Friday, August 6, 2010

We need God's love and God provides it to us.

5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:5-11)
Millions of tax dollars has confirmed through research what good parents have long known through common sense. From failure to thrive of infants deprived of physical nurture, to higher incidence of unwed pregnancies and divorce for children from broken homes, the connection is clear. All things being equal, apart from the intervention of the grace of God, all of us know that for a human being to grow to a full emotional and interpersonal maturity, the stability of a loving and disciplined home is an indispensable ingredient.

The same thing is true in the spiritual arena. To be sure of the love of his or her parents is almost indispensable to the healthy emotional development of a child. To be sure of God's love brings even richer blessings. It is the major secret of joy, peace, freedom, confidence and self-respect.

This is also the major path of healing for those of us who were deprived of healthy love in our families of origin, or who are having to raise children in broken homes. Many of us can testify how becoming sure of God's love has substantially healed deep wounds and mitigated the damage we pass on to our own children.
How can you know that God loves you? How can you become increasingly confident in his love so that you grow into the person he designed you to be? In Rom. 5:5-11, Paul discloses the two avenues through which God does this: one is a "demonstration" and the other is a "pouring out."
God "demonstrates" his love by sending Christ to die for us. Now according to the Bible, the essence of love is giving. And the degree of love is measured partly by the costliness of the gift to the giver, and partly by the unworthiness of the recipient. The greater the chasm between these two, the greater the demonstration of love.God gives his most precious gift, his own Son. The gulf between the preciousness of God's gift and our unworthiness is humanly inconceivable. Only a love way beyond our own would do such a thing. Yet this is exactly what God has done!
God "pours out" his love within our hearts through the Holy Spirit. But while this "pouring out" happens initially when you receive Christ, God wants it to be an ongoing shower on your soul. How does God's Spirit continue to pour out his love within our hearts? He opens our hearts to understand that Christ's death was not just some abstract gift that God gave to humanity in general, but that Christ died for each of us because God loves us. He takes passages and "brings them home" to our hearts so that they nourish our confidence in God's love and goodness.
We need both God's "demonstration" and his "pouring out" for healthy growth and development. Christians who focus only on the work of the cross and neglect the work of the Spirit become sterile. Christians who focus only on the work of the Spirit and neglect the work of the cross become unstable. We need to be anchored securely in the work of the cross and animated regularly by the work of the Spirit if we want stable and vital spiritual development.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

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