23 Feb 2021
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son…” (John 3:16).
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God, and so we are….”(1 John 3:1).
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).
“So we have come to know and to believe the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16).
“We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
The above verses are just part of the wonderful truth revealed in the Bible that God is love, and God loves His created humanity and in particular, He loves His chosen people.
In the beginning, God displays His love for all humanity by providing a perfect and beautiful world for us. Beauty is not necessary for function, but God’s love went beyond the pragmatic. He created a beautiful world, and then created us to be attracted to that beauty. It is no wonder that when we behold God’s creation, we feel overwhelmed by the glorious beauty in it, and we often realise that in one sense, creation reflects the glory of God. Adam and Eve loved one another, but ultimately they were created to be attracted to God, the most beautiful person in their experience.
Unbelievably, Adam and Eve rejected God’s love when they decided to reject His Word. Their rejection however did not bring the story to an end; God excludes them from the garden, but He continues to love them. His excluding them from the garden and preventing them from re-entering the garden was also an expression of His love, for God did not desire them to continue to live forever in sin and to suffer the penalty of sin eternally. His love causes Him to plan a way back to Him for their descendants right from the beginning; He places enmity between them and their greatest enemy, the evil one who deceived them, but He continues to love them in the act of covering their shameful nakedness with clothes.
We must take note that God did not need to create anything. There is nothing necessary about this universe. The three Persons in the Godhead are perfectly relating in love, harmony and unity of the highest degree. God Himself is fully sufficient in Himself. He does not require our praise and He is perfectly satisfied and contented in Himself without the need for companionship or external input due to loneliness. God, in love and grace, however, chose to create everything, including man, so that His glory might be the joy and delight of others (Rev. 4:11). The creation of human beings was different from the rest of creation. Unlike the animals, people – that is, you and me – were created to reflect the very character and glory of God (Gen. 1:26). Our lives have been created and purposed to image, or reflect, the glory of God. All of life and history is about glorifying God.
We and the rest of creation exist for God’s glory; this may offend us, thinking that God is somewhat ‘megalomanic’, thinking only of His own glory. But when we understand that God freely created us for His glory, we finally realise that the story of creation is basically a love story. God did not have to create us, but He did. He did not have to create us as bearers of His image, but He did. And in doing so, He gave us a unique ability – the ability to take joy in the highest, most beautiful, most desirable thing imaginable, the glory of God. God created us such that we find our true happiness, joy and pleasure in praising Him, worshipping Him and giving Him all the glory; this is our greatest, highest good and this gives us the greatest and most desirable pleasure.
Seen from this perspective, and recognising that God is the creator and He desires our happiness and joy, our giving glory to God is in fact for our own happiness and good; there is nothing better or higher to love than the glory of God; there is nothing more beautiful to fall in love with than the glory of God! God, out of His love, created you and me to participate in His glory as image-bearers. Our own stories are swept up into the greatest love story that will ever be known, the story of the unending and unsurpassed glory of God.
We have seen in previous reflections that when we are ‘born again’, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, united with Christ, the triune God is pleased to dwell in us and we are invited to enter into the intimate relationship of the Trinity to share in what belongs to Christ alone; we are given the privilege and access to the inner circle of the triune God, to ‘bathe’ in His fellowship, enjoying His glorious presence and love, immersing in and sharing in His wondrous glory!
We will continue to consider this wonderful love story, God willing.