Tag Archives: Love

Always Tell a Child Jesus Came to Heal the Broken Hearted

This is the other side of Never Tell a Child They Are Personally Worth the Sacrifice Jesus Made.

The side I seem perfectly incapable of articulating. So much so I actually need someone else to write it to get it right.

The person who knows my blind spots inside and out. And protects me against their dangers like a champ.

See, I knew yesterday’s post deserved a balanced treatment. I was just exploring a fraction of God’s majesty. Tinkering with but a fragment of the whole counsel of God.

So not long after I published it I began to nurture today’s post in my mind. To toy with text like  and an idea about “self-worth” versus “God worth.”

Then my wife commented. And wrote the post for me. So much better than I ever could have.

Here is an excerpt:

Maybe it isn’t our job to bolster self-esteem (and maybe it is), but it is certainly our job to point to the One who desires to bind up those hurts enough to allow a person to love others AS he LOVES himself. We don’t want to be too glib about the deep hurts that abuse cause. Christ obviously wasn’t. He came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free. If abused children aren’t counted among the brokenhearted and the captives, I can’t imagine who is.

Read the whole thing here.

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Never Tell a Child They Are Personally Worth the Sacrifice Jesus Made

True, I’m a curmudgeon. But this is a gospel-backed rant.

Most contemporary Christian songs make God out to be a supernatural soccer mom. It’s the kind of stuff you hear at high school rallies.

Why this slant in the  modern church? Because everything else in our culture makes much of us.

Advertisements. Movies. Psychology. Self esteem is a dog that can hunt.

Just the other day someone asked me how I expected children who have experienced abuse and depression to deal with feelings of worthlessness if we don’t bolster their self-esteem?

Could we really expect them to live the abundant life in Jesus Christ if they didn’t know they were personally worth the sacrifice Jesus made?

Great questions. Here’s my reply.

The Gospel Is about God Loving a Worthless People

I’d start with . “We love him because he first loved us.”

Then I would tell them that we are all corrupt. Sinners. Liars. Thieves. Adulterers–emotionally, physically and spiritually.

So by our very natures we can not love God. Because we don’t want God. So God loves us, which sows the seed of love for him in us.

I would also tell them that God is patient–long-suffering.

He endures with “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory” (), and wishes none would perish.

Yet, there is a point in which his mercy will end. It may be his unsurpassable attribute, but it is not his inexhaustible one.

For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.

So I would tell my children not to drag their feet. Never put off repentance and surrender to another day.

Hell is a reality that you should never hide from your child.

The Gospel Transforms Worthless People

Futhermore, I would never tell a child that they were personally worth the sacrifice that Jesus made for them. That is to take the prerogative away from God, and to suggest that there is something in us worth saving.

and squashes that idea.

Think about it: God didn’t choose the Israelites to possess the land for their inherent worth. In fact, he chose them in spite of their stiff-necked ways.

He could have chose any nation. For some reason he chose the Israelites.

Think about what who had five husbands. Normal people don’t have five husbands. We can speculate she grew up in abuse. We can speculate she loathed herself.

But he didn’t tell her she was loved by God or a special person. He pointed her to the truth about her sin and about her savior.

And think about what he said to the woman caught in adultery. “Go, and sin no more.” Nothing about her shame or lack of self-worth. Just repent because God does not condemn you.

The Gospel Is Superior to Any Counselling Method

Sure, raising children and caring for those abused or depressed involves practical means like encouraging them and teaching them how to overcome depression…but NEVER at the expense of the gospel.

To do otherwise would only treat the symptom while ignoring the disease.

Besides, first century saints didn’t have our sophisticated counselling methods.

They didn’t need them.

Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” ().

So, in the end, I would expect children who have experienced abuse or depression to enjoy the abundant life in Jesus Christ in the same way that we all enjoy it. Through the gospel.

Here’s What I’m Not Saying

Using strong language will obviously provoke some people to believe that I think humans are no different from animals.

