make God love us, but because He did love His people. Calvary is the supreme demonstration of Divine love. Whenever you are tempted to doubt the love of God, Christian reader, go back to Calvary.
Love, as well as being an attribute clearly seen in the Trinity, also finds clear expression in God’s relationship with man. Yesterday we seen this self-giving love characterizes the Trinity, but today we will see that God even extends this love to mankind and even to sinful men. John Owen wrote: ‘The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay upon the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to Him is not to believe that He loves you.’ This is made clear in Romans 5:8 ‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ And John 3:16 ‘For God so loved the world, he gave his one and only son.’
God did not demand that we first demonstrate our allegiance to Him before Christ would agree to die in our place. God acted first, motivated solely by his own love, to grant mercy to His people as the ultimate expression of His grace (Ex. 33:19; Isa. 63:7; Rom. 9:15-18; Eph. 2:4; Titus 3:5; 1 Pet. 1:3). Christ died for us because the Father and the Son loved the unlovable.
Galatians 2:20 says ‘I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’ This shows the clearly the personal application of Christ’s love to individuals. How amazing that it’s the will of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to show love to us and bring us true joy and happiness. It is God’s nature to act this way toward those he loves and this will continue toward us for all eternity.
Is it a small thing in your eyes to be loved by God? Is it something we take for granted to be the son, the spouse, the love, the delight of the King of glory? Richard Baxter said ‘Christian, believe this, and think about it: you will be eternally embraced in the arms of the love which was from everlasting, and will extend to everlasting – of the love which brought the Son of God’s love from heaven to earth, from earth to the cross, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to glory – that love which was weary, hungry, tempted, scorned, scourged, buffeted, spat upon, crucified, pierced – which fasted, prayed, taught, healed, wept, sweated, bled, died. That love will eternally embrace you.
Part of being made in the image of God and bearing his likeness (Genesis 1:26), is that we are able to share some of his attributes. We imitate this attribute of God, first by loving God in return and then second, by loving others in the imitation of the way God loves them. This is a big task, but also blessing and we shall consider this tomorrow.