Understanding God’s Love
I would ask the reader to bear with me as I share an anecdote foundational to the discussion of the love of God which follows. One warm spring Sunday or Wednesday evening after church at the Holmes Road church of Christ in Lansing, Michigan back in the mid 1990’s I lingered in the parking lot with one of the leading men of the congregation haranguing him with a diatribe about how the love of God was clearly evident within the biblical narrative, within the accounts of blood and guts and torture, sex, war and calamity in the Old Testament history and particularly in the Minor Prophets. The love of God jumps off the pages of the Minor Prophets when their message is laid over the Old Testament history into which they spoke. I was so in love with God and impressed with His love for mankind that I went on and on pressing my sense of urgency that this text needed to be understood in this way by Christians everywhere. He listened patiently and in the course of time our conversation ended and we collected our families to drive home. The love of God, or the hand of God or the Spirit of God, I do not know the mechanics of the experience but God enveloped me before I got out of the parking lot. His love was palpable. It was both inside me and encompassing me. In that state of divine possession I felt the love of God in a mode of expression where the Spirit touched and communed with my inner man. In that contact a word, a conclusion, a revelation of a deep truth about God came into my heart and mind. I realized, I spiritually intuited that God Himself is dependent upon the self-discipline, the force of the full construct of eternal character that is unbreakable and genuinely and supremely loving and affectionate. In that moment of immersion in God’s love a message was conveyed to me. He made me understand His own eternal viability as He exists unto Himself rests upon the strength of His character which rests upon a love nature so intense and so powerful it constrains God upholding and preserving His eternal being. God loves so intensely that His love enforces the continuity of character which makes Him unbreakably eternally viable. That God exists as God, exists unto Himself eternally is only possible because of His loving character.
When we Christians consider biblical law, we usually do so merely intellectually without realizing the deeper spiritual reality underlying legal and moral principles. We tend to live superficially moral lives rather than sublimely spiritual lives. This is why Paul tells us in 1st Corinthians chapter 13 that if we give our bodies to be burned but do not have love it profits us nothing. Moral conformity can be granted, can be performed in wrath and bitterness. Wrath and bitterness as a state is not eternally viable. Law is perfect in content but inadequate to a living way. Jesus fulfilled the law but He exceeded the letter of the law in the fullness of deity living life as a man. Christians do well to grapple with law as they work out their salvation. However, as Paul wrote in Galatians, those who are led by the Spirit are no longer under the law. Spiritual life is not immoral or amoral. Spiritual life is supramoral.
Above, in this writing I have attempted to put into words a description of God’s love realizing that it really can only be understood as a product of spiritual discernment. It is my hope that by sharing this attempt to describe God’s love others may be so blessed as to be touched by God in this way. I believe this is meant to be part of the normal human spiritual experience. When Jesus was being crucified, even as nails were being driven into his hands and feet He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” His ability to react to being tortured to death in this way is a manifestation of the love of God which I have attempted herein to describe. I would that all people everywhere would come to know God and Christ and the Spirit of God in this way. I felt that the readers of my blog topic, “Hesed, Agape and Love” might be the more blessed with this more fully revealed discussion of the love of God.
God handles massive themes in the unfolding for our lives. We are born, live for a time and die and God sees and knows this often difficult course of human life. Yet would we declare God unloving because we die, not if we understand the scope of His responsibilities and the enormity of the existential opportunity He grants us to live in both this life and the next. I marvel at the long suffering patience of God who has inscribed us upon the palms of His hands, by whom we are fearfully and wonderfully made. The administration of our lives by God is never trivial and we have every opportunity to pursue and understanding of Him, to pray to Him, to live abundantly within Him. It is an opportunity to be appreciated. I know many are born into dreadful circumstances. Yet I trust that God sees and knows and prescribes lovingkindness and justice according to His management of the great themes He handles here on earth.