The extent of God’s love at Calvary is seen in both the infinite cost to Him of giving His one and only Son, and in the wretched and miserable condition of those He loved. God could not remove our sins without an infinite cost to both Himself and His Son. And because of their great love for us, both were willing—yes more than merely willing—to pay that great cost, the Father in giving His one and only Son, and the Son in laying down His life for us. One of the essential characteristics of love is the element of self-sacrifice, and this was demonstrated for us to its ultimate in God’s love at Calvary.
The daily experience of Christ’s love is linked to our obedience to Him. It is not that His love is conditioned on our obedience. That would be legalism. But our experience of His love is dependent upon our obedience.
God declares to us that Jesus Christ, who once had His side pierced, today has His heart open, as it were, that we may have assurance of the love that He bears us; that as He once had His arms fastened to the cross, now He has them wide open to draw us to Himself; and that as once He shed his blood, so today He wishes us to be plunged within it. So, when God invites us so sweetly and Jesus Christ sets before us the fruit of His death and passion…let us all come to take our stand with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our crimes merited our sufferings, but His own mercy made Him a sufferer for us; for us He sweat those drops of blood, for us He trod the winepress alone, for us He assuaged the rigor of divine justice, for us, who were not only miserable, but offending creatures, and overwhelmed with more sins to be hated, than with misery to be pitied. He was crucified for us by His love, who deserved to die by His power, and laid the highest obligation upon us, who had laid the highest offenses upon Him.
The fact is, there is a “course” that addresses every issue we will ever face. The Teacher loves to meet one-on-one with His students, so that He can tailor the course to our needs. He is willing to hold class every day that we are willing to meet. We already have the Textbook, which was written by the Teacher Himself. Parts of it can be difficult to grasp. But the Teacher is always available – twenty-four hours a day – to help us understand.
It is not exceptionally worthy people that Jesus loves, but His love is exceptional in that He loves those of no value at all. In fact, He loves us in our sin. Only such a view of love correctly appreciates the sacrifice of Christ and respects the infinite chasm between what is deserved and mercy.
O blessed Jesus, Your love is wonderful! It is the admiration, joy and song of glorified saints. The experimental sense of Your love on earth sweetens the bitterness of life and disarms death of all its terrors! It was love which moved You to bow the heavens, to come down and sojourn on earth, to humble Yourself, to take on You the form of a servant, and become obedient onto death, even the death of the cross! You pitied me in my lost estate. You sought and found me when I sought You not. You spoke peace to me in the day of my distress, when the clouds of guilt and darkness hung heavy on my soul and I was brought to the borders of despair. You have borne with all my weakness, corrected my mistakes, restored me from my wanderings, and healed my backslidings. May Your lovingkindness be ever before my eyes to induce me to walk in Your truth. May Your love be the daily theme of my meditations, and the constant joy of my heart!
Jesus did not come to reward the deserving but to serve the needy with reckless abandon.
The man of sorrow sees it coming toward Him. He already senses something of the perfidy, the hypocrisy, the calumny, the mockery, the pain, and the shame which like an avalanche threatens to overwhelm Him. Yet, He does not retreat or even stand still. With unflinching determination, He walks right into it, for He knows that this is necessary in order that His people may be saved. “Having loved His own…He loved them to the uttermost” (John 13:1).
God’s love in Christ is wider than the breach your sin has made with God; it is long enough to reach back into your past and forward into an eternal future; it is high enough to bring you to God; and it is so deep, it will never run dry (see Eph. 3:18). In Christ, God loves sinners.
He loved us not because we are lovable, but because He is love.
Our Lord God must be a pious man to be able to love rascals. I can’t do it, and yet I am a rascal myself.
To deny the special love of God, and to believe that Christ loves all men equally, is to suppose that Christ has done no more for those the Father has given to Him than for mankind at large. But if Christians are no more loved than those who will finally be lost, the decisive factor in salvation becomes, not God’s grace and love, but something in them, and their perseverance becomes dependent upon themselves.
