By Skip Heitzig
No subject has been so universally treated or explored as the subject of love. Every human being craves love. Many of us want love more than we want anything else, and we would do almost anything to get it.
Today I want to talk about the highest expression of love found in the most famous verse in the Bible: John 3:16. This verse tells us about God's plan of saving people, but I'm calling it God's valentine since Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Let's read it and unpack it together: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
First of all, notice it doesn't say, "For God was so angry at this world that He sent His Son down here to punch everybody out." No—"For God so loved the world." Why? Because love is the very essence of who He is. As John wrote, "God is love" (1 John 4:8). It is so simple to say yet sometimes so hard to grasp that.
That's because God's love is wholly different from human love. His love is indiscriminate and based on His nature. That means He doesn't love you because you've earned or deserve His love but because He is love. That also means it's a stable, consistent kind of love that shows no favoritism. It's not like God loves Billy Graham more than He loves you. He has the ability by His very nature to love us all the same.
And He loves us so much that He demonstrated it by giving His only begotten Son. Why? Because love can't be passive; it must be active. You have to demonstrate it somehow. So God demonstrated it by paying the highest possible price—giving His one and only unique Son—"that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Jesus gave His life so that He could give you eternal life. Active love.
Now, if you press some Christians, they'll say, "Yeah, God loves me," but you'd never know by their lives that they really believe it. It's like walking outside with an umbrella over your head on a sunny day: the sun is shining, but you're not enjoying the warmth.
In the same way, maybe you've heard about the love of God all your life and yet you still doubt that God loves you. Think on these words from the apostle Paul: "So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing Himself to the worst by sending His own Son, is there anything else He wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would even dare to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture" (Romans 8:31-35, MSG).
In your darkest moments, when the bottom of your life falls out, remember that: God's love is love at its widest. It isn't precarious. It isn't moody. It's not selective. And it includes you.
There's a great old song called "The Love of God" whose lyrics go like this: "Could we with ink the oceans fill and were the skies of parchment made, were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade, to write the love of God above would drain the oceans dry. Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky." I think the guy who wrote that got it, and I think it made him really confident and at rest in the love of the Lord. My prayer today is that you would be as well.
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Get valuable insight into the heart and mind of Jesus with Skip Heitzig's teaching series, The Sermon on the Mount. In this six-CD series, Skip goes in-depth about the Beatitudes, the importance of prayer, and how believers should live their lives in contrast with the world.