May 19, 2017 Words of Grace – How Has God Loved Us?
The love of God is often called into question. When natural disasters occur, we ask how God allows this to happen. When an evil person harms innocent people we wonder where God is. Our depression can easily be interpreted to mean that God has abandoned us. There are so many opportunities for us to ask if God really loves us.
One way to come to terms with God’s love for us is to hear the Bible’s message of how God has loved us. To see that God loves us today we need to see how God has loved us in the past. The one great event in history that shows us how God has loved us is the cross of his Son, Jesus Christ.
God has shown his love for us by sending his Son to the cross. There, the Son took on himself the wrath of God toward us for our sin. By enduring this punishment for sin in our place, he removed sin’s guilt and condemnation from us. With guilt removed, Christ restored us to a right relationship with God.
By grace Christ took our wrath, removed our guilt, and restored our standing with God. Faith is the humble acknowledgement of our sin, repentance of our rebellion against God, trust in the death of Christ for forgiveness, and resolve to follow him as Lord. Love is the attribute of God’s nature that moved him to save us by grace through faith.
The cross of Jesus Christ is how God has loved us. Because God loved us there, we can be sure he loves us here, right where we are.
How often do we think on the cross of Christ? Probably not often enough. The cross seems distant because it happened so long ago, and we naturally want to focus on the future. The cross seems sad and morbid, and we would rather think happy thoughts. But probably the main reason we don’t often think of the cross of Christ is because we are too spiritually undiscerning and insensitive to see the great love of God in it.
To know God’s love, the Spirit of God must make us alive to it. And, we must make it a practice to ponder and pray over the accomplishment of the death of Jesus on our behalf. Wrath endured, guilt removed, and favor restored by Christ on the cross is how God has loved us, and how we know he loves us still.
Let me recommend three simple practices for focusing on how God has loved you, and how you can remember that he still loves you. First, begin your day with a focused time of prayer centered on the cross of Christ. Pray as King David did, “Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for I am trusting in you” (Psalm 143:8). Second, take your thoughts of guilt, fear, isolation, joy, and gladness to that place where God has made known his love for you. Be creative in making the connection of all things to the cross. Third, look for ways in conversations with others to speak of the cross love of Christ.
Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and ears to the message of how God has loved us in Christ. And let us push ourselves mentally to see and hear the love of God as we read and sing of the cross this coming Lord’s Day at Grace Community Church.