Lifelines July 29, 2018

“For God so loved the world…(John 3:16).”  There is no verse in the word of the Lord that is more recognizable that that one.  It is a reassurance.  It resonates with universal appeal.  To think that an all-powerful Creator has such an attitude toward a rebellious creation stretches the bounds of our comprehension.  He is so enormous, and we are so insignificant in comparison.  He is holy.  We are not.  Yet, He loves us anyway.

The universe around us testifies to the existence of God (Romans 1:20).  He has surrounded us with evidence.  The cycle of seasons, the orbits of the stars and planets, plus the wonder of the human body all point to an amazing power behind them.  It is impossible to explain the existence of anything without acknowledging that someone made it.  Houses do not just spring up.  Cars do not evolve from bicycles.  He is beyond our understanding, but God must exist.  This all came from somewhere.

His extraordinary magnitude and pure character make His love for us even more perplexing.  He handcrafted a man and an ideal partner for him.  He placed them in a perfect environment with a wide variety of beautiful trees with good food.  Two of them were special.  One was off limits.  Of course, that is the one that they could not resist.  It must be a human tendency.  “Don’t” stirs up the worst in us, even when it comes from one who loves us perfectly.

One bite brought sin and death into the world, but it did not blunt the love of God.  Surely, He grieved.  He knows what is best for us, and we have rejected it time-after-time.  He has cleansed the world by flood, provided guidelines for liberated slaves to keep them free, sent prophets to call them back to covenantal responsibilities and each met with failure.  Still, He loved the world.

That explains it all.  The strange star in the sky.  The Bethlehem birth among the animals.  The thirty years in obscurity.  The three years in public.  Enduring the ridicule, opposition, hatred and ultimate hostility of the religious establishment.  The violent beating He took.  The crown of thorns.  The mocking.  Spitting in His face.  The nails through His hands and feet.  The sword in His side.  The quaking earth.  The total darkness.  The Son of God executed like a common criminal.  Why?  God loved us…all of us.

In an age of squawking and squabbling, this is a much-needed message.  God loves you.  It is not followed by an “if” or a “but.”  It is simply a statement of fact.  Now, it is up to each of us as to how to respond to that.  The eternal benefits of that love are in Christ.  That is where all the blessings are (Ephesians 1:3).  What will we do with a God who loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son?