Our Wonderfully Loving God

Described

 

It is exceptionally difficult to describe God’s love in just one or two sentences. Therefore, it is better you form your own description of God’s love for what you read in this chapter.

 

God’s devoted love, grace and mercy

 

Many people believe God is not revealed as a God of love in the Old Testament. They imagine the Old Testament depicts Him as a God with a bad temper who quickly punishes people for the slightest mistake and who heartlessly condemns multitudes to hell after making supposedly impossible demands on them. But throughout many verses in the Old Testament, God continually reveals He is a God of perfectly devoted love, grace and mercy.

 

New Testament teaching on God’s love

 

The New Testament contains some wonderful instruction about how much God loves us. It is impossible to have a good relationship to Him without having a revelation of His love.

The Apostle John had a deep God-given insight into God’s love. He constantly referred to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (see John 19:26, 20:2, 21:7 and 21:20). He did not say this as a result of thinking God loved him more than others. Romans 2:11 and Acts 10:34 show God does not show favouritism to anyone. God revealed to John that part of God’s nature is love. 1 John 4:8 and 4:16 say “God is love”. So God does not just feel and express love towards us. He is originator and essence of all true love. You should call yourself “the person whom Jesus loves” and really mean it, similar to how John did.

1 John 4:10 and 4:19 reveal God loved us before we had any love for Him. 1 John 4:10 stresses: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins”.

Think of this! Even when we were cold and indifferent to God, or possibly even hated Him because of what He represented, He loved us in such an unselfish perfect manner He was willing to take the punishment which He Himself said we deserved. Even when we were treating Him in a disgraceful manner, He was full of love for us.

 

God’s grace, mercy and kindness is related to His deep love

 

Ephesians 2:4-9 and Titus 3:4-5 reveal God’s grace, mercy and kindness towards us is related to how deeply He loves us.

 

 

 

The greatest proof

 

The greatest proof God loves us is God the Son – Jesus Christ – was willing to take the death penalty that we deserved because of our sins. Jesus’ Words in John 15:13 relate to this: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” 1 John 3:16 says: “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us…”

 

It is beyond understanding

 

The type of love Jesus Christ has for us is beyond our limited human understanding. Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:19 shows this when it speaks of “the love of Christ which passes knowledge”. For example, it is very difficult for humans to understand properly how He could call Judas “friend” when Judas was wickedly betraying Him (see Matthew 26:50) and how He could forgive His own murderers (see Luke 23:34). None of us really fully understand how much Jesus and God the Father love us.

 

Comparing God’s true character

 

Think of the person who has the nicest character of anyone you know. Then try to imagine someone who is so kind, gentle, unselfish, sympathetic and loving, that the person you originally thought of seems relatively selfish in comparison. The character of this far kinder, more unselfish person you are imagining is like the one possessed by God the Father and Jesus Christ.

 

Better than a human mother

 

In Isaiah 49:15, God says: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you.” Here, God shows He is more loving and compassionate towards us than what a good human mother is towards the baby on her breast.

Do you wrongly believe some mere human mothers are more loving and compassionate than Him? For example, if you see a mother grieving about her child who died, do you falsely imagine she loved the child more than God does? Tragically, many Roman Catholics and Orthodox wrongly believe Mary is more loving and compassionate than Him.

 

God loves to comfort troubled people

 

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 reveals God loves to comfort people experiencing great and problems: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” God is “the God of all comfort”. God’s ability to comfort His children in their troubles is one of the central features of His character. In the original Greek of 2 Corinthians 1:3, the word “comfort” is a form of the word “paraklesis”.

The word “paraklesis” means “encouragement, exhortation, comfort, consolation”. [1] This means God is the source of all comfort and encouragement occurring in our lives. It is little wonder that in John 14:16-17 and 14:26, Jesus called God the Holy Spirit our “Comforter”. Deuteronomy 33:27 states: “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…”

 

God is afflicted when we are afflicted

 

Our problems and troubles concern God greatly. This is seen in Isaiah 63:9: “In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them: and He bore them and carried them all the days of old.” God is afflicted whenever we are afflicted with various sufferings and problems. He will not always solve our problems in ways we would like. Nor will He remove all trials and troubles from us while we are here on Earth (see Psalm 34:19, James 1:2-4 and 1 Peter 1:6-7). But God feels our distress and troubles just as much as we do.

Also, God lovingly aims to work something good out of all of our trials and troubles. Romans 8:28 says: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

James 1:2-4 and 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 reveal God uses trials of various kinds to increase our faith or reliance on Him and to mature our characters. Hebrews 12:5-11 shows God uses hardship to discipline and correct us lovingly for our long term good and so we can share in His holiness.

 

God wept about very evil people

 

Jeremiah 48:29-32 records: “We have heard the pride of Moab (He is exceedingly proud), of his loftiness and arrogance and pride, and of the haughtiness of his heart. ‘I know his wrath,’ says the Lord, ‘But it is not right; his lies have made nothing right. Therefore I will wail for Moab, and I will cry out for all Moab; I will mourn for the men of Kir Heres. O vine of Sibmah! I will weep for you with the weeping of Jazer. Your plants have gone over the sea, they reach to the sea of Jazer. The plunderer has fallen on your summer fruit and your vintage.’” These verses refer to God weeping and mourning about the punishments He was going to inflict on the people of Moab. Part of verse 31 says this weeping was so intense it involved crying out about the men of Kir Heres – the fortified city of southern Moab.

