May 3, 2010

Pondering God XII: God Is Love [ אָהַב ]

The love that we have for our children is a reflection of God’s love. Our love we have for our spouse is a reflection of God’s love. When I say love I am not talking about sexual intercourse either, that is the world’s definition of love. It is just another post-modern twisting of God’s true intent. I am talking about God’s definition of love as outlined in the Bible. A child’s love for their parent(s) is a reflection of God’s love. In all these relationships we begin to see glimpses of the fullness and absoluteness of God’s love for us.

God's love for us is unconditional like a parents love for their child (at least that is the way it should be). We love our children even when they make us angry because we want the best for them as does God's love towards us. Like our children though we often need rebuke or punishment or we go off on tangents unaware we have done wrong or aware of it and emboldened. This fact troubles many because by the time they become adults they feel they've paid their dues and feel they need answer to no one. As we all understand as we get older and smarter, we actually know very little and are better off biting our tongues much of the time. Those that do not bite their tongue are quite often the ones that learned very little about life but have the most to say.

God's love is uninfluenced. He chose to love us. There was nothing we did to warrant that love. I certainly wasn't because we merited it. There was nothing in particular that attracted God to use that was of our doing. Like a spouse attracts a mate. No no no.

God is Himself eternal and God is love. The obvious deduction is that God's love like everything else about Him is eternal. His love for you is eternal. The other obvious reasoning is that He predestined you so He loved you before you were created. His love is infinite and because of this I could never do full justice to describing it in limited words and language of a finite creature such as myself. The depth of His love is beyond that of the love from a human parent to a human child or a beloved spouse. Because of this we begin to realize just how much Jesus loves His bride the Church.The Church in reality is Jesus' compliment the bride for the bridegroom. He is the vine, we the branches.He the Good Shepherd, we the sheep. He is the head, we the body. HE WANTS US TO BE WITH HIM, inseparable for eternity. HE completes the picture that is us. God's plan may be a mystery to us and look like a puzzle but it certainly is not a puzzle to Him. What we need to accept and try to grasp is that God's infinite and eternal love is also in a unified whole with all His other infinite and eternal attributes.

The fact of God’s love is no more evident than in the gift given to man. He sent His son to stand in our stead and be the propitiation/expiation for our sins at the “Place of the Skull”. He forfeited His life so that we may live. The ultimate role reversal in that Jesus was the last Adam. Jesus was the last sacrifice that would ever be needed for atonement for the sins of the world. In Adam, God breathed life into the human race and in Jesus we have a servant leader that had His life squeezed out of him by the removal of breath from His lungs. A death by suffocation nailed to a wooden cross. A morbid irony looking in hindsight and it was all part of the plan since before the foundations of the world. If God is love than God is at the root of all of these statements in 1 Corinthians 13 written by Paul (I’ve paraphrased below).

Love is eternal - Love is patient - Love is kind - Love does not envy or boast
Love is not arrogant or rude - Love does not insist on its own way
Love is not irritable or resentful - Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing
Love rejoices with the truth - Love bears all things - Love believes all things
Love hopes all things - Loves endures all things. Love never ends

...So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The only reason man is even capable of loving God is because He first loved us. He has drawn His children to Himself.

"We love because he first loved us" ~1 John 4:19

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