(Article for publication week of 9-7-2011 AD)
“Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3).
Love is a most misunderstood subject in our day, especially the love of God. Most people suppose that love is mere emotion, feeling, weakness, and sickly sentimentality. The Biblical concept of love, on the other hand is a commitment to treat others right, and that consistent with every other virtue. For instance, we read in Romans 13:10, “love is the fulfilling of the law.” To properly love, there must be a commitment to treat others according to the law of God.
This is an especially important truth as we take up the love of God. God’s love is perfectly consistent with all His other attributes. God’s love is consistent with His omnipotence, immutability, holiness, justice, wrath, mercy , grace, etc. So you need to get every humanistic idea about love out of your mind, especially regarding the love of God.
With that in mind, let us proceed to consider first of all, that God is sovereign in His love. Our text says, I have love thee.” Jehovah, the absolute sovereign of the universe made a determination in eternity to set His affections on His people. This is the fountainhead of salvation. In His sovereign love, God chose a people in Christ, and appointed Him as their Surety and Mediator and Covenant Head. Thus we see that God’s love was and is completely un-coerced. There was nothing in the creatures that could, or would have moved Him to set His affections upon them. As the poet has written, “what was there in you that could merit esteem, or give the Creator delight? ‘Twas even so Father you ever must sing, because it seemed good in Thy sight.” God loves His people simply because it is His good pleasure so to do.
Secondly, notice that God’s love is everlasting. “I have love thee with an everlasting love.” There was never a time when God did not love His people. As it says in Romans 8:29, we were foreknown by God. Nor will God’s love for His elect ever cease. God’s love for His elect did not cease when we fell in Adam and became polluted by sin. God commended His love toward us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8). Nor will God ever cease to love His people, for again, it is everlasting.
Thirdly, notice that God’s love is active. “With lovingkindness have I drawn thee. (I can’t help but notice that my computer has underlined ‘lovingkindness’. It is an unfeeling machine, but the souls of God’s people recognise this word, and love it!) God’s love was commended toward us in sending His coequal and eternal Son to die in our room and stead to put away our sins.
Finally notice that God’s love is efficacious. God draws His people to himself. So, we also read in I John 4:19, “ we love Him because He first loved us.” God draws His elect unto Himself by regeneration and effectual calling so that they come to Him most willingly, and love the One Who has been so merciful and gracious to them. Where there is no love for God, there has been no saving work by God. But when God works saving grace in a poor sinner’s soul, that sinner becomes a lover of God.
Thank the Lord for His sovereign, everlasting, efficacious love.