Summary: Study 2 of a Major Series on Christian belief as a response to the Jehovah`s Witnesses.
September the 11th saw tremendous acts of self-sacrifice. What happened then was costly. That is what real love is like. It is willing to deprive itself. It is willing to give, even unto death in the cause of humanity. And yet the love that we saw that day, from priest and fire-service, police, and ordinary men and women, was, in fact just a pale shadow of the shining purity and the sheer intensity of the love of God. God went the way of self-sacrifice. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends".
Jesus was telling us right from the start of His Ministry, right through to its end, that God loves us - He doesn`t condemn us, He loves us. He sent Christ into the world to procalim the fact of His love. Jesus was telling us that God loves us so much that He is prepared to go all the way along the road of self-sacrifice, to win us to Himself. He tells us that there is no limit to what He will do to demonstrate that love. We have a saying "I`d give my right arm for you"! God is telling us that He is prepared to give us more than His right arm - He is willing to give us the whole of Himself.
That`s how much God loves us. He loves us so completely that He took of Himself, and poured it all into Jesus, so that, in this very act, God entered the starving world, a world starving for love and security and status.
Do you see what that says about God? It says that His love for us is infinite. If He is prepared to take of Himself (` of His very being and essence`) and pour Himself out in love, then that means that the very life of God is poured out for our sake. His very life has entered into this world of ours, so that we might experience the infinite love of God..... for ever (i.e. unto infinity!). And, do you see it, it will take us an infinity nof time to partake of that love, an infinity of time to appreciate the fullness of its depth and sweetness, for the love that God gives to us is infinite love.
No,w there are various ways in which God can convince me of His love for me:
1. He can TELL me that He loves me. And the Bible says that Jesus was the WORD of God. As men listened to Him they heard for the first time just how great God`s love was for His lost sons.
2. He can SHOW me that He loves me. The world needs more than words if it is to believe. That beautiful word `love` has almost lost its meaning. Today the world cries out "Don`t talk of love. SHOW me".
Jesus is the love of God IN ACTION. As men looked at Jesus and saw what He did for them, they saw what God was doing, and all that He was prepared to do if they would only let Him. Jesus was the love of God SHOWN IN THE FLESH.
3. He can BIY me something to show His love. God`s love to us is a COSTLY gift. In Jesus we see how costly God`s love was to God Himself. In order to pour out the great gift of salvation, God had to pour Himself out completely. It wasn`t just His Son at risk, a created Being, as the J.W`s claim. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, telling us, `I love you enough to pour myself out on your behalf. I love you enough to offer myself to you, and risk rejection`. That`s what God did in Jesus - and when men rejected that offering, it wasn`t just a man they were rejecting, it was God Himself. The God, who had poured Himself out as a love-offering, heard men say "I don`t want you".!
4. He can MAKE something to show me His love. Years ago my son broght me something he had made. He hadn`t any money for a present, so he sat down and made me a calendar. That calendar moved me greatly, and I treasured it. It told me that he loved me. But what thrilled me even more was the way he came and flung His arms around me and said, "I love you, Daddy". If I`d had to choose between the clandar and the hug, I`d have chosen the hug every time.
God`s love is thrilling. He could have made a creature and sent that creature to earth with the message which said, "God loves you". That creature could have gone through fire and water to bring that message - that would have been impressive. But what the Bible tells us is far more thrilling than that. It tells us that it wasn`t some CREATURE that God had created who came to show God`s love. It was God Himself. God flung His arms wide open and welcomed any who would come into them. He flung His arms round suffering, dying men, and said, "I love you child, I love you. Nothing you can ever do will destroy that love". We can go into a far country, but our Father is still waiting for us to return home. We can waste our substance on riotous living, but He will still be looking and waiting for us, and if we ever come to our senses, He will fling those great arms of love around us, to welcome us back where we belong. THAT`S HOW GREAT OUR GOD IS! (To be continued in Study 3)
(This is for all of us, men, women and children. We are all for God - and He for us).