What Does it Mean that “God is Love”…

My father-in-law gave us this devotional book awhile ago (seen above) it was his from when he was young and it is excellent! It has provoked a blog post. When we think about the nature or person of God many times we only focus on the “Jesus of the manger” or those old pictures portraying Jesus with a halo and floating on mid air with little children beside Him. And those similar. But when was the last time you saw a photo of Jesus making a whip and driving out the money changers from the temple and overturning tables? Not too many. We must remember that the God who parted the Red Sea for Israel to cross on dry land is also the God who drowned the whole Egyptian army in that same sea. This is the same God who delivered His people out of slavery and into the Promised Land only to send them back into slavery under the power of Babylon for seventy years because of their continued disobedience.

God has always been so gracious and patient with His people from the beginning of time. For instance, remember Noah’s Ark and the Flood or Lot and his family in Sodom and Gomorrah. Yes, God did destroy the whole world and millions (possibly) of people in that flood. And yes, only Lot and his two daughters survived out of thousands of people (possibly) in that judgement of fire. BUT…God was very, very, patient before those judgements. Giving PLENTY of warning beforehand (“….when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah” (1 Peter 3:20)

I hear many say “you might offend someone by saying this or that or acting in this way or that way, etc”. They seem to think that it is “unloving” to expose what is “hidden” in the darkness, to bring light to something. Or to call sin, sin. Or to tell the truth without apology. Jesus was not concerned with those who might be offended by His presence or his words, but He did say, “blessed is the one who is not offended by me” (Matt. 11:6). The way we use the word “Love” or what we consider “Love” within the Church is many times NOT love. It is “appeasing someone”. It may be keeping the peace, or helping someone feel comfortable or unoffended. The problem with our “newer” definition of love, which has been redefined by culture, by post-modernist thinking, by relativistic views, instead of the Word of God, is that it has damaged the Body-of-Christ and it has damaged our witness to the World. A KEY POINT HERE: When we remove the cultural setting of the Word of God. What I mean is, when we forget that the words Jesus and the Apostles spoke in the first century had “weight”, that they had context and meaning to those words, and which have been lost to many in the twenty-first century. Therefore, regarding the Bible, we are in a crisis of communication. Meaning, we have lost the power behind the words, “Savior, Lord, God, sin, hell, love, hate, the cross, and….truth”.

We have forgotten somehow that before and above all things God is Holy. Therefore His love comes WITH holy standards. It is a love which demands morality and a foundation of truth from which to be built on. There is no Godly love apart from Godly truth. Therefore God’s love has standards and requires obedience. It’s a “just and righteous” love. It demands repentance and submission. For apart from repentance there is no heaven, only Hell. You cannot have God’s love without God’s just wrath. If “God IS love” His love requires it.

For years I have noticed the consequences of not, as Paul put it, “declaring to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). We have been preaching a partial gospel message. If Christ is to be your Savior He is also to be your Lord. And this word “Lord” means master. Slaves submit their whole life to their master.

My desire. And I am convinced, God’s desire, is that we Christian’s examine our lives. That we would truly ask “who’s side am I on?” That when we say “God is love, or that I rest in God’s love, or that I rely on God’s grace or, I believe in the Jesus from the gospels…etc”. Terms which are meant to feel all warm and fuzzy like the Jesus with the smile and halo and floating in mid air with small children under him. That we would understand what we are saying. For to believe in the Jesus of the scriptures is to believe in a highly exalted, holy, awesome, all powerful, supreme, One above all rule and authority, with angels bowing to Him. The One Who “in his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength” (Rev. 1:16). The One Who said to His Church/children, “Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die,…. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief,…” (Rev 3:2-3). And Who said to His children, “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth (Rev 3:15-16). Now, why is it important that we hear these verses? Not for any other reason but that we might realize that in the American Church there is MUCH LUKEWARMNESS! And as hard of a message as it is to hear:

There is “noise” distracting us. Noise from the world. Many have chosen the world and neglected their First Love (Christ), and because of the deceitfulness of sin, they don’t even realize it. They have chosen the idol of wealth, health, and happiness. They have chosen to place their hope in “man” in government instead of their King. They say they believe Christ has risen from the dead and is exalted to the right hand of God and is coming again to judge the world in righteousness…..but their lives reflect Jesus is still in the tomb! Their hope is in this life alone and they have planted themselves in the earth, instead of setting their minds on things above, where Christ is (Col. 3:1)

Therefore, let us recall the whole NAME OF GOD. God is love, but let us grasp what that means from now on. Let us speak the whole truth…in love. Let us not be ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God. Only Let us grasp exactly what the gospel entails. What the gospel requires. Let us remind each other today. And let us truly know Who we have believed in. For, He will never abandon us. He will never leave us….but let us not abandon Him for the World.

LASTLY, let’s end with this. And meditate on how God moves:

 "Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.

Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to a city to dwell in;
hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
till they reached a city to dwell in.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
prisoners in affliction and in irons,
for they had rebelled against the words of God,
and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor;
they fell down, with none to help.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
and burst their bonds apart.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he shatters the doors of bronze
and cuts in two the bars of iron.

Some were fools through their sinful ways,
and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
they loathed any kind of food,
and they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them,
and delivered them from their destruction.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

Some went down to the sea in ships,
doing business on the great waters;
they saw the deeds of the Lord,
his wondrous works in the deep.
For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their evil plight;
they reeled and staggered like drunken men
and were at their wits’ end.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed. [Prophecy of Jesus stilling the waters]
Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

He turns rivers into a desert,
springs of water into thirsty ground,
a fruitful land into a salty waste,
because of the evil of its inhabitants.
He turns a desert into pools of water,
a parched land into springs of water.
And there he lets the hungry dwell,
and they establish a city to live in;
they sow fields and plant vineyards
and get a fruitful yield.
By his blessing they multiply greatly,
and he does not let their livestock diminish.

When they are diminished and brought low
through oppression, evil, and sorrow,
he pours contempt on princes
and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
but he raises up the needy out of affliction
and makes their families like flocks.
The upright see it and are glad,
and all wickedness shuts its mouth.

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord"
(Ps. 107:1-43, ESV, emphasis mine)...You who are wise consider the way God moves


Categories HOPE!, Last Days, Truth and ErrorTags

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