Bible Lesson 44

The Love of God

Love, what it is and what it does and how it acts is much misunderstood by our society. We tend to confuse love with lust and that can not be; because lust is an animal type of feeling, while love is an attribute that is energized by a connection that only saints have with God. Love for the Christian comes with His “quickening” by God in salvation. Those who are not saved may be kind, courteous, even caring for others but their love for others is always conditioned by something, something that they like or want. Attempting to explain God’s love is just as tricky as trying to explain God. God “is” love, but love is just one of the numerous attributes that God has. What we need to understand is that love is not God, which is what most people who read the Bible attempt to make it. God is love but love is not God.

The most important thing that we must remember about God’s love is that “no man will ever know the love of God until he knows the wrath of God against his sin.” When all is said and done, if I can teach some who read these lessons that God’s love is not something that we are born with (because we are all born with a nature that is sinful and unresponsive to God), then I will have been used of God in His service.

In our mixed up, Armenian belief system, we tend to believe that we are all born as children of God, loved by God, and fit for heaven with just minor adjustments that we can make by ourselves.
In so doing we have confused and misrepresented the real gospel of God. We begin the gospel with God loves you, unconditionally, just because you are you.

That is a lie and it blasphemes the God of the Word. To understand the Love of God, we have to understand that God has laid down the rules for salvation and they began before the foundation of the World. If you will, open your Bible and read with me, from Ephesians chapter one and verses one through five.

That scripture says this, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.”

Now, let’s try to understand what God was saying to us in those verses, as He inspired Paul to write them down for all who would read and understand them. In verse one, Paul introduces himself as an Apostle of Jesus Christ and he reminds us that he is an apostle by the will of God. That’s what God had planned and decreed for Paul to be. He says in verse one who this letter is addressed to, “the Saints who are faithful in Christ Jesus.” In verse two Paul says that he writes with the authority of “God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

In verses three through five, God speaks to us through the Apostle Paul and tells us how God has planned to save those who will be saved; and that shows us that before the foundation of the world, before Genesis chapter one and verse one, God chose those who would be saved in time. God is never surprised by what His creatures do. Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden was not a surprise to God and having Omniscience, God had planned to send His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ to the cross to make a way for those that God would over time call out of the world to be recreated in Christ Jesus and saved to serve God while they are on the earth and later in heaven.

The question always arises here when we speak of God electing or choosing those who will be saved? Who did he elect or choose?
We are not told who is elected, except that God says that He chose people from all tribes, tongues, people, and nations, without discrimination but not without exception. (Revelation 5:9).

We know from the Word of God, the Bible, that not everyone was chosen, because Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:13 &14, that many will go in at the wide gate that leads to hell; but only a few will find that strait (narrow) gate that leads to heaven. The question that would best be asked, is why God would save any of us, not why God does not just declare us all fit for heaven and save us all. That is a question but it is not one that we will ever be able to ask God.

We forget too easily that God is the Almighty Sovereign Creator, and we are only lowly creatures. God created man and gave him specific instruction and even when a man was not responsive, God provided the only way that man can inherit heaven, the blood and body of His Sinless Son Jesus Christ who took our place on the cross and paid the sin debt that we owed.

According to Ephesians chapter 2 and verse one, we were all born “dead in trespass and sin”. We were born dead spiritually because of inheriting Adam’s sinful nature and we were incapable of doing anything except sin, so God gives us spiritual life when He begins the process of Salvation. If you will, read Ephesians chapter two and verses one through verse six and you will begin to understand what our condition was before God interdicted our lives and what God alone can do to make us able to connect with Him. We were all born sinners and we had a lord whose name was Lucifer, who is called the prince of the power of the air, and our spirit was subject to his spirit until God quickens us or brings us back to spiritual life.

We were born with a disobedient nature and we were under the wrath of God then verse four tells us that “God, who is rich in mercy because of His great love for us, who loved us even when we were dead in trespass and sin has made us alive together with Christ”. Now, we have to keep this all in perspective, and in the context of the scripture we have used up to this point, so let?s review what we have learned.

We learned in Ephesians chapter one and verses one through four, that God chose those who would be saved before the foundation of the world, then in Ephesians chapter two, verses one through four, we learned that God sovereignty quickens those that He chose before the foundation of the world, in time and God did that because He loves us. Why does God love some and not others at least not to the point that He will quicken them and save them? The short answer is that because God wanted to. It was His will to save some whom He would give to Christ to be His forever.

How do we know who God chose before the foundation of the world? It is by seeing who truly comes to God through Christ and then acts like children of God. If you can die to self, submit yourself to the Lordship of Christ, and obey all that you know God would have you to do then you are one of the elect.