That’s far from the truth.

Humans are distinct from animals in at least 10 ways–but the most important differentiation is that we bear the mark of God.

We are creatures created to bring glory to God through our grace-affirming subjugation of the earth by the gospel. But that worth is an alien worth–imputed to us from our Creator.

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God Is Not a Supernatural Soccer Mom Who Will Do Anything to See You Reach Your Potential

(Editor’s note: Formerly a Facebook post. . If you’re in to that an all.)

I hate songs that make much of me at the expense of God. Songs that tell me I’m special. Significant. That God loves me.

True, he loves me. He loves himself more.

And he’s not some supernatural soccer mom who wants nothing more than to see me reach my potential…willing to do anything to make that happen.

All is for HIS glory. Not mine. We must decrease. He must increase.

We are mere pawns who get to enjoy the privilege of participating in his redemption project. A project that makes much of God.

Not us. That’s the lesson the Bible teaches .

Besides, this idea that I’m special has been imported into Christianity from the U.S.’s addiction to self esteem. Shouldn’t we be informing the culture rather than the culture informing us?

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Frustrated with Your Pastor? Pray Like This

One of the better lessons I learned from the book was to pray that God would make your wife the model of beauty.

An apt prayer in a culture steeped in the cult of self-image and supermodels.

The point behind Gary Thomas’ statement is two-fold: one, to steer us away from the temptation to compare our wives to a cover of a Cosmopolitan;  two, to cultivate our sense of beauty on our wives–and not the other way around.

The same principle can be applied to how we view our pastors and preaching.

The Cult of the Superstar Pastor

With easy access to sermons online, and the subsequent rise of superstar preachers like , ,  and , we can easily slip into a pattern of frustration and disappointment with our very own pastors.

You might find yourself making statements like this:

“Why doesn’t he preach the gospel like Chandler?”

“He’s good–but he’s no Driscoll.”

“Mark Dever would never do that.”

Just like with supermodels and celebrities, what we don’t see is the dirty side of these pastors’ lives. We typically only see their most polished work. The stuff that is photoshopped so to speak.

Pray Like This for Your Pastor

Here’s what you need to do if you find yourself frustrated with your pastor: pray that God will make your pastor and his preaching the standard by which all preaching is to be judged.

Just like in a marriage you have to live with this man on a weekly–if not daily–basis. That means you have a commitment to support him. And the best way to do that is to pray for him. Praying for his preaching is a great place to start.

Then you need to repent. Repent for being critical, impatient and self-absorbed. Most of our frustration with our pastors lies in the fact that our needs are not being met.

It’s not the pastors job to meet your needs. His job is to faithfully preach the gospel.

Now, this isn’t a one-way street. You should expect from your pastor a faithful preaching of the whole counsel of God. If he’s not doing that then address it with him. Simply approach him and make your case.

And never gossip. Then you’ll just be a hypocrite.

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What the Song of Solomon Really Means


The sexually-charged language of Song of Songs [or Song of Solomon] makes it a provocative read…

But one wonders if it actually makes a major theological contribution to Judaism or Christianity.

In fact, one wonders why it’s even in the Old Testament…why it’s even in the canon at all.

I mean, what was the original author or editor hoping to communicate to his reader?

And what about the fact that there’s no mention of God. Isn’t that problematic?

Well, no. Not really. Not after you see that this short, but potent celebration of intimacy between husband and wife sheds light on our own relationship with God. It’s a good lesson to learn.

Common Approaches to Song of Songs

Some pastors would have you think Songs is a manual to a smokin’ hot marriage…

While others would want you to see it as a allegorical narrative of God’s relationship with the Israelites.

Still others suggest it’s a typological story–one  in which the groom plays Christ and the bride plays the church.

These three interpretative strategies are the literal, allegorical and typological approaches.

The allegorical grew out of the embarrassment over the erotic details found in the text [the very same details the sex-crazed literalists exemplified]. Take the explicit mention of two breasts in for example:

Your two breasts are like two fawns,
twins of a gazelle,
that graze among the lilies.

