By Irvin Himmel
You and I have no greater need than the love of God. Without divine love only darkness, doom and despair would await us. Early in life many of us were reminded of the love of God. Little songs fell from our lips as the message registered in our hearts.
“Jesus loves me! this I know, For the Bible tells me so. . .”
Simple little prayers were said, such as the following before meals:
“God is great; God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. In Jesus’ name–Amen.”
Jesus loves me. God is good. What simple childlike words yet how profound their meaning! Mature minds need to reflect on the powerful thoughts conveyed by these precious little sentences.
The love of God is what prompted the gift of His Son. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:6-8). “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 Jobn 4:9, 10).
God loved mankind even after the human race fell under the influence of Satan and plunged headlong into iniquity. Sin abounded, but the grace of God did much more abound (Rom. 5:20). Sin separated man from God. However, the Creator desired reconciliation. He loved mankind in general and every lost soul in particular. Therefore, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (2 Cor. 5:19). No person on earth deserved to be rescued from sin, but out of the matchless love of God came the gospel of grace. The apostles made known the gospel. As ambassadors for Christ they preached “the word of reconciliation,” urging sinful men to be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:18-20).
It is the love of God that makes possible a way of escape from sin. It is the love of God that enables you and me to be children of God. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. . .” (1 John 3:1). Without God’s love there would be no inheritance in Christ.
It is sometimes assumed that when persecutions come, tribulations arise, and distresses overtake us, God has abandoned us and divine love has ceased. Paul raised the question, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” The world may point to our afflictions as evidence that our Master has ceased to care about us, but it is not so! In all our sufferings and hardships “we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” The first-century Christians were taught to rejoice in tribulations. In our hardships we may achieve a glorious victory. “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:35-39).
The love of God is reciprocal. John expressed this thought pointedly when he wrote, “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). We are furnished with the strongest form of motivation for loving God when we remember that He loved us.
“Since the love of God has shed
priceless blessings on my head,
I have made it my own;
I w ill hide it in my heart,
that it never may depart,
It shall rule there alone.
“While His love burns true and bright,
we are walking in the light,
He has shown us the road;
We His glory must reflect,
lest our dimness and neglect
Keep some soul from its God.”
Redemption is the grand theme of the Bible. From the love of God proceeded the plan of redemption. It is the love of God that makes possible the daily provisions for our temporal necessities. We live because God loves. We have hope of a better life because God loves. We rejoice and take courage because God loves.
Truth Magazine XXII: 7, pp. 121-122
February 16, 1978