YOU THINK YOU KNOW GOD'S LOVE; THEN THINK AGAIN
by Dr. Henderson Ward 11/29/2012 / Christian Living
One of the great joys of living a long time is that experience has taught you not to be too surprised or discombobulated by the vagaries of time or the pestilential devilry of man. Experience is not only a great teacher it is also a great filter and many events that will floor a younger person and leave him broken and disconsolate merely ruffles the older person and more often than not leave him more thoughtful. This is true most of the time but not always as I found out recently. I am dealing here with this love thing but not just any kind of love.
Love is like a diamond; it has as many aspects to it as there are human beings. There is a love that enervates and enlarges and there is a love that constricts and kills. There is a love that warms the heart and inflames passion and there is a love that is cold and debilitating. To every positive and admirable aspect of love there seems to be the negative and down-side and so often we see in this frothy mixture what we want to see. The plain truth is that many of us will live and die and never be acquainted with true love as it is understood and practiced by humans. It matters not what people say, it is undoubtedly true that human love is wrapped up in self and nowhere is human love objective and dispassionate. This causes us big problems when we think of God's love because we have no basis for properly assessing God's love or the capacity to fully cherish it and let it take us to higher levels of communion and spiritual attainment.
We all agree that this world is not worth saving for as it presently stands this is Satan's world, he is the master of it and it does his bidding. In Noah's time God saw that the world was much as it is now and he determined that the world was not worth preserving and destroyed it saving in the process just eight human beings (Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth and their wives) .
It is true that they are still some God-fearing people in today's world but they are few and God's presence is still among us convicting the world of sin and converting those who want to be saved and put their trust in Jesus. Nevertheless the vast majority of humans are living in disharmony with God and everywhere wickedness is on the increase.
In truth believers should not be surprised at this trend for the Bible warns us that, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)
So for many of us the question needs to be asked; why would God allow so many to be born just to become fodder for hell? Is it not the case that few are being saved and going on to eternal life? Does it make sense that this world is kept going when so few care about God, disrespect God, dishonour God, blaspheme his name constantly, side with the devil and yet God, who has the power to bring things to a crashing halt, allows life to carry on as usual?
The clear answer is no; it makes no sense to us, it is not divinely profitable and not in God's interest for him to allow the world to continue to generate volumes of citizens for hell and very few for heaven. It cannot be for the betterment to allow the world to sink irretrievably into the quagmire where almost nobody will be saved and where faith will almost vanish from the face of the earth. No, it makes no sense.
It makes no sense to believers who cry out daily for justice.
It makes no sense to the youth who are oppressed on a daily basis and need deliverance.
It makes no sense to the old and the sick and the poor who are victimised constantly and seek relief.
It makes no sense to a benighted world groaning in sheer agony under a surfeit of wickedness.
So why is God keeping this miserable world afloat, keeping all the life systems in robust health, keeping his promises alive, "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." (Genesis 8:22), keeping his even-handedness to all mankind, "...for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:45) and preserving the world intact? Why?
The answer is two words; GOD'S LOVE.
There are many things about God we do not understand even though we tidy up certain concepts in smart theological language. We do not understand how omniscience works, we cannot fathom omnipotence and we are at a loss about omnipresence although we accept all these attributes as regards Almighty God. The concept of infinity defeats us, we struggle to comprehend "without beginning, without end", we are clueless as to the eternal state following the Great White Throne Judgment and we still don't know the structure of "that God may be all in all" following the final settlement of Satan.
We can add to the above things we don't understand too well God's Love for in trying to grasp this mighty concept is like a blind fish living permanently in the bottom of the deep, muddy abyss trying to grasp the concept of sunlight. God's Love is so far beyond our comprehension that no effort was ever made to describe it but merely to indicate it's unfailing character.
Here is how the Bible puts God's love so that we might understand its character.
"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." (Romans 5:7-8)
Let us face facts. No normal person would voluntarily give his heart to be transplanted into someone he does not know to save his life. And for sure you would not scheme to give the heart of your healthy, living child to a stranger to save the stranger's life. You would not do it for a stranger and you would not do it for a friend. No one does those crazy things. You might be tempted to do it for your child or your spouse depending on your age but I guarantee you that you will never do it for your enemy. Absolutely not.
But that is what God did.
I know that the Calvinist will tell you that Jesus did not die for the whole world, just for the elect, but that is not so and we should see his death on the cross of Calvary for the unfathomable love it shows for all mankind, "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)
God sacrificed the life of his son for every human being in the hope that they might avail themselves of the opportunity of salvation, even though he knew that some of those same people, if given the chance, would unhesitatingly destroy his son. Just think of the kind of love that demonstrates and see if you can fathom that.
The Bible puts it like this, "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." (Romans 5:6)
This verse tells us that Christ did not just die for his friends, family and those of righteous goodwill but he died for his enemies, those that sought to slay him, to do him grievous harm and those today who, if they could get their hands on him, would tear him to bits for living and teaching and representing godliness to a perverse generation.
This is God's love.
Even although we offend God mightily, show by our words and deeds that we are not fit to live by his grace and mercy, have done innumerable acts of disrespect, dishonour and blasphemy that deserve God's severest judgment, gone out of our way to insult God's name and heap on him abuse and shame, yet for all this God bears with us.
This is God's love.
When we deny his existence and when he through providence has done something good for us we give his glory to another by calling it luck or good fortune, when he saves us from death or we recover from some terrible disease or we were given assistance that we knew was impossible and we mean-spiritedly did not give him thanks yet God still looks out and cares for us.
This is God's love.
When we try to destroy God's children, doing them an array of evil deeds and try to make their life miserable; when we destroy life through abortion and war that God holds so precious and dear to himself; when we mightily displease God by our hypocrisy and two-facedness and egocentricity, when we disregard all the warnings and councils and defy God to the limit yet God still reaches out his welcoming hand of mercy to rescue us and bids us come.
This is God's love.
Even when human existence seems pointless and all the saints in heaven are crying to the Lord for action yet still God delays bringing closure for he and he alone knows that man or that woman who is still to be saved, keeping the door open so that "whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved", he waits for that backslider to find himself and return; he waits for broken hearts to heal, he waits for the believer to finish the course that was set and to gain the crown of glory.
We can never fathom it for it is beyond us but we are thankful that it exists for by it we get a chance to do what no human deserve; live a life of eternal bliss. This is God's love.
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Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward's career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2013