We are never nearer Christ than when we find ourselves lost in a holy amazement at His unspeakable love.
How many millions of sins in every one of the elect, every one of which is enough to condemn them all, hath this love overcome! What mountains of unbelief doth it remove! Look upon the conduct of any one saint, consider the frame of his heart, see the many stains and spots, the defilements and infirmities with which his life is contaminated, and tell me whether the love that bears with all this is not to be admired. And is not the same towards thousands every day? What streams of grace, purging, pardoning, quickening, assisting, do flow from it every day! This is our Beloved.
A man may love another as his own soul, yet his love may not be able to help him. He may pity him in prison, but not relieve him, bemoan him in misery, but not help him, suffer with him in trouble, but not ease him. We cannot love grace into a child, nor mercy into a friend; we cannot love them into heaven, though it may be the greatest desire of our soul… But the love of Christ, being the love of God, is effective and fruitful in producing all the good things which He wills for His beloved. He loves life, grace and holiness into us; He loves us into covenant, loves us into heaven.
Jesus, the incarnation of love and truth, knows there is nothing more loving than telling people The Truth.
“For the love of Christ controls us.” The motivation here in 2 Corinthians 5:14 to live for Christ is clearly the love of Christ. With every thought, decision or action we make, we remember the One who loves us dearly. And that love He has for us is the motivation for us to love Him in return. And why do we love Him? 1 John 4:19, “We love, because He first loved us.” And how do we love Him in return? John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” It becomes the law of love. We find ourselves serving the Lord out of devotion and not out of duty.
If we love Jesus, never should we feel safer in the presence of the One we should fear the most!
As we grow in Christ, we feel more unworthy to be in His presence, at times wanting to run, but more assured of His eternal commitment, His promise to always hold us close to Himself in His arms of love.
Consider the irony. At a certain point in time the One who was creator, would actually become part of His creation. The sustainer of the world would be killed by the hands He was sustaining. The One who was loved by the Father, would be predetermined to be rejected by the Father. The One who knew no sin, would become sin. And the One predestined to die for sinners, would be predestined before there ever was sin. First Peter 1:20, says He “has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.” The One who needs nothing, would come to the aid of those who hated Him and purchase a people for Himself.
The heart of Christ became like a reservoir in the midst of the mountains. All the tributary streams of iniquity, and every drop of the sins of His people, ran down and gathered into one vast lake, deep as hell and shoreless as eternity. All these met, as it were, in Christ’s heart, and He endured them all.
In math, if you divide an infinite number by any number, no matter how large, you still have an infinite quotient. So Jesus’ love, being infinite, even though it is divided up for every person on earth, is still infinitely poured out on each one of us!
A person’s life is his most precious possession. Consequently, to rob him of it is the greatest sin we can commit against him, while to give one’s own life on his behalf is the greatest possible expression of love for him (1 Jn. 3:16). This, then, is the ultimate contrast: Cain’s hatred issued in murder, Christ’s love (issued) in self-sacrifice.
We may force our Lord to punish us, but we will never have to force Him to love us. That’s His nature.
Behold, what manner of love is this, that Christ should be arraigned and we adorned, that the curse should be laid on His head and the crown set on ours.
[The term] unconditional love, translated into unconditional approval… Jesus, however, can be angered and grieved by stubborn hearts (Mark 3:5). He severely rebuked His own disciples (Mark 8:33). The mind and emotions of God are His mind and emotions. His responses toward those who were both for Him and against Him were rich and lively. They cannot be contained by the word unconditional, especially when the word suggests that there is never any disapproval of a person’s behavior. If there were no disapproval of our behavior, there would have been no cross.
Read through the Gospels, and you quickly conclude that Jesus was a dynamic, remarkably effective teacher. Never boring, always stimulating. Never obtuse, always clear. Never pompous or distant, always personal and lovingly concerned.