Sunday, January 24, 2016

God's love...based on who or what?

Does God love us based on who he is or on who we are?

If by who we are we mean what we do or don't do, no. This is not the grounds by which we are loved. Nothing we can or will ever do will cause God to love us.

As well, our doing (i.e. trying to gain God acceptance by our actions) is binding and enslaving since we never perform perfectly. Being loved regardless of our failures (in contrast to earning it) is freeing. 

If who we are (our identity) is based on what we do we will never do enough to gain what we need i.e. we can never do enough to earn God's love.

We need perfect and infinite love because we were designed to be loved perfectly and infinitely. We can never secure this for ourselves, through our efforts

The good news is we don't have to, Christ did this for us. Now as his children we are called to simply abide/be/dwell/ exist in this reality. 

Only as we abide in his love do we become loving. The more we abide the more loving we become.

Being leads to doing. Doing can never lead to being i.e. Being fully loved leads to being loving. Being loving never leads to being fully loved.

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing....As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love." - Jesus speaking to his disciples at the last supper. Joh 15:4-6,9

Is there anything about us that God loves? 

Yes there is, but it has nothing to do with our doing anything. It has everything to do with how God made us i.e. who we are...our being. (For more on this click here

We are in his image i.e. like God, and he loves this *about us. Why? Because only image bearers are we able to enter into and fully participate in the beatific love of the Father, Son and Spirit and reflect that infinite relational love back to him OR have God's kind of  love for his other beloved image bearers, along with the rest of His highly valued and beloved creation. 

(Let us remember that after each act/day of creation God said it was good. And when he finally created mankind (male and female), the crown of his creation, he said it was all very good).

So going back to the original question on whether God loves us because of who he is or who we are, both are true. But the latter is based on and springs out of the former. So in this sense God loves us because of who God is first and foremost.  Because there is infinite love between the Father, Son and Spirit, there is infinite love for us, His image bearers.

If God were not who he was first and had not made us the way we are there would be no love. No love within God first and therefore no love going out to all of creation. 

Everything is rooted in and grounded on God being Father, Son and Spirit in blissful and loving relationship from all eternity past. And we who have been created as his image bearers, are able to fully participate in this beatific union.

"And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent...
I made known to them your name, and I will continue (by His Spirit) to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them." - the very last words (verse 26) of Jesus during the last supper right before his arrest and crucifixionJoh 17:3, 26

* in fact both we and Christ are in the image of the Father. Christ is the eternal image and only begotten Son. [ Col 1:15; Php 2:6Heb 1:3 ] We are the created image and adopted sons and daughters in Christ. This is why Christ's is called our brother.

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Grace to you
Jim Deal