(Article for publication week of 10-5-2011 AD)
“We love Him, because He first loved us” (I John 4:19). It is a good thing that God first loved us, for none of us loved God by nature. By nature every one is a hater of God (Romans 1:30), not a lover of God. So dear reader, if you truly love God, it was because He first loved you.
God loved us when we were yet in our sins (Romans 5:8), and most unlovable. This is an amazing thing! That God should ever have loved any of Adam’s fallen race. We were all His sworn enemies, and at enmity with Him, yet He loved us and gave His Son to die for our sins that we might be justified in His holy sight.
God loved us when we did not even have a being in ourselves. God loved His people before they even existed, for we read in Jeremiah 31:3 that God loved us with an everlasting love. In vast eternity past God set His affections on His people and chose them in His Son. There never was a time when God did not love His people. God in His great sovereignty willed to love a people and save them with an everlasting salvation. It was His sovereign will that His coequal and eternal Son, the Lord Jesus Christ would be their surety and assume all their obligations and provide a perfect righteousness for them.
Now since, God loved us when we were yet sinners, and since He loved us before we loved Him, and since He loved us from before the foundation of the world, He will never cease to love us. Nothing can ever separate one loved by the Lord from His everlasting love. Remember God is unchangeable (Malachi 3:6). Having loved the believer from eternity, His love will never change, nor cease. This is the reason that it is impossible for one that is genuinely saved to ever lose his salvation, because God loved us first, and that from eternity. Perish the thought that one loved with an everlasting love could ever be lost! Now , if the Bible had said, “God loves us because we first loved Him”, then we might understand that a fickle man might change in his love for God, and thereby God cease to love him. But thank God, that is not what the Bible says! It says “we love Him because He first loved us”!
Notice carefully also that our text says that the very reason the believer loves God is because God first loved the believer. God’s love was the moving Cause of Christ making an atonement for us. And God’s love was the moving cause of Him sending His Spirit into our hearts to regenerate us and make us new creatures in Christ. Romans 5:5 says that His love has been shed abroad in the believer’s heart. When that love is shed abroad in the elect sinner’s heart, that sinner begins to love God. That sinner loves God in His Tri-Personality. That sinner loves all the attributes of God as they are discovered in the Bible. That sinner comes to love God’s law and His gospel.
Dear reader, do you love God? Well mark it down, it is because He first loved you! You would not, nor could not love God had He not put that in you by regeneration. False professors may imitate some Christian virtues, but be sure, no unconverted person can or will love God. Thank the Lord for His efficacious love!
I am really enjoying writing this series of articles on the attributes of God. If you would like to study more beyond the limits of these brief articles, I want to give you absolutely free a small booklet, “The Attributes of God” by A.W. Pink. Just call me or email this week and I will see that you get one.