The Sovereign and Unconditional Love of God
In 1John 4:10 we find the profound statement, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation (full payment) for our sins."
In 1John 4:8 we read, "God is Love".
From God's basic nature flows all of the blessings He has poured out and continues to pour out upon us.
God’s love is so tenacious, so unalterable that "nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (See Romans 8:35-39).
But how can that be? Nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord? What if we don't deserve God's love?
Paul comments on these matters in Ephesians 1:3-5, speaking of God’s blessing of choosing us in Christ before the foundation of the world, “that we to be holy and flawless in His sight, in love designating us beforehand for the place of a son for Him through Christ Jesus.”
May we never imagine the love of God to be based upon how lovable we perceive ourselves to be.
Bought with a Price
In 1Corinthians 6:20 we read, “For you are bought with a price;” and in 7:23 we read again, “with a price are you bought.”
In the present world of business we know that the price paid for something is in fact the buyer’s value for it. If the asked price is too high the buyer does not buy, but if the price is seen as commensurate with the value perceived by the buyer the purchase is made. In the price God has paid for you and me (Christ Crucified) we learn of the value God places on us. This is our real worth, our worth in His sight. God's view is not simply a view of who and and what we are in ourselves, but more importantly, who and what He has made us to be in Christ.
1Corinthians 1:30, 31 "But of Him (God) are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth (boast), let him glory in the Lord."
The love of God was demonstrated in the price He paid for us at Calvary, this is mentioned again in Romans 5:8, “God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
And this love of God reaches far beyond the idea of any one person being the sole object of God's love. Quite some years back a friend asked me if I knew John 3:16. “Of course!” I replied. The King James Version’s rendering of that passage was possibly the very first passage I had committed to memory. So he asked, “How does it go?” I replied that he knew it as well as anyone, but he persisted until I recited the verse for him. He then asked what it was that God loved; what did the verse identify as the object of God’s willingness to pay so great a price as His Son, the Beloved? The world! This world with all its failures and faults is valued so highly by God that He has paid a price for it that we are hard pressed to grasp.
Hard pressed to grasp-- until we begin to catch a glimpse of His goals of sonship and the display of the transcendent riches of His grace and the heading up of all in the Christ—both that in the heavens and that on the earth (See Ephesians 1:3-14). Consequently, with Paul, we bow our knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that “having been rooted and grounded in love," we would be strong to grasp what is the breadth and length and depth and height of that vast love (Ephesians 3:14-21).
GRACE - The Manifestation of God's Sovereign and Unconditional Love
The Nature of Grace
Grace is God acting freely, according to His own nature as Love; with no promises or obligations to fulfill; and acting of course, righteously—in view of the cross
Grace, therefore, is uncaused in the recipient: its cause lies wholly in the GIVER, in GOD.
Grace, also is sovereign. Not having debts to pay, or fulfilled conditions on our part to wait for, it can act toward whom, and how, it pleases. It can, and does, often, place the worst deservers in the highest favors.
Grace cannot act where there is either desert or ability: Grace does not help—it is absolute, it does all.
There being no cause in the recipient why Grace should be shown, the recipient must be brought off from trying to give cause to God for His Grace.
The discovery by the recipient that he is truly the object of Divine grace, works the utmost humility: for the receiver of grace is brought to know his own absolute unworthiness, and his complete inability to attain worthiness: yet he finds himself blessed—on another principle, outside of himself.
Therefore, flesh has no place in the plan of Grace. This is the great reason why Grace is hated by the proud natural mind of man. But for this very reason, the true believer rejoices! For he knows that “in him, that is, in his flesh, is no good thing”; and yet he finds God glad to bless him, just as he is.
The Place of Man under Grace
He has been accepted in Christ, who is his standing!
He is not “on probation”.
As to his life, past, it does not exist before God: he died at the Cross, and Christ is his life.
Grace, once bestowed, is not withdrawn: for God knew all the human exigencies beforehand: His action was independent of them, not dependent on them.
The failure of devotion does not cause the withdrawal of bestowed grace (as it would under law). For example: the man in 1Corinthians 5:1-5; and also those in 11:30-32, who did not “judge” themselves, and so where “judged by the Lord,—that they might not be condemned with the world”!
The Proper Attitude of Man under Grace
To believe, and to consent to be loved while unworthy, is the great secret.
To refuse to make “resolutions” and “vows”; for that is to trust in the flesh.
To expect to be blessed by God freely, not as reward or wage, independently from merit or lack thereof.
To testify of God’s goodness, at all times.
To be certain of God’s future favor; yet to be ever more tender in conscience toward Him.
To view God’s chastening hand as a mark of His kindness.
A man under grace if like Paul, has no burdens regarding himself; but many about others.
Things Which Gracious Souls Discover
To “hope to be a better” is to fail to see yourself in Christ only.
To be disappointed with yourself, is to have believed in yourself.
To be discouraged is unbelief—as to God’s purpose and plan of blessing for you.
To be proud, is to be blind! For we have no standing before God, in ourselves.
The lack of Divine blessing, therefore, comes from unbelief, and not from failure of devotion.
Real devotion to God arises, not from man’s will to show it; but from the discovery that blessing has been received from God while we were yet unworthy and undevoted.
To preach devotion first, and blessing second, is to reverse God’s order, and preach law, not grace. The Law made man’s blessing depend on devotion; Grace confers undeserved, unconditional blessing: our devotion may follow, but does not always do so,—in proper measure.
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As believers we believe God. We received our new life in Christ by faith and we walk in it by faith. We allow what God says is true about us to be that which determines how we see ourselves and each other.
We will be seeing in this series that God is the same powerful and delivering God that we read about in the Old Testament. All the promises of God find their “yes” and “amen” in Jesus Christ....
LIFE... to its fullest potential!