I just read a ‘devotion’ that was all about love. Now, I would be the very last person in the world to discount the Love of God. It is the reason I am the person I am today. It is the reason for my eternal hope. It is the reason His Son was willing to die a horrible death to become the sacrifice for MY sin. Those things alone are evidence of the love of God.
It represents the most all encompassing love the world has ever known.
John 3:16 is repeated over and over as evidence of that. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. And I John 4:9-10 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
In both of these specific references the Love of God goes far beyond the smarmy, sweetsie, gooey kind of love that is taught in much of the religious world today. God was concerned with our eternal destiny. It doesn’t seem related at all to being lovey-dovey and hugging homeless people or talking constantly about how we “luv” everyone. God’s Love doesn’t involve overlooking sin in our lives. It doesn’t involve patting sinners on the back and telling them it will be okay, just go ahead and ‘do the best you can.” God’s Love is focused on eternal issues.
God loved Mankind so much that He sent Christ to provide a path to Salvation, a path to righteousness, that Man might have access to eternal life. That is a tremendous Love. He created Man; He gave him free will and he watched as Man used that free will to fall away for Him. In spite of that, God still cared enough to put His Plan of Salvation in place.
Man has taken that all encompassing love and turned it into a mundane thing that is hardly related to the Love of God. Modern Human Religion wants to emphasize Love and neglect the “the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.”
God’s Love comes with judgment, first, and is followed by his mercy and then our faith in his love.
The ‘devotion’ that I read said, “God loves you with an extravagant and irresistible love”
That is in no way descriptive of the Love of God. First off, God’s Love is not ‘irresistable.’ Man has been turning a cold shoulder to God’s Love for centuries. Possibly because they don’t like the way the ‘free gift’ is presented. To ‘unwrap’ it we must change our ways. We must turn from sin and live for God.
God’s love is not an extravagant love in the sense that He tosses it out with no consideration or plans for distribution. But it does go beyond what is deserved or justifiable. None of us are deserving of His Salvation. It goes far beyond what is our due and there is a very definite plan for its distribution.
The “devotion’ began with the text from Luke 6:33-36 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. But the quote stopped there and went to promote the gooey kind of love taught in modern religion. The reality of the text has nothing to do with that we hear on every hand. First it continues to compare God’s children to sinners: 34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But the Love of God takes us beyond that: 35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Loving our enemies requires a much deeper kind of love that the glad-hand-Harry kind of love that slaps everyone on the back and overlooks all sorts of sin. Doing good seems to be rather easy, until we get to the ‘lend, hoping for nothing again.’ Most of the glad-hand-Harry types have no trouble sharing their resources but they definitely don’t share it with no expectation of return. Or if they do they have no hesitation to ‘blow a trumpet’ announcing it. Notice this text doesn’t require that we be overly affectionate (verging on the obvious pretense and hypocritical). It requires that we be ‘kind’ to those who are unappreciative and evil.
Those who promote the ‘extravagant and irresistible’ kind of Love are most often content to talk about love, to pat backs and distribute hugs, to brag to others about their good deeds to the homeless and those less fortunate. They make sure to blow their own horns and let people know how loving they are. Christ adjoins us to not be as the Pharisees who sound a trumpet before them, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men.”
Our modern love is a very flamboyant kind of love that is made very evident to all around. It forgives all evil and overlooks all things that are ungodly. That isn’t the Love of God.
The ‘devotion’ closed with the statement: “Love must become your life-style, the habit of your life. But it starts with a decision.
That is very true. Love is the habit of life for the Child of God because God’s Love permeates our lives. But it is presented backwards here. It doesn’t “start” with a decision. We don’t “decide’ to love people. Love follows humbling ourselves before God in sorrow for our sins and repentance of them. It follows turning from our sin and following Christ. It involves deciding to accept God’s Love under the conditions with which it is offered. Once we see ourselves as the sinful creatures we are before God we recognize the tremendous love He bestowed on us it causes us to love others as He loves us.
Repeatedly in the Old Testament God demanded that the Israelites turn from sin and evil. They never accomplished that because they were living after the flesh. Now God in his Great Love is offering a way for us all to achieve that. John 3:16 is a popular text, but the verses following it are overlooked completely. Because they outline the plan God had for men to take advantage of that Love announced in verse 16. this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
To experience the Love of God we must understand that our deeds have been evil. We must be willing to come to the love-light of God that our deeds might be reproved. And when we come to the love-light our evil deeds are manifest and we are changed. From that time on it becomes clear to all that our deeds are wrought in God. And that includes demonstrating God’s love for the world—not by the glad-handing, overly sweet, love-all-and-sundry kind of the religious world, but by being a light to sinners and by doing the complete will of God every day of our life, not just ‘being a Christian’ but by being ‘Christ-like.’ That is the love of God.