God Loves You As Much As He Loves Christ
Of course, since God the Father is also God the Son, to say the Father loves you as much as His own Son is another way of saying God loves you as much as He loves Himself. Either way it is expressed, this statement may seem preposterous and even blasphemous to some.
You may have learned about the gods of the ancient Romans, Greeks and primitive tribal cultures. The human imagination has created literally millions of gods, each with their own traits, personalities and mythologies. Although one would think that the human imagination would have created the "perfect" god with a perfect theology, none whom I studied or heard about even began to approach the awesome, incomprehensible and wondrous perfection in every way of our Creator, the God that loves us as much as Jesus the Christ and His own Holy Spirit.
King David penned these praises: "You are familiar with all my ways. Even before there is a single word on my tongue, you know all about it, Lord... You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother. I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this... Your eyes saw me when I was only a fetus. Every day of my life was recorded in your book before one of them had taken place. How precious are your thoughts concerning me, O God! How vast in number they are! If I try to count them, there would be more of them than there are grains of sand." (Psalm 139: 3b-4, 13-14, 16-18a)
Even in our deepest despair, we can join Jeremiah in proclaiming, "The reason I can still find hope is that I keep one thing in mind: the Lord's mercy. We were not completely wiped out. His compassion is never limited. It is new every morning. His faithfulness is great. My soul can say, 'The Lord is my lot in life. That is why I find hope in him.' The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to anyone who seeks help from him. It is good to continue to hope and wait silently for the Lord to save us." (Lamentations 3:21-26)
God's redemptive covenant with His children through Christ is exquisitely wondrous including His promises of Fatherly attentiveness to our needs and desires. The covenant, however, does not include exclusion from suffering. On the contrary, "My child, pay attention when the Lord disciplines you. Don't give up when He corrects you. The Lord disciplines everyone He loves. He severely disciplines everyone He accepts as His child... If you aren't disciplined like other children, you aren't part of the family... God disciplines us for our own good so that we can become holy like Him." (Hebrews 12:5b-6, 8)
A remarkable notion is that Christ, as the Son of Man, was included in the Father's discipline. Like us, Jesus had free will and needed to learn obedience: "He prayed and pleaded with loud crying and tears, and He was heard because of His devotion to God. Although Jesus was the Son of God, He learned to be obedient through His sufferings." (Hebrews 5:7b-8) Thus we are not only Christ's servants, but His brothers and sisters as well. He also calls His followers "friends." (John 15:15b)
As if that isn't enough of a mind-boggler, Jesus tells us "I have loved you the same way the Father has loved me." (John 15:9a) The love between God the Father and God the Son is indeed a profound mystery to our puny intellects. And being such, I am even more captivated by what that statement means.
Even more remarkable to me is Jesus' prayer to our heavenly Father: "In this way the world knows that you have sent me and that you have loved them in the same way you have loved me... I will make it known so that the love you have for me will be in them and I will be in them." (John 17:23b, 26b, emphasis ours) Christ wants not only us to know about this love, but prays the whole world will know. And Christ's prayers will be fulfilled! For those who are tempted to argue that Jesus was speaking only to His chosen apostles, know that He made it a point to say, "I'm not praying only for them. I'm also praying for those who will believe in me through their message." (John 17:20) The more intimate I learn to be with God through Christ in His Holy Spirit, the more overwhelmed and humbled I am by Who He truly is!
To all of you who are in Christ, "You have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to tens of thousands of angels joyfully gathered together and to the assembly of God's firstborn children (whose names are written in heaven). You have come to a judge (the God of all people) and to the spirits of people who have God's approval and have gained eternal life. You have come to Jesus, who brings the new covenant from God, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better message than Abel's." (Hebrews 12:22-24)
All of this considered, can reality get any better?
John S. Hilkevich, Ph.D.
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Weekly Reflections © June 2, 2001
"God's Word" is a copyrighted work of God's Word to the Nations Bible Society. Quotations are used by permission.
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