This one is special to my heart!
“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jer 31:3). God cannot be otherwise than He is. All of our Father’s actions are perfectly free. His first act, as Paul tells us, was His purpose of the incarnation of His Son, and the next free act was His love for us, that we might be conformed to the image of His Son, and be blameless before Him in love.
Those of us who by the new birth have come into the family of faith, have learned something of the Father’s love for us, which has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Let us creep up to the shore of that infinite, shining ocean of Almighty and uncreated love, and find a kneeling place on the firm white sands of Scripture statements, and look far away over the gleaning waters, and by counting over the ways in which we are loved, seek to awaken in our own poor hearts a return of love up to our measure, with “the love wherewith God hath loved us.”
We cannot understand the feelings that a Creator must have toward a helpless creature, which by His fiat He has lifted out our His heart, and which He sustains every instant with a continual act of preservation, which must at every moment be equal to the act of creation itself.
With what fondness and tender endearments of affection, a Creator, whose very nature is love, must brood over the creature that has been fashioned out of the energy of His on Being. This is a species of love forever above the range of our experience, and that flows in the happy solitudes of the Creator’s heart. Just as the bright glancing waves on the sea extend far beyond the horizon which limits our vision, so our Father’s creative love for us stretches away beyond all our thoughts, all our feelings, all our analogies of imagination, and rolls in beautiful silver waves over the depths of the Divine nature, forever out of sight of our comprehension.
There is nothing scanty, or limited in His affection for His creatures, which He has made to show forth His glory. When He says, “We shall love Him with all our heart, mind and strength,” it is simply what He Himself is doing toward us. His love for us amounts to a Divine predilection, and possesses like a passion, all His Life and perfections. The Father’s love for us in more than mercy, more than wisdom, more than justice, more than knowledge, more than power, because it uses all of His attributes in the behalf of our creation, preservation, salvation and glorifications.
His love for us is so boundless, so incessant, so all-mastering, that everything else in heaven and earth must give place to it. To satisfy the Father’s love for us, His own dear Son must be surrendered, and incarnate, and pass through humiliation, and multiplied and most exquisite suffering and shame, unknown to any creator. The Spirit must be given, grace must be pushed with all speed, wisdom must be tapped to carry forward schemes of providence; the Lord Jesus wept, His Blood must flow, the Spirit must groan; all because the Father loves us so much, that all His perfections and attributes must be mustered on our behalf.
Our Father does not lump us in the gross, nor as atoms in a mass, all grouped together. He never loses us in the bulk of other creatures, but carries each and every one of us, with all that goes to make up our individual lives just as distinctly, and separately, and tenderly in His loving attention, as if we were the only one that He has to care for, with all the immensity of His Godhead.
Personality is the crowning fact of all the universe. Nothing is more precious to our Father, than the everlasting distinct personality of His own. He loves and prizes us in our individuality to such an extent, that He has filled us with ten thousand private marks, in our souls, bodies, lives and experiences that never will be duplicated in any other being. Billions of human beings, and never two alike.
Our Father knows us, and loves us in our individual personality (we’re not replaced with Christ but joined to Him—NC), and has so hedged us about with private marks, as never to confound us with anyone else, and has established a most vigilant and minute providence over each one of us, just as perfect as if He has no other one in existence to look after but just our separate persons. Added to all this, He has so fashioned us that we each have a deep secret world in our hearts of thoughts, loves and yearnings, into which no fellow creature can perfectly enter. Our Father is the only one who can go to the bottom of our inner beings, and know all the hidden chambers, and the only one who can meet all the requirements of our separate individual personality.
Right where human love has run its race, and broken down, fatigued and exhausted, the love of our Father comes up fresh and full, bounding and radiant, with a sweet cheerfulness, as if it had just begun. How our Father’s love, year after year, has followed us through the wilderness of wandering, over the wild mountains of wayward foolishness, and listened for our cry of help! There is nothing like the love of our Father! Why is that He loves us so, and that His love pursues us so constantly, right in the face of the thousands of wrongs and insults that we have given to it? It is because He created us out of love for us, and because He longs for our love in return.
It is impossible in the true sense, for our Father to ever owe us anything. On the other hand, we owe Him everything, for, “What have we that we did not receive” (1Co 4:7)? As little children give gifts to their fathers, with the very money which their fathers gave them, so the very love and worship that we give our heavenly Father are from the created capacities and grace that He first gives us.
Our Father loves us so well that He seems to invent excuses for blessing and rewarding us. Even a cup of cold water, given in His name is to have a reward (Mat 10:42). How easy is to think about Him, and yet Malachi tells us, that when the Lord Jesus comes to make up His jewels, there will be much reward for those “who thought upon God’s name” (Mal 3:16). So many times our Lord Jesus uses the word “great” in connection with coming rewards. So that for a few sufferings, for a few tears, for a few toils, which in reality are essential to our own welfare, He says “great is your reward in heaven” (Mat 5:12; Luk 6:23).
It looks as if our Father is beside Himself in love for us. Just see, out of His love He gave us this wonderful existence, and then gave us grace to repent, to believe, and to love Him in return; and out of His love He gave us the sanctifying Holy Spirit, to live and labor for Him; and then out of His love He contrives to reward us with honors and glories in the ages to come. He gives us the love to love Him with, and then rewards us for loving Him with His own love.
If we pondered these things, would not out hearts burn within us, with a fervent desire to love Him up to all our growing capacity?
— George Douglas Watson (1845-1924)
MJS daily devotional excerpt for Oct 28
“A believer may know that he is positionally free, and yet have to mourn the fact that his experience is that of a wretched captive. The freedom is so entirely in Christ Jesus, and the maintenance of the living union with Him is so distinctly and entirely the work of divine power, that it is only as we see that the Spirit dwells within us for this very purpose, and know how to accept and yield to His working it, that we can really stand in the liberty with which Christ has made us free.
““Have we not often sought, by earnest thought, to enter more deeply into the significance of the Cross? Have we not, as we got a glimpse of some aspect of its glory, gone from book to book to discover what it really means? Have not some given up hope that words like ‘I have been crucified with Christ,’ ‘the world is crucified to me,’ ‘baptized into His death,’ ‘dead unto sin and alive unto God in Christ Jesus’ should have become truly intelligible and helpful? Is not the reason of all this that we want to grasp the hidden wisdom of the Father with our mind alone, forgetting that the Holy Spirit intends to work it into the heart and inner life also?” –Andrew Murry (1828 – 1917)http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/