One of the most remarkable things that has ever been said is that the God who made the universe loves us. The love of God is an amazing thing.
To better understand the weightiness of the love of God, we have to understand the meaning of love.
Love as we understand it is typically associated with feelings that come and go. One pop song tells us that love is a sweet, old-fashioned notion and a second-hand emotion. But the biblical picture of love is much more breathtaking than this.
When Jesus says that God so loved us, what does he mean?
Love Means Covenant
The anchor of covenant travels through the pages of Scripture. God makes a covenant with Adam and Eve, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon, and ultimately with all who have faith in Jesus. The essence of his covenant is, “I will be your God, and also the God of your children, and you will be my people.” Here, we are promised his steady presence, his enduring kindness, his relentless commitment never to leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). In the same way that a bride and groom covenant to be faithful to one another in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, for better or for worse, so God covenants himself to us.
Being in covenant with God means that once we become his children, we cannot un-become his children. In other words the love of God means, we are safe with him. He will not reject us. On our best days and our worst days, he will remain loyal to us. This is a unique truth about Christianity. God will continue to accept us, even when we fail him repeatedly. He will not push the eject button on us when we fall short of the mark. We are never on eggshells with him because the God who forgives is the God who stays. This cannot be said of our work. If we fail at our work it won’t forgive us…we’ll be fired. It cannot be said of our investments. If we predict the market wrong, they will not forgive us…we’ll be in the poorhouse. Ultimately, it cannot be said about people either. While some are more prone to forgive than others, if we fail people badly enough, there’s no guarantee they’ll give us a new start…trust may be permanently broken. But Jesus! Jesus is the God who stays with us, seventy times seven and then some.
Love Means Intent to Restore
The love of God invites us to come to him as we are, this is not an invitation to stay as we are. Ephesians 2:10 reminds us that we are his “workmanship” (literally his “poem”), created in Christ Jesus for good works. When God created human beings, he created us in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. In the beginning, male and female together reflected his likeness as his “very good” crown of creation (Genesis 1:26-27). But when we sought independence from him, our very-goodness was marred like the defacing of a magnificent piece of art. Ever since, we have not been what God intends for us to be. But God, being the Redeemer of all that is broken, intends to restore the whole universe back to its original glory and beauty (Romans 8:18-25). This especially includes people, who are his joy and his crown. Scripture promises that when God is finished restoring us, we will be like Jesus, with a character that is perfect, completely free from all transgression and corruption.