Can you imagine God weeping about the punishments He knew He needed to inflict on sinful humans? Note part of verse 31 says, “I will cry out for all Moab.” God was crying about every person in Moab. This is remarkable when one considers most or all of the people of Moab were involved in the worship of the pagan idol called Chemosh (see Jeremiah 48:46 and Numbers 21:29). The religion of Chemosh involved the terrible sacrifice of innocent children as burnt offerings (see 2 Kings 3:26-27).

Imagine this! God was weeping about the punishments which blood-thirsty murderers were going to experience. What incredible love this is! Without regret, most just human judges throughout history would happily sentence to life imprisonment or death anyone who had burnt children to death. Such judges would not weep about the fate of these wicked murderers. But God the Supreme Judge would.[2]

Jeremiah 48:36 also says God wailed about the Moabites having to be punished: “Therefore My heart shall wail like flutes for Moab, and like flutes My heart shall wail for the men of Kir Heres…” Lamentations 3:33 shows God does not like having to punish anyone: “For He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.”

 

Jesus wept about people – even the most wicked

 

Jesus Christ is a perfect expression of God in the flesh. Luke 19:41 records Jesus wept about the sinful people of Jerusalem when He was predicting the Romans would cause them great suffering in future: “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it…” Note His tears here were directed towards everyone in Jerusalem including the most evil, despicable people. The Lord Jesus hates to punish anyone.

 

Jesus’ great love, compassion and gentleness

 

Jesus’ treatment of the woman caught in adultery and of the Samaritan woman who separated from five husbands and who was now living de-facto are examples of Him having great love and compassion for sinful people deserving punishment (see John 4:1-26 and 8:1-11). The Lord Jesus washed the feet of Judas Iscariot (see John 13:2-17). John 13:11 reveals that even while washing Judas’ feet, Jesus knew Judas would betray him to a savage cruel death. If you knew someone was going to betray you to torture and murder, would you wash his feet and speak nicely to him?

2 Corinthians 10:1 mentions the “meekness of Christ”. In Greek, the word “meekness” here is a form of the word “prautes”. Vine says: “The meaning of ‘prautes’ is not readily expressed in English, for the terms meekness, mildness, commonly used, suggest weakness…whereas ‘prautes’ does nothing of the kind…the Lord was ‘meek’ because he had the infinite resources of God at his command. Described negatively, meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest…it is not occupied with self at all”. [3] Jesus Christ was gentle, not harsh, not self-assertive and not focussed on Himself. Here we see some aspects of God’s character (see John 14:8-10).

 

Bible Study Questions

 

1.       What do 1 John 4:8, 10 and 19 teach about God’s love?

2.       What is the greatest proof of God’s love for us?

3.       Is it possible to totally understand His love?

4.       Compare God’s love for us to that of good mothers for their children.

5.       What does Isaiah 63:9 teach us?

6.       Jeremiah 48:29-32 records God wept about the Moabites. Why did He do this?

7.       What does Luke 19:41 reveal about Jesus Christ’s attitude to evil people?

8.       What does the meekness of Christ in 2 Corinthians 10:1 mean?

 


 

Also like a perfect mother

 

Isaiah 66:13 shows God wants to comfort us lovingly – like an exceptionally good human mother would: “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” This verse does not mean God is a mother. Instead it says He is like a perfect mother in some ways. I am not here supporting the evil liberal theological theory which teaches that God is a female. God is a perfect Father but is only like a perfect mother would be. When the Hebrew Old Testament speaks of God being like a human mother, it does not mean that we worship a goddess. We worship a god who is a spiritual Father, not a spiritual mother. This does not mean human males are superior to females. But we must be true to what God has revealed about Himself and not teach foolish human fantasies about what He is like.

It is sinful for anyone to say that God is female. This is because some of the Old Testament prophets called God “a father” (see Isaiah 63:16, 64:8 and Jeremiah 3:19-20). Also, note that in the New Testament, God the Holy Spirit is called a “He” (see John 15:26, 16:7-8 and 16:13-14). God is not a “she”. The Scriptures call God a “He”. Also, note God the Son came in human flesh as a male and not as a female.


 


[1] Bauer, page 618.

[2] Someone may try to argue Jeremiah 48:31-32 refers to Jeremiah weeping and not God. But this argument is seen to be wrong when in part of verse 33 of the same passage it declares: “I have caused wine to fail from the winepresses.” Jeremiah did not have the power to stop the flow of wine from the presses of the whole of the nation of Moab. Only God could achieve this. Therefore, the “I” mentioned in verse 33 is God. Since verses 31-32 and 33 are a part of the same passage, the “I” who weeps about people spoken of in verses 31 to 32 has to be God also.

 


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