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Joe McKeever: What Does Everlasting Love Mean?

everlasting love

“The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying, ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love . . .’” (Jeremiah 31:3)

What part of ‘everlasting’ do we not get?

Lately, we are learning through science what unending and infinite look like. Space seems to be continuous, going on and on. The lineup of galaxies across the heavens staggers our imaginations, considering their size, makeup, number, complexity. But there’s something bigger.

The Psalmist who said, “The heavens declare the glory of the Lord” (Psalm 19:1) had no clue just how much they say about the majesty and might of our Creator. That’s not to imply we do, only that we have far more information on the complexities and delights of the universe which the Father has wrought with His own hands than biblical writers ever dreamed of.

“From everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.” (Psalm 90:2) From everlasting in the past to everlasting in the future, God is God. There never was a time when God did not exist; there will never be a time when God does not reign.

What Does Everlasting Love Mean?

Personally, I cannot get my mind around that. To my puny intellect, infinity of any kind is fearful. To think of being snuffed out upon death, that after our last breath, we are extinguished forever, is frightening and painful beyond belief. I think of loved ones whose passing took with them a huge hunk of my heart and soul. The thought that I would never see them again strikes me with a sadness incalculable.

But infinity of the other kind–living forever and ever, world without end–is just as mind-boggling. How could that work? How could we exist knowing that nothing would ever end?

The answer is and absolutely must be: “It’s a different realm.”  This mortal must put off its mortality, its corruption, its limitation, and be changed forever–into immortality, into glory, into power.  “We shall be changed.”  (See I Corinthians 15.) That “change” is a requirement before you and I begin to make that adjustment.

Someone protests, “Well, I’ve been bad and God cannot love someone like me.” That’s so patently ridiculous as to be laughable. Scripture says, “God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Furthermore, “He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust” (Psalm 103:14). The God who made you and me is under no illusion about us. He knows He’s dealing with humble stuff and got no bargain when He saved us. When we sin, the only one surprised is us.

If God loved only the worthy, He would be mighty lonely.

The unbelieving mind is quick to insist that, “Well, even if He loved me enough to save me, I’ve sinned since believing in Jesus, so I know He doesn’t love me any more.”  That, I respond, is the same theology of the serpent in the garden who was undermining trust in God and urging people to trust in themselves.

Everlasting love

Now, when God says something is “everlasting,” He means endless. Eternal. On and on and on….  Whether we “get it” or not. Whether or not we like it. Whether or not we understand it or agree with it or appreciate it.

And, whether or not it agrees with our theology!

Surely, “eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love Him” (I Corinthians 2:9).

“I have loved you with an everlasting love.”  Our text from Jeremiah 31:3.

“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:6).  (So many things fall under the heading of “Things too wonderful which I cannot grasp!”)

And yet, there it is:  God’s love for His children is limitless.

What part of limitless, everlasting, or eternal do we not understand?

“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 said, “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29).

John MacArthur says, “No stronger passage in the OT or NT exists for the absolute, eternal security of every true Christian.”

They shall never perish.