Normally, this would be a Bible Study from the book of Hebrews, but I am heading home from Upper Michigan today. I have spent the last five days with family. Enjoy a snippet from a wonderful book titled, Trusting God by Jerry Bridges, pages 134-137, that will center your soul on the most powerful love available to man. The study on Hebrews will resume on Thursday.
“In 1 John 4, John said that God is love, and this is how He showed His love, by sending His Son to die for us.
Our greatest need is not freedom from adversity. All the possible calamities that could occur in this life cannot in any way be compared with the absolute calamity of eternal separation from God.
Jesus said no earthly joy could compare with the eternal joy of our names written in heaven, see Luke 10:20. In like manner, no earthly adversity can compare with that awful calamity of God’s eternal judgment in hell.
So when John said that God showed His love by sending His Son, he was saying God showed His love by meeting our greatest need – a need so great that no other need can even come close to it in comparison. If we want proof of God’s love for us, then we must look first at the Cross where God offered up His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. Calvary is the one objective, absolute, irrefutable proof of God’s love for us.
The extent of God’s love at Calvary is seen in both the infinite cost to Him of giving His one and only Son, and in the wretched and miserable condition of those He loved. God could not remove our sins without an infinite cost to both Himself and His Son. And because of their great love for us, both were willing – yes, more than merely willing – to pay the great cost, the Father in giving His one and only Son and the Son laying down His life for us. One of the essential characteristics of love is the element of self-sacrifice, and this was demonstrated for us to its ultimate in God’s love at Calvary.
Consider also the miserable and wretched condition of those God loved. Paul said, ‘But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8). It is sometimes difficult for those of us who grew up in morally upright or Christian homes to appreciate the force of Paul’s statement, ‘while we were still sinners.’ Because we were generally upright and morally decent people in the eyes of society around us and in our own eyes, it is difficult for us to see ourselves as God saw us, as wretched, miserable, rebellious sinners.
Regardless of how morally upright we have been in our unsaved state, we still appeared to God like the house of Israel, nothing more than a pile of bones, bones that were very dry.
I have dwelt on this for a reason. When we begin to question the love of God, we need to remember who we are. We have absolutely no claim on His love. We don’t deserve one bit of God’s goodness to us. I once heard a speaker say, ‘Anything this side of hell is pure grace.’ We see, then, that God loved us when we were totally unworthy, when there was nothing whatsoever within us that would call forth His love.
Anytime we are tempted to doubt God’s love for us, we should go back to the Cross We should reason somewhat in this fashion: If God loved me enough to give His Son to die for me when I was His enemy surely He loves me enough to care for me now that I am His child.”