The Treasure of the Father’s Love
by Barbaranne Kelly, Guest Writer
In this, the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:9-10
Yesterday we explored the treasure of propitiation. We are forgiven of our sins because our sinless Savior substituted himself for us when he died on the cross, thereby turning away God’s wrath and causing him to look upon us with favor.
But why? Why would God the Father send his only Son to suffer and die for us? Why would the Creator of the universe be interested in putting away our sins so that he could draw us into fellowship with himself? I once believed that God created people and then saved them because he needed someone to love. It took years of sitting under the faithful preaching of the Word, digging deep in Bible studies, and applying what I learned in gospel friendships to separate bumper-sticker theology from Scriptural truth. God didn’t need anyone to love; the Father, Son, and Spirit have been in perfect, loving fellowship for all eternity.
And yet, even still, the answer is to our question is love. As Paul wrote to the believers in Ephesus:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses and sins, made us alive together with Christ Ephesians 2:4-5
Even though there was perfect love shared between the members of the Trinity, and therefore God didn’t need anyone else to love, even still, his great love for us moved him to save a people for himself. Because “God is love” (1 John 4:8), his love spills over into his creation. Think of it: Our infinite God, infinitely loving the infinite members of the Godhead for all eternity, because he is love, “loved [you and me] and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Because God is holy, his love does not excuse sin, but it makes a way for our guilt and sins to be dealt with. Our sins aren’t swept under the rug: they require atonement. So God, in his holy love, bent the heavens and came down, sending his Son, Jesus, to make propitiation for our sins.
But wait, there’s more. God didn’t love us and save us so that we could be in just any old casual relationship with him, but, “In love, he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:4-5). We are adopted into God’s family! The implications of this are so staggering that John gasps in wonder and awe:
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.
1 John 3:1
Dear ones, we are God’s beloved children, but this doesn’t exempt us from the hardships of living in a fallen world. When difficult circumstances roll in like a flood we must cling to our Father, knowing that He has promised to never leave or forsake us. As Paul reminds us:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake, we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Oh God, You are my loving Father. Bring this truth home to my heart. When I am tempted to fear, help me to cry out with David from the depths of my soul,
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.
Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your righteousness to the upright of heart!
Barbaranne Kelly reads, writes, cooks, runs, and shoots an occasional photo in Texas. She and her husband Jim are the parents of five of the neatest people they know and grandparents to the first two of (hopefully) many grandchildren. She has been blogging ever since she accidentally signed up for a blog while attempting to comment on a friend’s post and figured, “Why not?” Barbaranne and Jim are members of Christ Presbyterian Church in New Braunfels, Texas, where she leads a Bible study for women in the hope that she and they may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge Enjoy and be inspired by more of Barbaranne’s writing on her blog.
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