Torchbearers for Christ
Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Probably the best known and most loved verse in the Bible is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”. Many beautiful truths are contained in this verse. The first is that God loves every human being.  He is clearly a personal God, a caring God, with feelings and emotions. This love, we are told, moved Him to action, in that He gave His only Son to die for our sins. This love is not something that we deserve, rather the reverse. It is an undeserved love. Nor is it a love that can change as can human love. It is described as an everlasting love. It is a love that cannot be earned. Regardless of how men and women treat God, His love towards them is the same; it is unconditional. In Luke 6:35 God is described as being kind to the unthankful and the unholy. 
In Ephesians 3:18 Paul prayed that the believers might understand the breadth, the length, the depth and the height of God’s love. So God’s love has four dimensions, each of which can be found in John 3:16.
We learn first that God’s love is broad, embracing everyone, regardless of race, age or occupation.   Jesus is the Saviour of “all men, every kindred, tongue, tribe and nation”. John the Baptist described Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”. He is also described as the “friend of sinners” and John 3:17 tells us that “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved”.
We look next at the length of God’s love. To what lengths did God go in expressing His love? He sent His Son to be our Saviour. The cost to God was immense. He permitted His Son to suffer unspeakable pain in order to save sinners. Isaiah 53:6 tells us that “The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all”. He permitted Jesus to be despised and rejected by men and then nailed to a cross, bearing our sins in His own body. Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”.  But God’s love extends to those who hated Him and His Son. We read in Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. In 1 John 4:10 we are told, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be an atoning sacrifice for our sins”.
What do we know about the depths of God’s love? To what depths does God’s love reach? It descends to the depths of human need. There is hope for all men in Christ. Regardless of the shameful depths to which men may have descended, God’s love can reach and transform them.
Finally, the heights of God’s love. God can raise men from a horrible pit to a heavenly place (Psalm 40:2). A lovely verse in 1 Samuel 2:8 reads “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the rubbish heap; He sets him with princes and makes them inherit a throne of glory”.
God’s love calls for a response.  Men can reject God’s love to their eternal loss.   We read in 2 Peter 3:9 “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.   John 5:24 contains a rich promise. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life”.  
Friend, what is your response to HIS Love?
This article was written by Pastor Geoffrey Davies. He is a frequent contributor to this column. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he pastored a church for over twenty-five years.  For many years, he has travelled widely, continuing his ministry of encouragement and Bible teaching.