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God's Love

The Bible tell us how much God cares for people. He wants us to acknowledge Him, love Him, and talk with Him. If you have not already noticed from your Bible reading, it is God who comes after us in order to reestablish a proper relationship. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, it was God who went seeking after them. When Cain was angry over the rejected sacrifice, it was God who went looking after him. When Hagar the handmaid fled with her son into the desert, it was the Angel of the Lord who comforted her a promise. When Moses fled into the desert, it was God who went looking for Him. When Elijah hid from the authorities, it was God who cared and fed him. When David sinned with Bathsheba, it was God who sent the prophet Nathan to help David understand the terrible extent of his behavior. God cared for His people so much that even foreign nations acknowledged the goodness of the God of Israel. When the Prodigal Son (Luke 15) returned home, it was the Father who ran from the house to embrace His son. Jesus told this parable to illustrate how God yearns for communion with each of us. When Peter denied Jesus, it was Jesus who went looking for him by the lakeside.

When sin originally separated people from a holy God, it was God who created a plan that would restore them to Himself. Read the following scriptures to understand how much God loves you and wants you to love Him. The only thing that is separating you from God is sin. The good news, or the Gospel tells us about the Plan to remove your sins so that you will no longer be separated from God. It is God, my friend, who is seeking for you.

THE POCKET GOSPEL

We could spend a lot of worthwhile time researching the teachings of Jesus as found in the first four books of the New Testament, or we could focus on what some have called “The Pocket Gospel.” In a nutshell we find the principal elements of the gospel message contained in Romans 3:23-25. In this pocket-size treatment, Paul articulates, explains, and compresses much of the gospel in such a way as to provide us with a brief, yet easy way of understanding how God regards the human condition.

Verse 23 : “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

All means every human being. Every man and woman has sinned and consequently is guilty. We're all in the same boat. There are no exceptions. The present middle indicative of the manuscript text suggests a continued action, that is, we are “still falling short.” The International Standard Version captures this essence: “... and continue to fall short of God's glory.” Thus, we are helpless to rectify our sinful condition. We initially fail to meet God's supreme expectations and we continue to come up short no matter how we might try. Everyone is guilty. Although people differ greatly in the extent and seriousness of their sins, God esteems no difference between the best and the worst of us. No one is righteous. We are not only guilty of transgression against God but we continually fail to achieve the necessary requirements that would permit us to escape from this condition. It is a hopeless situation.

Verse 24 : “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

There is a remedy for our hopeless condition. God knew that we would forever be helpless and hopeless, so He established a plan whereby we could be justified, or found not guilty. Freely is a very expressive word and suggests that God wanted to expiate us from this situation without any remaining grudges. This was possible only because of grace. God loves us so much that He made the first move, even though we did not deserve it. Apostle John explains this love. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” John 3:16. Through grace we have been declared guiltless. We have been redeemed from the bondage of sin. Redeem means to buy back or to reclaim something that was previously owned. Originally we belonged to God but lost that position when sin entered the world and separated us. Because we were helpless, and because God loved us so much, that special way of escape was provided. Without merit on our part, God furnished a way for us to escape our sinful condition through His matchless and indescribable love. Grace is a word that attempts to describe this unfathomable love. God loves us even though we do not deserve it. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast,” Ephesians 2:8-9. This way of escape is a gift. A gift of love.

Verse 25 : “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.”

Ok then, a way has been provided but what is that way? In this verse the word “Whom” is that way and refers to Jesus of the previous verse. Christ is the one who is our propitiation. This infrequently used word means to conciliate or appease. Christ became a substitute for us in order to appease the righteous expectations of God. The righteousness that God expects is acquired by us through our “faith in his blood” (Christ). Forbearance is generally defined as “a refraining from the enforcement of something that is due.” Thus, during former periods of human iniquity, God was forgiving earnest pleas of repentance by patiently looking forward to Christ's future redemptive work. Refraining from enforcement further exemplifies God's true love and grace during Old Testament times, a period not usually identified with grace. This might suggest that there is more evidence of grace in the Old Testament than one might initially consider.

Jesus died for everyone so that they may experience the fullness of God's redemptive love. “But we see him who has been made a little lower than the angels, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for everyone,” Hebrews 2:9. Apostle Peter states it thus, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed,” 1 Peter 2:24. Now, instead of being guilty, we are free. We have been redeemed or purchased back by God. “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's,” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. One of many appropriate responses to this substitutionary grace is to exemplify our gratitude to God by telling others about this gospel or Good News.

 

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