Some Christian interpreters argued the two breasts were the two testaments–spiritually nourishing the church…

Another view suggested the breasts reflected the dual command to love God and neighbor…

And a third view believed the breasts represented Mount Ebal and Mount Gerazim. [Keep your comments to yourself.]

Another good example of allegorical interpretation born out of timid temperaments is the the sachet of myrrh lodged between the two breasts. Some early scholars said it was Christ who spans the two testaments.

Then there’s the graphic, : “I came down to the walnut grove / to see the blossoms of the valley,” said the woman.

If you blushed, then you know why some early church fathers went to interpretive extremes to suggest alternative meanings, like the hard outer layer of the walnut is the Mosaic Law–and the nutritious center is Jesus Christ.

But this is fellatio, folks. Plain and simple.

To be honest, you wonder what’s more embarrassing: the topic of oral sex or a scholar’s theological interpretation of that act. Let’s keep digging.

The Problem with Allegorical Interpretations

The problem with interpreting Songs allegorically is that the text simply doesn’t hint at a deeper meaning.

I mean why take the breasts to be the OT and NT? Two mountains? Two commands of God?

The text simply doesn’t support any of those arguments.

But if Songs is NOT an allegorical love story between God and his people or Christians and Jesus–then what is it?

We found part of our answer in the discovery of unique ancient Near-Eastern documents found in the 19th century.

What these specific documents taught us is that Songs is from the exact same genre–love poems. More precisely, matrimonial love poems.

That makes Songs a collection of matrimonial love poems. Songs sung at weddings.

Scholars are divided on how many actual love poems make up Songs. But that’s not really important. What’s important is uncovering the theological contribution Songs makes to the canon…

And this is where it gets good.

The Essential Meaning Behind Songs

The text itself gives us many clues. And whether there are three or thirty poems, the Song’s primary importance relates to love and, no surprise here, sexuality–something near-and-dear to our humanity.

See, what Songs defines is a love that is mutual, exclusive, total and beautiful. And in many ways Songs is an expansion of : “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

In frank but beautiful language, this tiny little book praises mutual, intense love, culminating in this robust, evocative statement:

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the Lord.

What we see here is an expression of love that transcends this earth and is deeply emotional–as God intended between husband and wife.

What God-Ordained Marriage Looks Like

Contrast this with the ephemeral, capricious and shallow character of contemporary love and you see God’s vision for marriage involves a volitional, muscular emotion that has a singular and solitary intent to honor the object of it’s affections.

And this is exactly the way God wanted it when he created man and woman in Eden. When you comprehend that the allusions to the garden in Songs are allusions to Eden, then the meaning behind Songs becomes immediately apparent…

The implication is that before sin, man and woman stood bare, unashamed, in front of each other. Now, we sense an intimacy since lost.

Song of Songs then is about the redemption of sexuality. A return to the God-ordained concept of marriage, a concept illustrated throughout Scripture to help us understand the relationship between God and his people.

In the OT, marriage is used negatively to shed light on Israel’s betrayal and unfaithfulness. In the NT, marriage is compared to our union with Christ–a union climaxing [no pun intended] at the end of time with a wedding feast.

Here on earth we get to enjoy the splendid privilege of experiencing the union of man and woman as one flesh, a profound mystery  between Christ and his church.

In other words, the better our marriages–the more they reflect the glory of God. And I think that’s pretty sexy. You?

Death Lessons: What You Can Learn When Someone Dies

Where I write about the lessons I learned from the death of a distant uncle.

Seventy years from now more than likely you will be dead.

Don’t worry: So will I.

Some of us will die earlier than others [before we reach fifty].

Some will live longer [well after we turn ninety].

See, as humans, we all share this in common–death.

But we also share something else: When we are dead all of the things in our head–our thoughts, dreams, ideas, feelings–will be gone from this earth…

Lost forever to this world. And the people we leave behind.

Why the Morbid Mood?

Yesterday I learned about the death of a distant uncle. A man who I hadn’t seen in twenty years, but for good reasons meant a lot to me.

During a brief time of vulnerability, he took me, my mother and sister into his fold. But during that brief time he taught me how to work hard, hunt and think.

He even gave me a beautiful rifle.

Unfortunately, after a short period of time we parted ways and I never spoke to him again.

I regret that.

And so this morning I found myself a bit tired, wistful and nostalgic. A wee bit indifferent to the world but profoundly interested in hugging my children and embracing my wife.

It’s a classic introvert defense to news heavy on the death of people close to you.

Furthermore, streaming through my thoughts this whole time is an acute sense of our mortality–and the selfishness of living in one’s own head…an introvert’s favorite place to be.

12 Lessons We Can Learn from the Death of a Loved One

So in order to combat that, here are some reflections–commands, really–on how to indulge in the little time we have left in this world–whether you are an extrovert or introvert–and make the most of the time you have with your people.

It applies to us all. Enjoy.

Talk. Nurture deep conversations with meaningful people like your spouse, children, best friends and neighbors. Do this relentlessly.

Journal. Record your thoughts, feelings and ideas. Document tough questions. Sketch out your answers. The point: Be liberal so people can learn something about you when you die.

Pray. Nurture a deep, never-ending conversation with God. Pour out your soul to Him. Ask him for help. Plead with him to teach you how to be more like Christ.

Confess. Shed secret sin by rehearsing the gospel daily, pleading with God for forgiveness and asking an exclusive set of godly men and woman to hold you accountable.

Blog. Share your thoughts, feelings and ideas with a wider audience. Or keep it private and simply share it with family you are geographically separated from.

Contemplate. Think about your past. Evaluate your present. Plan your future. And once you contemplate, share it with others–in a conversation, on a blog or in your journal.

Write. Lubricate lines of communication with a regular letter or email. For times when you can’t pick up the phone or sit down in front of someone. Do this daily.

Slow Down. Resist invitations to do more. Simplify. Enjoy life. Enjoy your spouse. Your friends. Your children. Your home. Your car. The path through the woods. The lake. The clouds. The cross of Christ.

Create. Take those thoughts and ideas and give them life. Write songs. Sculpt statues. Paint portraits. Design cartoons. Build houses.

Play. Go sledding or fishing. Rock climbing or wind surfing. Teach your son to throw a ball. Twirl with your daughter in the den. Uncork a bottle of wine with your wife and watch her trounce you in a game of Scrabble.

Obey. Do when the Holy Spirit nudges. Don’t hesitate. Call that friend. Skip work and run away with your children to the beach. Visit that dying uncle. Share the gospel with a shop clerk.

Love. Grieve with the suffering. Laugh with the jubilant. Talk with the lonely. Listen to the gregarious. Give to the earthquake-shattered. Evangelize the hostile.

As you can probably tell, when I say indulge, I’m speaking about pouring yourself out for others. Giving away EVERYTHING in you to those you love AND to those you don’t love…

To those you know–and to those you don’t know. What you want is to say at the end of your life you held nothing back.

See, it’s worth forcing ourselves outside of our shelters [skulls, homes, churches, nations] and subduing the earth in Christ and for Christ.

Not only is it a biblical mandate, but it also provides for a rich, meaningful life. One that is perilously short.

Don’t waste it.

Why Creative People Frighten Me

It all started with an image of  posing in an ad on .

It wasn’t so much that he was posing–but that look he had on his face…

And his body posture.

At first blush, innocuous. Bland. Marginally detached.

Nothing to cause alarm or concern. It’s just a photograph promoting .

But the thing got under my skin. In a low-grade BAD way. For days even.

The thing is, I couldn’t really put my finger on why it bothered me so much. It just made me go–ick.

And it wasn’t a dislike for Whittaker or his music. I knew that much. No, it went to the core of something else.

Something deeper. In my own being. Or our culture’s soul. Or both. I just didn’t know until the mystery started to unfold.

Disturbing Photographs of Disturbed Poets

I have a book on my shelf called .

It’s a slim anthology on Theodore Roethke, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, John Berryman, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Allen Ginsberg and James Merrill–poets who characterize the 20th century’s “second brilliant generation.”

[…the first generation being Whitman, Dickinson, Frost, Hughes,Stevens, and Williams…]

On the cover–as you might suspect–are photographs of each poet…all of them, except Ginsberg, staring at you.

It’s disturbing on many levels.

First, human eyes staring at you are strange things indeed. Photographs of human eyes staring at you even more odd. Photographs of eyes staring at you that belong to dead people–haunting.

But photographs of human eyes staring at you that belonged to dead people who, when alive, led very creative, but disturbed lives takes the cake.

These are such photographs. And it doesn’t help that I’ve got history with these poets. Let me explain.

The Powerful Impact of Disturbed Poets

Long ago as a moody, half-cocked young poet I fell for Sylvia Plath. Adored Anne Sexton. Admired James Merrill. Cherished Theodore Roethke. Envied Robert Lowell. And idolized John Berryman.

The only poet who I spurned was Allen Ginsberg and that was due to his pedophilic tendencies.

But the others I’d canonized. Bizarre since these poets lived and died tragic lives.

Three of the poets killed themselves–Plath, Berryman and Sexton.

Lowell made a career out of writing candid poetry about his multiple mental hospitals admissions.

Bishop lived the life of a recluse with her lover in South America.

Theodore Roethke endured crippling episodes of depression.

And James Merrill, who painted a candid portrait of gay life in the early 1950s, lived modestly despite great personal wealth and eventually died in Arizona from AIDS complications.

You wonder why I–or anyone for that matter–invested so much hope and emotional capital into such people.

But here’s the deal: These troubling writers powerfully shaped my mind. And drug me to dark places I’d rather not go. Which brings us back to Whittaker.

What Does This Have to Do with Carlos Whittaker?

When it comes to romantic poetry and rock n roll both are at their best when they come from emotionally raw places says Craig Schuftan in his book 

Take the former Smashing Pumpkins front man , for example. He said, ”And the more intense it was, the better, and we would probably have to suffer for that.”

Then there’s the British romantic poet George Gordon Byron who said about –perhaps his best poem–”I was truly mad during its composition.”

[Note: Before Byron the notion that you had to suffer to create great art seemed ridiculous.]

Unfortunately, this notion is leaching into the Christian culture. Whittaker is but a mild example.

So my question to you is this: Is this the least bit healthy–regardless if you are a Christian or not? Furthermore, does it belong in the Christian community?

Or is this just anonther example of our incumbent narcissism rearing it’s ugly head and placing the focus on us rather than Christ?

Understand: I am one of those creative people. And I have a bent for suffering. But I’m not sure the focus should be placed on me or my pain.

I’m also reminded of Keith Green performing beneath his piano so people would focus on God and not him.

My irredeemable love of obscurity likes that. A lot.

So what do you think: Is this a zero-sum game? Or can we strike a balance? I look forward to your thoughts. Brutal and all.

45 Miles on Foot and All I Get Are These Lousy Epiphanies?


Actually, the epiphanies aren’t lousy.

I’m just smarting over the low-grade but ruthless abuse I took to get them.

Yet I have no one to blame but myself.

I chose to hike 45 miles through the Smokey Mountains in 3 days.

Why? Because I love to hike. I love a ridiculous challenge. And I love hanging out with my friends.

The epiphanies, on the other hand, I credit to God. So, here are some lessons learned, thoughts stewed over and questions asked.

Never Trust a Downhill Hiker

Here’s the deal: Hiking etiquette demands downhill hikers yield to uphill hikers. This creates the perfect opportunity for uphill hikers to ask “How far to the top?”–the perennial question on every uphill hiker’s mind.

The answers always vary. “Half a mile. Half an hour. Fifteen minutes. You’re almost there.” The truth is, they don’t know what they’re talking about. Their sense of distance varies widely from yours. I eventually stopped asking.

Irreducible Complexity Remains Evolutions Biggest Stumbling Block

Hardly surprising that hanging out on the backbone of the Smokies drives me to think about evolution. Principle questions that I want answers to: Evolution posits that we have an instinct to survive, to reproduce. What is the origin of those instincts? What was it before complex organisms? What are the odds that organisms can survive the transition from cell division to one sex organisms to two sex organisms?

Swarms of Flies Sound Like Talking Humans

Don’t know why, but on certain stretches of the Appalachian Trail hordes of flies buzzed. Freaky, because you’re expecting to run into hikers but find yourself surrounded by tiny black winged insects.

Then, when you actually do hear humans talking, you’re not sure it’s not the flies. I can see why some people go AWOL on the Appalachian.

Ibuprofen Is a Good Over-the-Counter Drug

Thudding mile after mile up and down steep hills works ugly magic on your knees, joints, hips and head. Eventually the monotonous pounding deadens your motivation to keep hiking. Pop four ibuprofen, though, and a new, stout mad man emerges to finish the days hike.

Brotherly Love Ranks High on Pleasures of the Christian Life

I adore the unity of Christian brothers. The fellowship. The discussion. The accountability. The corporate worship around a camp fire. Brotherly love is evidence of God’s grace. And it is a means of grace I cherish deeply. Second only to marriage.

Stop Telling Unregenerate Sinners That God Loves Them

I’m guessing I mulled over this because of a few comments I’ve recently received that carried a tone of God’s unconditional love for sinners.

Yes,  does say that God so loved the world. And he . But  says that unbelievers remain under the wrath of God. And  declares that God’s anger falls upon the intentionally wicked. Nothing can deliver us from this predicament except Christ. Therefore, God’s love for unregenerate sinners IS conditional. It cost something. Dearly.

Here’s what I’m not saying: God relishes sending condemned people to hell. Jesus, in fact, . Paul said he’d  for the sake of his brothers. But neither skirted the issue of God’s justice. God’s love begins and ends with the cross of Christ, not the sinner.

Bears DO Fall Out of Trees

Less than four miles to go and I heard something scrambling in the tall trees. Not uncommon with chipmunks everywhere. Yet I looked up and saw a black bear–maybe 150 pounds–plummet 30 feet to the ground. He immediately charged downhill, crashing through brush and disappeared. I think I spooked him.

Forgot What I Looked Like

No mirror, no see self. For three days. Bizarre. But does that mean I bring a mirror next time? No. I quite like the absence of concern for self.

By the way, the image is a photograph of  under construction back in the 40s. Our hike ended on top of the dam. We started at . Total distance: 45 miles. Read more about the .

A Crude, Skeptical Curmudgeon Looks at God’s Love


Love is one of God’s best known attributes. It’s also one of the least understood. And most abused.

**Part of The Nature of God series.**

Love is one of God’s best known attributes. It’s also one of the least understood.

And most abused.

What we do know is His love is flawless, strong as death.

It never fails. It disciplines. It casts out fear.

And it demands something in return most of us–including me–are not willing to give.

The First Thing You Should Know About God’s Love

In his book , the 19th Century Danish philosopher,  wrote about three types of human experience: the aesthetic, the ethical and the religious.

It is the religious that Kierkegaard champions–the individual who transcends himself by loving God.

“He who loved himself became great in himself, and he who loved others became great through his devotion, but he who loved God became greater than all.”

Loving God, however, is a difficult thing. Especially for a cranky guy like me. [Or Kiergegaard for that matter.]

I eye any kind of love with sucpision. Cringe at the sappiest sermons. Grit my teeth when someone hugs me.

