A question I hear many throw out to anyone who is expressing God’s love for humanity. Why are there wars? Why is there so much pain? How can God allow _________ (fill in the blank!).
Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love — but the greatest of these is love.
Perhaps the reason we focus on the expectation of God being ‘loving’ is something ingrained in all of us naturally. For anyone that believes that there is a supreme being that oversees everything and wields power beyond our imagination; God, there tends to be automatic association of certain aspects of that deity and love is typically first on that list.
This very phenomenon of our makeup, is maybe why when we don’t fully understand who God is, we lack the intellectual, and spiritual basis to ‘trust in God’. Why don’t we explore these things and wrap our minds around exactly that?
In the verse above, Paul was relating the fruits of the Spirit that is bestowed on a believer when they surrender their will to that of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This simple passage has always been something that I find festinating because of the power of these words.
These three remain: faith, hope, and love. But by the way nothing is greater than love and in keeping with God being that supreme being it stands to rights that no one loves more than God. This is a unmistakable truth!
Let’s Talk About Love
God’s love; let’s talk about it from His Word. We’ll go over numerous references in this section to wrap our minds around the capacity our Heavenly Father has too love.
The questions mentioned earlier and most of us believe that love is evidenced by the extents too which we are willing to go to demonstrate love. How often have you heard someone say, ‘if you love me ____’ or ‘I know _______ loves me because they do _______’. We have an expectation of evidence of love almost without exception.
John 3:16 (CSB)
For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
Yet another common passage that has the potential to be trivialized, but to fully understand the love expressed here we have to understand who God’s Son is and just what this action says about His love for mankind. Yes, this is perhaps the greatest demonstration of God’s love.
John 1:1-5 (CSB)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.
John 1:10-14 (CSB)
He was in the world, and the world was created through him, and yet the world did not recognize him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
What am I pointing out here? Most people that have any understanding of Christianity know that we believe without question that Jesus Christ ‘is’ the Son of God. The one and only begotten Son of God as we picked up on in John 3:16. What many do not understand that Jesus didn’t begin existence with a virgin birth. Prior to His appearance here on this earth Jesus was present with God. Reading these passages and you quickly see that not only was he ‘with God’, he wasn’t just hanging out. No not by a long stretch! We fine that it was the ‘Word’ (Jesus) that performed that amazing act we refer to as ‘creation’.
That’s right, the entire bit in Genesis, that was God the Son; Jesus. The one that breathed the universe; Jesus. The one that separated the darkness and the day; Jesus. And last, but not least, created man and woman; Jesus Christ the Son of God!
As a result of this bit of information, we begin to understand that God the Father and God the Son are pretty tight. In fact, in the very first verse of the book of John it reads “and the Word was God”. We are seeing here a clear aspect of the trinity. Separate in one; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Three distinct entities, one supreme collective essence sharing knowledge, power, wisdom, and passion.
Jesus illustrates this again when He is talking about ‘God the Father’ in John:
John 8:58 (CSB)
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.”
John 14:9-11 (CSB)
Jesus said to him, “Have I been among you all this time and you do not know me, Philip? The one who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who lives in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Otherwise, believe because of the works themselves.
John 14:6-7 (CSB)
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
This is reference to ‘I am’ is directly cross referenced to the book of Exodus where ‘God’ is telling Moses who to tell the Israelites sent him. I AM! This suggests very strongly that it wasn’t God the Father that had this interaction with Moses it was really Jesus the Son of God!
Exodus 3:14 (CSB)
God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.”
This is further supported by the fact that God the Father is so pure that he is unable to tolerate sin and corruption.
Habakkuk 1:13 (CSB)
Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, and you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. So why do you tolerate those who are treacherous? Why are you silent while one who is wicked swallows up one who is more righteous than himself?
This makes perfect sense that it would have been Jesus making his presents known to mankind prior to his coming as a babe, because while God the Father isn’t able to be in the presence of corrupt mankind, Jesus the Son on the other hand would in fact live in our corrupt world for a period in the flesh.
All this bears out three distinct morsels of information for us to consider.
1) Both God the Father and God the Son knew at the point of creation not only that the creation God the Son was going to betray them.
Isaiah 46:9-10 (CSB)
Remember what happened long ago, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and no one is like me. I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: my plan will take place, and I will do all my will.
2) This knowledge included what would become necessary for the redemption of mankind. The cross of Calvary and God’s only begotten Son hanging on it as God the Fathers perfect sacrifice, so that God the Holy Spirit could live in His creation!
This was imperative as God’s pure eyes cannot view evil. And our unwashed flesh is evil in the sight of God unless it is washed in the blood of His Son whose righteousness becomes our righteousness!
3) The sum of what that sacrifice would be for the Son of God. What He had never experience before! For when he took on our sins, Jesus became sin for us and God the Father could no longer bear to look upon His Son!
Matthew 27:46 (CSB)
About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Elí, Elí, lemá sabachtháni ? ” that is, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me ?”
God the Father, abandoning His Son! They knew. All three knew; Father, Son, and Spirit. They knew before the world began what this would cost. Yet, they also knew the love of ‘the creation’ and what would transpire that would separate that creation from them. The extents of action that they were willing to commit to for LOVE is beyond the any of our understanding. But this gives us a microscopic glimpse of what that Love might look like.
There is more but I think this is enough to establish that God is Love!
But, But, But, But!
What about those questions? Why are there wars? Why is there so much pain? How can God allow ________.
First, evil and corruption was introduced into the world created by God with the disobedience of the first two human beings; Adam and Eve. If it were not for that original sin, then what had been created would have been perfect. Subsequent to the original sin, a perpetual pattern of sins of the flesh prevailed in the unwashed heart of mankind. With every day and the passing of time the heart of man was evil and from the time of that first sin, a plan was put into action (remember love is exhibited in action) to redeem the fallen creation.
But, but, but, God has all that power and limitless resource, why didn’t he just fix it? He did; by way of Love on a Cross. Oh! You mean why didn’t He simply erase the fall of man and start again?
More about God
The concept that God is pure love is a sound one. So is the concept that God is pure Holiness. As well as, God is pure righteousness. And finally, God is pure justice.
Just as a diamond has many facets God has many attributes that make up who God is. These attributes are never in conflict with each other. He is always Loving, He is always Holy, He is always Just, and He is always Righteous. The only thing God can’t be anything but these things.
So, we have the fall of man. God still loves His creation and at the same time He is just.
Romans 6:23 (CSB)
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The plan, God can’t look on evil, man falls, He is just, and the law of God declares that the wages of sin is death! The solution, substitutional atonement. The sacrifice that is most pure, most perfect to absolve mankind of the sin and dress mankind in the Righteousness of God’s Son, Jesus Christ!
Ephesians 4:20-24 (CSB)
But that is not how you came to know Christ, assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus, to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.
Take off our former way of life, the one filled with corruption, deceit, and desires; to be renewed in the spirit; and to put on the new self, created in God’s likeness in righteousness and purity.
Nothing could stop a loving God from redeeming his creation, from establishing that relationship that He created mankind for.
The why’s? Why is there sin and death; sin. Why are there wars; sin. Why is there so much evil in the world; SIN! What’s God going to do about it? He already did; Jesus Christ!