True or False: God is loving.

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The answer is “true”, but God does not love us like our grandparents do.  They love on you and better than that—they don’t have to raise you so your relationship with them remains like buddies.  I know grandparents who—without batting an eyelash—declare: “I love having grandchildren.  I can spoil them rotten and then give them back to their parents.”  God does not love us like a grandparent.

Nor does He love us like Santa Claus.  God doesn’t just sit up in heaven waiting to “bless you” with goodies and stuff you want.  He doesn’t do all this work for us for a pile of stale cookies and 1% milk.  We don’t give God wish lists.  God is not Santa Claus.

Now, there’s an upside to God not being Santa Claus as well: God doesn’t care how much money you do or don’t have like Santa Claus does—God won’t give you more just because you’re wealthy or less just because you’re poor.  Needless to say, God does not love us like Santa Claus.

So how does He love us?  How can we find some way to understand His love?  In our ongoing journey through the Gospel of John, we find ourselves at John 1:9-13.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

John 1:9-13
New International Version

The love of God is so much greater than we can imagine.  While our default position is to reject the Lord, He still sent His Son, Jesus, into the world.  Jesus chose to come and redeem us even while we were running away from Him.

As humans, we have a terminal disease.  This disease has been passed down generation to generation and no amount of medicine, psychology, wishful thinking, or crossing your fingers allows you to defeat this disease.  This deadly disease is called “sin”.  It has poisoned us and in time, it will kill us.  Eternally.  We may manage to hold off its effects for a few decades but sooner or later, we will all succumb to the disease of sin.

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But Jesus offers a solution to this eternal death: eternal life.

John reminds us this life is not a life like what we experience here on earth.  When we are born into God’s forever family, we are not reborn as physical infants, but are born of God nonetheless.  In other words, John is reminding us this is completely an act of God—an act of grace.

This deliverance from death into life is not of “human decision or a husband’s will”—there is NOTHING we can do to save ourselves.  Even as we reach out to claim the cure to our terminal disease of sin, remember, it was still the Lord reaching out to you letting you know He was there in the first place.

The gift of eternal life that illuminates our dark hearts is the ultimate expression of the love of God because it cost the life of Jesus to secure it.  Give thanks and praise to the Lord for loving you like that!