God’s Love Is An Awesome Mystery…John 3 pt 11

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)

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us…(Ephesians 2:4)

John 3 is the record of an interview that Jesus gave to a leading Rabbi, a Senator(Sanhedrinist) and a Pharisee, Nicodemus.The Topic? The New Birth.

Jesus told Nicodemus that the New Birth was more than the acceptance of a new set of responsibilities such as marriage or ministry, as the Jews believed. The New Birth was an act of God,the Holy Spirit. It was and is the fulfillment of the promise given through Ezekiel, that God would grant Israel a “washing in water” and give them a new “tender heart of flesh” that they might keep His commands.

No human being could ever become good enough to attain this new birth, it is a gift of God, given to us by the descent of the “Son of Man which is in heaven”, but who has come to the earth.

The gift of the New Birth would come as a result of something akin to Moses’ “brass serpent”, lifted up in the wilderness. Even so must the “son of man be lifted up”, that those who believe in him might receive the gift of eternal life. The Son would bear the judgment that we deserved, on the tree, that we might live.

We discussed last time what is not meant by the phrase “For God so loved the world …”. We had to because decades of humanistic teachings, the influence of psychology and the increasing sentimentalization of christianity, have  led to serious misconceptions about God’s love.

God did not love the world because of something which he saw that was ‘desirable’ in it. Nor is the cross the measure of our ‘worth’ as so many in this psychologized age assert. There was nothing in us at all that compelled God to love the world.

The word for Love in John 3:16 is Agape, and it means that God chose to Love us, He willed it, and set his love upon us, solely because of who He is, not who we are. God saw our plight, chose to will our good, and did what needed to be done, to save us.

There are many facets to this ,“Love so amazing, and so Divine”, in fact it would take eternity to even begin to plumb the depths of the love Jesus mentioned in John 3:16.

Let it suffice us for now to look at just a few of them. What was it in God that compelled him to offer up his Son for our salvation?

* Mercy- The God revealed by Jesus in John 3 is a God of mercy and truth. He doesn’t wish for anyone to perish, as the apostle Peter says, but that all might come to repentance, and receive the gift of God which is everlasting Life.

His very nature is forgiveness, as the Psalmist indicates,

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.(Psalm 103:8-11)

The mercy of God compels Him to want to relieve the sufferings even of those justly afflicted. He saw our sin, and with it all of its implications, all of he misery, shame, pain, confusion and death that the aggregation of human sin would bring about, and He did something to bring us relief and salvation.

*Holy Love- But the Love of God is Holy Love. He had to relieve our sufferings in a Holy and Righteous way, He could not just “sweep our sin under the carpet”, he had to make a way consistent with His own nature to relieve us.His answer? Substitution.

Because God is Holy, sin must be answered for, the demand that the sinner must die and that wrath be satisfied against all transgression, iniquity and sin. Jesus is the offering God made to himself , for us.

* Compassionate love- The Love of God compelled Him to save us by entering fully into our humanity. God himself would “feel what we feel”, fully experiencing everything of humanity,(except sin). God was in Jesus Christ, coming to us, tasting death in all of its forms; hatred and rejection,hunger, thirst, limitation, betrayal, unrequited love, humiliation and even shame. The prophet Isaiah said of Him,

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.(Isaiah 53:2-6)

Small wonder Charles Wesley taught us to marvel in song of adoration;

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?



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2 Responses to God’s Love Is An Awesome Mystery…John 3 pt 11

  1. Frankie Lee says:

    I love Charles Wesley,and when he identify an anti-Christ in our Christendom,and named him as the blasphemer of God,I was shocked.His name was John Calvin,respected by Spurgoen,Reformed Church and their followers.
    We cannot fully understand the love of God unless we rid off the doctrines of Calvin,who was an heretic,and denounced his evil acts,his doctrines,for he burned human being alive-Micheal Servetus.

  2. katiethumma says:

    “And can it be that I should gain
    An interest in the Savior’s blood?
    Died He for me, who caused His pain—
    For me, who Him to death pursued?
    Amazing love! How can it be,
    That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”
    I was humming and singing this song not 10 minutes before I read this post. Beautiful song, one of my favorites.
    Also here is a link to my blog that you asked for : http://throughmyeyes2012.wordpress.com

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