Posted by: forbygrace | March 11, 2009

Rightly Dividing the Love of God – Part 1

If someone were to walk up to you and say, “Jesus loves you”, what would that mean? Would it mean the same thing for a believer and an unbeliever? The love God has for His creation is beyond comprehension and the particular love He has for His children is more excellent still. All that is understood and has been written about God’s love can only be seen as a very faint image of that which we will ultimately behold and understand throughout all eternity in heaven. It is simply too vast and wonderful an attribute of His that we would have any ability to fully grasp it. It was, after all, His love and the exercise of mercy that we see in Jesus Christ coming to offer himself up as the Lamb without spot to pay the debt of sin on a Roman cross. It was love and not necessity that moved Him to have compassion on us. He could have left us all to be eternally damned and He would have been absolutely just, but He didn’t. It is this love that the apostle John beheld when he said, “what manner of love is this, that we should be called sons of the living God?”

Believers know themselves to be the recipients of God’s love even though we all have difficulty grasping it at times. Unbelievers, who reject God and His Son, simply don’t know of this love and at the root of it, they don’t care. A person dead in sin has none of the promises of God to hold on to and have nothing but wrath to look forward to. Yet even those that are daily in danger of eternal destruction are recipients of God’s love and compassion—it is not the same as the love God has for His children, but it is genuine. The love shown to a lost person is often that God provides the means of their bodily needs being met and often times (in this country at least) even many of their desires are met. It may also be that He continues to be patient with them by giving them the opportunity to hear the gospel again and again—we see this demonstrated in Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem in Luke 13:34: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

The children of God experience the love of a heavenly Father that is manifest in the covenant of grace and no unbeliever can lay claim to that. In the covenant of grace is the love that has washed us from our sins and made us heirs. Being born in corruption we will be raised in immortality to be with the Lord forever; we will see the day spoken in Revelation 21:3-4: Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

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