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  • Andrew Robinson

Mostly What God Does Is Love You


Heather and I moved to Walla Walla because God spoke to us. It shouldn’t have surprised us that He continued to speak. On my first visit to Walla Walla, we stayed at the Marcus Whitman during our scouting adventure. The next morning after waking up, Heather went to meet someone. I was in the room alone and waited on the Lord to hear His voice. The phrase John 3:16 went through mind. The familiar words of John 3:16 held promise, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”.

At the time, I didn’t really think this was God speaking to me and chalked it up to my imagination. As I meditated on this verse, a line from a song called Revival went through my mind, “for You love this City and you love these streets”.

Later that day, I was talking to a fellow church plant team member and they felt God had given them the verse John 3:16 too. As I pondered the events of this day, I realized the immense love that God has for Walla Walla. As I walked down the streets and saw the faces pass me by, I could sense God's great love for the people of Walla Walla.

At the heart of the matter, God really loves people, all people. Now He doesn’t just love people, He is love. 1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love. God’s very essence, His fabric, is love. It would be contrary to His nature to not love. He can’t do that! Ephesians 5 (the message) encourages us with “Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us.” How many of us have experience a love like this before?

So how does God love us? He gives. God so loved the world that He gave. He gave the most precious gift ever. If we were to decide that this truth doesn’t adequately describe the measure of God’s love, we could still ask the question, “How much does God love us?” In Ephesians 3:14-19, Paul prays for the full measure of God’s love for the Ephesian believers, concluding it’s incomprehensible, alluding to it being immeasurable. Let take a look, “I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

Now Paul doesn’t just stumble on the revelation of the love of God in Ephesians. He speaks from experience. His shared insight into the love of God starts in his letter to the believers in Rome. In Romans 5:5-8, Paul describes how the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. He then goes on to say, “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” In other words, when we were helpless, Christ died for those who were not His followers just at the right time. Paul then paints the extreme to convey the extent of God’s love and share with us, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Paul continues in Romans 8. He speaks to the adoption of God and privilege of sonship. He goes on further to encourage them in their suffering. This was a necessity as history provides us with a brutal record of Roman persecution against Christians. Was Paul perhaps addressing the question, “If bad things are happening, does God still love us?” After Paul’s encouragement to those in the midst of suffering, he presents us with one of the most profound thoughts on the love of God in Romans 8:31-39. These verses read, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Again, Paul is speaking from experience. He has suffered. He has experienced tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril and the sword. And yet Paul is still confident in the love of God. He urges the Romans believer to consider that God didn’t even spare Jesus, shall He not through Him freely give us all things, especially His love.

Paul’s writing echoes the biblical prophetic records of Father God’s love that are woven throughout the Old Testament and the Gospels. As the prophet Jeremiah shares in Jeremiah 31:3, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” In English, this verse conveys the goodness of God’s love and affection. As we look at the Hebrew there’s a remarkable depth to God’s affection. Let’s take a look, “Yes, I have loved you ('ahab) with an everlasting love ('ahabah); therefore with lovingkindness (checed) I have drawn you. The Hebrew ‘ahab means I like you and have affection for you, ‘ahabah conveys delight and desire, and checed means a fervour, passion towards, goodness, kindness and mercy. Let’s put that all together. “Yes I have liked you and have had affection for you with a forever delight and desire; therefore with a fervor and passion towards you, I have drawn you with My goodness, My kindness and My mercy.”

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