If you cannot love Christ more than you love yourself, your parents, your spouse, your children, and everyone and everything else on the earth, then probably you are not chosen. (See Luke 14:26-32). If you were chosen by God before the foundation of the world, then God will love you enough to cause you to commit yourself to Him; and if you were not chosen then you won’t ever be interested in pleasing God, and God won’t force you to do what you do not desire.

Many people today have heard about heaven and hell and no person who has any sense would want to go to hell, but there is no such thing as “fire insurance”. If you join some church group simply to escape the terror of hell you will not be saved; but if you desire God and pleasing Him more than you desire the things of this world, that?s a pretty good indication that you are one of the elect.

You will know God?s love. Jesus Christ, who is God, tells us in John chapter fifteen and verse thirteen, “Greater love has no one than this than to lay down one?s life for his friends”. Then in the next verse, Jesus said: “you are my friends if you do whatever I command you.” You see it’s all about our following the path that was laid out by God from the beginning. We have to yield to the Omnipotence of God and He said that His children would obey Him.

If we look at the book of Hebrews chapters five and verses eight and nine, we find that Jesus Christ in His human flesh learned obedience by the things that He suffered. Listen to those verses…” though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things that He suffered.

And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” How much does God love those who obey Him? He loved them enough that He took it in hand to provide everything that was required for our salvation, and He provides all the power and will that we need to do those things which please Him. (Philippians 2:13).

We are told in John 6:44 that no man can come to Christ except the Father Who sent Him, draws them, and Jesus said that He would raise those at the last day. We, as humans, would never want to be saved unless God had worked to bring us to a point that we could see our lost and hopelessness condition and point us to the cross. Salvation is all of God and we have no part in our salvation.

God loved us enough that He provides it all at His expense to make sure it is done the correct way. We as lost and rebellious people owed a debt that we could never pay, so God came and paid it Himself on the cross. As the old song goes, “if that isn’t loving, the ocean is dry, There?s no stars in the sky, and the sparrow can?t fly! If that isn’t loving, then heaven?s a myth, there?s no feeling like this if there isn’t love.”

But dear brother or sister, God’s love is real love, it is such a great love that God sent His sinless Son Jesus Christ to hang on that cross where sinners should have hung, to hang there in humiliation, to bleed and suffer and die so that we could be redeemed. Can you appreciate a love like that? Can you trust that God who did that so that sinners could be set free, to be able to stand righteous before their Creator?

God does not tolerate disobedient children, so know beforehand that the Christian walk is a circumspect way, a way that has been clearly defined by God in His Word the Bible. Nobody has ever been able to do it in the flesh. That’s the reason that God puts the old creature to death and raises a new creature, with the old thing, passed away and all things become new. (See 2nd Corinthians 5:17).

I’m sure many of you who read this will be members of some church group, and that?s good, unless you have substituted your group and your membership in that group, for the blood of Jesus Christ. Churches have never saved anyone, and neither have great orators or precious people.

Salvation comes only to those who are willing to die to self and take their cross and follow wherever Jesus will lead them. There is no such thing as a partially saved person, you are either completely saved and obedient to God or you are lost and going to hell.

Pardon me if I sound harsh and narrow-minded and one way; but that is the way our God is when it comes to our salvation. We can find salvation nowhere but in the grace of God and through faith in Jesus Christ and neither one of those (Grace or Faith) is something that we possess.

They are both gifts of God in our salvation. (See Ephesians 2:8-9). Are you tired of trying to look and talk and act like a Child of God, while at the same time you know in your heart of hearts that you cannot look back to a time when you know that you were changed by the power of God?

The only way that we can ever get past that is to trust God and cry out to Him to save us and recreate us in His Son Jesus Christ, indwelling us with His Holy Spirit which will then give us the power to do all that God requires from His children.

God never takes the old creature and puts a fresh coat of paint on him and then turns him over to self to either sink or swim. God creates a new creature, a creature that can commune with God and who wakes up every day dying to self and trusting the power of God to see him through. (Ephesians 2:10).

Once God works to quicken you and bring you back to Spiritual life, you will know that you were chosen before the foundation of the world; because then you will perceive that you are loved of God; and that He laid down His life for you.

Just remember, salvation is not something that you nor any other man can generate, it is only of God, but God is in the business of saving those who come to Him loving Him more than they love anyone or anything in this world. Now, it seems that most people, including our foremost preachers and theologians, refuse to see that God has told us who it is that He loves; and that is those who know his commandments and keeps them. (see John 14:21-24).

Don’t try to convince yourself that because you think that God loves you that you are somehow going to sneak into heaven through some back door. It is not going to happen and the Bible is clear on it. We have taught people that lie to the point that even people who I have talked to about Christ and the Gospel, will tell you that if they died instantly they would go to hell; but they steadfastly insist that God still loves them.

There are several things wrong with that idea, first, it is not Biblical, second, it calls God a liar, and third, it doesn’t make good sense. As we said before, God is in the business of saving souls, but it is always done in his time and on his terms.

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob