The love of God . . . that’s what I’m noodling on this morning.
Continuing my reading in John 16 as Jesus prepares His disciples for the worst night of their lives and the best day to follow. And in that preparation He continues to reveal to them the mystery of the relationship and the dynamic between God the Father and God the Son–a dynamic they will be able to participate in when they are indwelt by God the Spirit.
And in His final words Jesus talks of the love of God in a manner which grabs my attention, prompting me to chew on the question, “Is the love of God a cause or an effect?” To which I find myself answering, “Yes!”
” . . . for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God.” ~ Jesus
(John 16:27 ESV)
Was the disciples’ love for Christ the cause of the Father’s love for them? Or, was it the effect, their love for Christ being the evidence of God’s Father’s love for them? Did the Father love them dearly because they loved His Son? Or, because they loved His Son, is that how they knew the extent of God’s love for them?
There could be no loving Christ apart from God first loving the world and sending His Son. No way that those dead in trespass and sin could, on their own, muster up an ounce of life or light to embrace the One sent to rescue them for the darkness and bondage of sin. No way that those who by nature were enemies of God would even consider His gracious provision apart from His loving prompting. But God, because of His great love toward us, made us alive together with Christ even when we had no thought, much less any merit or desire, to reach out to Him.
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
(1John 4:9-10 ESV)
As my old King James reminded me often, “We love Him because He first loved us” (1John 4:19). Our love for the Son is the effect of the Father’s love for us.
But does the Father not also love those who, having been redeemed by the precious blood of the Son, desire to, on an on-going basis, love the Son? Is not our love for Jesus also the cause of God’s abiding love for us? I’m thinkin’ . . .
The Father delights in those who delight in His Son. He is pleased with those who heed His words, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to Him!” (Lk. 9:35). Our love for the Son, in a sense, compels the Father to increasingly pour out His love of us.
“And He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love Him and manifest myself to Him. ~ Jesus
(John 14:21b ESV)
Being loved by the Father allows us to love the Son. Loving the Son returns the love of the Father. And that love comes in knowing Father and Son in increasing measure through the Spirit.
Cause . . . and effect.
By His grace. For His glory.