Friday, August 25, 2017

The Vision (8.25.17): For God so Loved

Image: Baptism service, Kostopil, Ukraine (8.13.17)

Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on John 3:16-17.

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).

Jesus begins, “For God so loved….”

God. This is the God of the Bible. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The jealous God who will not yield his glory to another. The God who in the beginning made the heaven and the earth. This is not some amorphous God, some life force. This is Jehovah.

So. This is the adverb houto. I think there is a natural tendency to take the English word in the sense of “so much” or “to such a great degree.” We get the picture of love overflowing from God’s heart. But the word can also mean, “in such a manner” or “in such a way.”

Loved. The verb here is agapaomai, from the noun agape. This is the distinct word for Christian love. It can describe the love a Christian husband is to have for his wife (cf. Eph 5:25). It is the word Paul uses in his great love chapter: 1 Corinthians 13, when he says that love suffers long (is patient), is kind, does not envy, does not vaunt itself, is not puffed up, does not behave unseemly, does not seek its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in the truth (vv. 4-6). This is the word Jesus uses in the new commandment, when he tells the disciples to love one another and the term John uses when he says, “Beloved, let us love one another….” (1 John 4:7-8). God is himself love. He is the definition of love, the standard of love.

The God of the Bible is a God of love. We sometimes criticize mushy-gushy evangelicals for talking of God’s love and not his wrath, but we can become just as unbalanced if we speak only of his wrath and neglect his love.

The God of the Bible is a God of love.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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