Being that it is Valentines Day today, I’ve decided to take a step back from the things we normally discuss in these pages and talk about something, somewhat related to the holiday at hand. This article is going to focus on just how great God’s love is for us, in the context of creation.
God’s love for humanity is found liberally throughout the pages of Scripture. The most obvious and famous example comes from John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” This verse is quoted extensively as proof that God loves humanity. While that is true, it leaves out much of the context and thus fails to illustrate the depth of God’s love. God’s love first makes an appearance back in the Garden of Eden when He gave man a choice. In the worlds worst dictatorships, the people are forced to proclaim their love for their leader, even as he starves them to death. That was not how God wanted His relationship with humanity to be. God wanted to have each individual human choose to love and serve Him. Therefore a choice had to be offered and God offered it. He put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden and commanded man not to eat it. Man then had the choice to love and serve God, or reject Him. Man chose to reject God.
As with any choice, there were consequences to this rejection of God. Man was driven from the Garden of Eden and the universe cursed because of sin. However, even in this consequence, the love of God for humanity appeared again. In His curse upon the serpent in Genesis 3:15, God promised the ultimate defeat of sin. I wrote about this promise in my Christmas article which may be found here. Despite man rejecting God, His love for man was so great that He was still willing to redeem man. First however, man had to suffer the consequences for his actions. Hebrews 12:6 says “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” In other words, because God loved man, He had to allow man to receive the consequences of his actions. Those consequences involved thousands of years of people dying, and a global flood that wiped out all but eight members of humanity because of man’s wickedness. God’s love for humanity meant that humanity had to deal with consequences for its poor choice.
However, consequences were not all that came because God loved humanity. So too did redemption. Promised throughout the Old Testament was a redeemer, Immanuel, the Messiah, who would come and deliver Israel. The Jews however, misunderstood the scope of the Messiah’s mission. God’s love was not just for the Jews, it was for everyone. As the aforequoted John 3:16 states, it was God’s love for the world, not just the Jews, that led Him to give His Son. It is that gift that is key to understanding the depth of God’s love.
When man evaluates the value of something, he tends to do so in terms of its monetary worth. This is a fine system until a human life is the item being evaluated. What price could you put on life? In the case of an unwanted infant, the price is three hundred dollars and up in a homicide mill. What if, however, that life was desired? What if it had value? What price would be put on it then? How much value would you personally assign to your spouse, your parents, your children? God answered that question. The price He put on the life of His Son was the redemption of humanity. Think about that for a moment. God traded the life of His Son, to give a rebellious, sinful, wicked, human race the opportunity to live forever with Him. Consider the depth of love that requires. If it had been someone you loved, would you have traded their lives for people who hated you? If you are honest, the answer is no. Yet this is exactly what God did.
God’s love for humanity is amazing. It’s depth is truly breathtaking when it is considered just what God was willing to do for sinful humanity. Yet, despite this freely demonstrated love, much of humanity continues to reject it. In so doing, they bring the consequences of their rejection upon themselves for God, in His love, cannot withhold due consequences of a choice. However, this same love has also made a way for man to escape the consequences of his sin. That way is His Son, Jesus Christ.