Summary: Do we really know the love of God? Do we believe it? Do we experience its joy and excitement?
“… 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” (Eph 3:17-19).
Another proof that Jesus Christ is not just a man, but also God. His love is beyond our ordinary human comprehension. Paul had to pray in order that other Christians would “have power” just to know the “love of Christ” – the love “that surpasses knowledge”! Could a mere man capable of exercising that kind of love?
But the questions we are more concern to answer this time are: Do we really know the love of God? Do we believe it? Do we experience its joy and excitement?
We hear such teachings as “God is love”; “His love is unconditional”; “God hates sins, but loves the sinners”; “He loves everyone”; “He loves even those who reject Him, even those who choose to be in hell,” etc. Some believe that because God is love, He will not allow anyone to suffer for eternity in hell.
Are all those perceptions of God’s love being taught by God’s Word? Or, are we trying to color some of them with our egoistical or human-centered mind set?
Before, I thought God has an “equal amount” of love for everyone – not only for the believers, but even for the unbelievers. The Bible, however, taught that love could be applied in different degrees. We read in Luke 7:47, “But he who has been forgiven little loves little." We can love little and we can also love much.
The Son of God said that our love for Him should be greater than our love for any member of our family. “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt 10:37).
And in Mal. 1:2-3, God declared that He loved more Jacob than Esau. In fact, the passage says that “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated…”
Let’s go on to examine the Bible and find out “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” -- “to know this love that surpasses knowledge.”
Who are the objects of this kind of love, aside from Jacob, Abraham, David, John, Paul, etc.?
We read in 2 Cor 9:7 that “God loves a cheerful giver.” Do you believe that God loves more a cheerful giver than a stingy one?
In Ps. 37:28, we read: “For THE LORD LOVES THE JUST and will not forsake his faithful ones.” And in Ps. 146:8, “…the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD LOVES THE RIGHTEOUS.” I hope you also believe that God loves more the just and the righteous than the unjust and the wicked.
Notice also Ps. 32:10, which says: “Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds THE MAN WHO TRUSTS IN HIM.” Not all men trust in the Lord. But those who do are surely loved more by God. Do you believe it?
How about Ps 86:5? It says, “You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love TO ALL WHO CALL TO YOU.” Do you also believe that he who calls upon God receives an abounding love than the one who mocks Him?
Now, let us read Ps 103:11 & 17, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for THOSE WHO FEAR HIM. . . But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with THOSE WHO FEAR HIM, and his righteousness with their children’s children.” Indeed, God’s love is greater for those who fear Him than those who defy Him.
In Deut 7:9-10, we find these words, “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of THOSE WHO LOVE HIM AND KEEP HIS COMMANDS. But those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him.”
Are those who love God and keep His commands enjoy His greater love than those who “do not have the love of God” in their hearts (John 5:42)?
Then in Ps 36:5-10, “Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep O LORD, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. Continue your love to THOSE WHO KNOW YOU.”