So Loved

HandsHeart4web-742423Today is Valentine’s Day; regardless of where this message finds you—whether you are in the midst of a storybook romance or sulking in your singleness—it seems like a good time to celebrate a holy love that “so loved” you. The inspired pen of John could find no better way to describe this unimaginable love that sought you, caught you, and bought you than to use the word “so”…

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Decades ago, blues icon BB King wailed, “Nobody loves me but my mother . . . and she could be jivin’ me too.” Have you ever wondered just how loved you really are? I want you to consider what follows here and marinate in it —not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day throughout the coming year.

Jesus did not come because of sin; He came because of love. Sin happened long before Adam and Eve were created. Adam and Eve were the first human sinners, but there was a sinful creature lurking in the Garden of Eden who had embraced a wicked, depraved, and fallen condition long before God breathed life into the first two human beings. Let’s take a look at the prophet Isaiah’s account:

How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High!”(Isaiah 14:12-14)

Satan’s grandiose ambitions ended very badly! The Lord Jesus told His disciples, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18).

Adam and Eve followed the voice of the Serpent (Satan, the fallen angel) and thumbed their noses at God, just as Satan did. They centered their entire existence on the same “I” that inflamed the heart of the fallen angel. Notice that this “I” is in the middle of both SIN and PRIDE! Satan was filled with sinful pride, and he convinced Adam and Eve to focus on “I” rather than the great “I AM.”

Take a look at the fallen angel’s five ‘I WILLS,” as recorded by Isaiah:

  • I WILL ascend to the heavens.
  • I WILL raise my throne above the stars of God.
  • I WILL sit enthroned on the mount of assembly.
  • I WILL ascend above the tops of the clouds.
  • I WILL make myself like the Most High.

For Lucifer, it was not enough to be in the presence of God; he coveted the position of God. For Adam and Eve, it was not enough for them to be made in the image of God; they too wanted to be in the position of God. And all mankind has been pursuing that same awful ambition ever since.

So if sin already existed before men and women existed, and God did not go after Satan, the first sinner, to redeem him, there had to be something else besides sin that motivated God to pursue those first two human rebels. And that motivation, dear reader, was the “special love,” the “so loved” love that God has for humanity . . . the special love He has for you! For God “so loved” you that He sent His Son to die on a cross so that you would never die, but have eternal life.

God could have pursued the fallen angels, but He did not. He chose instead to pursue fallen humanity and to send His precious Son to redeem those who were His special image-bearers (Genesis 1:26). This Gospel truth in all its glory makes it crystal clear that God’s love for us is unparalleled. The love of God has for you in Jesus Christ is as measureless as it is fathomless; truly, it cannot be explained. Paul said the love God has for us in Christ “surpasses knowledge,” and yet he prayed that we would be given the supernatural power “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:18-19).

The best we can do is simply acknowledge that we are “so loved” and receive that love by faith and respond to the One who showers it upon us with a heart of adoring gratitude—not only daily, but moment by moment.

He told me to tell you on this Valentine’s Day.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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