Furthermore, I hold grudges against my wife. I drop friends at the least sniff of rejection. I tell mom I love her when she’s nice to me.

Sound familiar?

Our love is flawed, defective, conditional. God’s however, is pure, perfect and unconditional. And it .

So, the first thing you should know about God’s love is that it’s nothing like our love. Thank God.

What Does ”God Is Love” Mean ?

What is God’s love like then?

When we say “” we mean that love is something true of God. Just like holiness, justice, faithfulness, wrath and mercy are true of God.

If we’re suggesting God is literally love, however, we’ve got a problem. Here’s what I mean.

God exercises wrath and mercy. But He’s not wrath or mercy.  To stress any one of these over another leads us down a path we shouldn’t go: idolatry. Bad stuff.

The truth is the love which he shows to humanity is a revelation of his own inner being. It’s who–not what–He is.

The Strange, Beautiful Quirk of God

So, why is God they way He is? Well, God’s love is boundless, unchanging and permanent because of the other things that are true about him.

For instance:

  • His love inclines Him to desire your everlasting welfare and His sovereignty enables him to secure it.
  • His love had no beginning because . He always loved you.
  • His love can have no end because .
  •  in his essence and He is love, so he is infinite in his love.
  • God is a personal god. But . He’s sufficient in himself.

Now, that last essence is a happy little trait of the free God–He loves us even though He doesn’t need us.

Why? Because He has allowed His heart to be attracted to man. He has allowed Himself to be emotionally identified with you and me–wretches. Crumedgeons. Cranks.

God’s Lust for Sinners

Of course, God’s love for us begs the question: why us? In the simplest terms, God loves us because he chose to love us.

See, He’s a personal God who, unlike Roman gods who lusted after women, lusts after sinners.

Who exactly are the objects of God’s love? Thinking people who’ve broken God’s law. People who are corrupt in God’s sight. And people who merit only condemnation and banishment from his presence.

We certainly didn’t do anything to . His love is a free gift, an impeccable demonstration of his power and sacrifice.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly…. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 

See, God’s love is an exercise of his goodness toward individual sinners. In fact, his death on the cross is the crowning proof of that reality.

What God’s Love Demands of Us

Remember: John the Apostle wrote that “God is love” to make an ethical point:

Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 

Therefore, our response to God’s love is to love others. That’s what we have to give back–even if we don’t want to.

Here’s the deal: When we’ve been born again, we will want to love our brothers. That’s one way to demonstrate you are a true Christian.

Why God Doesn’t Desire Every Man to Be Saved

Now, if God can accomplish whatever He desires because He is all-powerful, and if  and , then doesn’t it follow that God wishes all men to be saved?

No. Salvation involves participation. Either the free will is for or against God.

Those against God– is to reconcile with them–aren’t in a condition to repent. And God cannot force someone to freely love him.

Imagine  or  in heaven railing against God. What part of that seems realistic?

Can we still speak of God’s love toward Dawkins when Dawkin’s warped mind is encased in a glorified body?

It would be a prison to him and a hell to us.

An omnibenevolent God will only do what is moral. And it’s immoral to force moral beings against their will.

The Most Persuasive Argument for God

On the other hand, an all powerful, all loving God would eliminate evil. But there is evil. So either God is weak, malicious or entirely absent.

Most atheists, , opt for “entirely absent.”

But there is another alternative that reconciles the existence of evil with an omnipotent, omnibenevlent God: Evil will one day be defeated.

Since God is all knowing, He sees past, present and future now, and in His power he can predetermine to eliminate evil in the future.

When He does it is beyond knowing. We can only be .

In fact, it turns out that the problem of evil is in fact one of the more .


The love of God is free, unprovoked, uncaused. It is not an erratic, fickle thing, as my love is. Or yours. Nor is it mere impotent longing for things that may never be–like Kierkegaard’s.

We can .

In the end, His love demands we not only love Him, but we love each other as well. Sacrificially.

I can’t imagine what I would be like if not for God’s love. What about you?