Vol. 19 New Series April, 1957 No. 2

Do we not sometimes read John 3:16 with the feeling, Yes, God certainly does greatly love us, and we are glad that He has chosen us out of the world, as members of the Body of Christ. But do we ask ourselves, what is the meaning of God so loving the world? Does He really love all humanity? Does He love all races, the Negroes, the Maoris, the Mongolians, the Red Indians, just as much as He loves us? Or does God merely love the world to the extent that He will leave the great mass of human beings to perish for ever, while He loves us who are saved very much better? What has made God love us? Is it because we have chosen Him? Most certainly not. He loves the world, just because all humanity exists in His image, and because His own Son is human.

Sometimes we require to interrogate ourselves very bluntly. Let us take a few minutes to consider what Love really is. In our human vocabulary its value is often not high. It cannot be denied that a great deal of human love is based upon selfishness of some kind. Of course, the person who loves someone does not see it in that light, love being often very blind. Human love is seldom, if ever, constant. Like the barometer, it goes up and down.

Are we not too much given to measuring up the quality of the Divine Love by our human standards? We admit that God's Love is vast, it must be vast; but do we realize it experimentally?

Has not ample proof been provided that God's Love is the very opposite of being selfish; He gave up His own Son. Is not that clear proof that His Love is vastly greater than our feeble human love? Is it not ample proof that His Love is perfect? At least it cannot be less than perfect. The ages will prove that He who came to our earth in Human Form was and is Perfect Love.

Sometimes I have observed that when a young lady obtains the love of a young man, what does she do with that affection? I might seem a shade harsh did I say that although she is pleased and thrilled, sometimes she puts that love into her pocket, as though it were a bank-book, and uses it as capital. It can have a bargaining power. It sometimes makes her female friends a bit jealous. But if she is really humble-minded, she will act differently. She will return the affection, thinking not of herself, but of her beloved. Genuine love is a very humbling quality. We never see real love in a top-heavy person. Only a truly humble person can love deeply. Christ Jesus proved the depths of His Love by humbling Himself even to suffering a cross-death, like a common convict, for the sake of a world that did not want Him.

Not long ago I read concerning the Germans, that they made great use of the word for wonder. Is it not grand to feel that something is just wonderful? But words like this tend to take a rather commonplace meaning in the course of time. Do we not often talk or pray concerning God's wonderful Love, when all the time, we do not realize just how extraordinary and powerful and everlasting it must be?

Here I have a pregnant question to ask you. If the Divine Love is perfect, would it not require to be endless, everlasting? Or in other words, if God's Love ever faded away, how could it be perfect? Is Paul's description of real Love in 1. Cor. 13 of any higher standard than the Divine Love? Verse 4 ought to be understood thus: "Love goes on being patient, goes on being kind." Verse 8 says that "Love is never failing." Can it be that God's Love does not come up to the standard that Paul sets out for human beings? For centuries Christendom has blackened God's character by making out that instead of His Love lasting eternally, as it must, it will vanish in the case of those who do not attain salvation in this life.

Those who talk of "the measureless depths of His eternal love," and add that God has made provision for men's salvation, ought first to ask, Has God made provision for His own Love being eternal? before they callously consign the "lost" to endless death or misery. God's Love for some of the Race cannot be everlasting while for others it is only ephemeral. But that has been the Devil's doctrine through the centuries. One marvels at the entire lack of logic among theologians in connection with the Love of God, ever since Paul passed from the scene. If His Love for the "lost" is not measureless, then we certainly cannot count upon it being measureless or eternal for ourselves.

What are you doing with God's Love for you? Are you treating it as a valuable personal asset? Does it make you feel important? Does it give you the feeling, "Never mind about souls being saved now—God will save all eventually?" Does it make you indifferent as to the fate of others, such as your close relatives? Does it sometimes give you the feeling that you are just a little better than those who have been unable to "believe"? Perhaps we marvel at their continued lack of faith, as though they ought to believe as easily as we did.

There is one verse in the New Testament which, in the Greek, always brings a lump to my throat, just as Isaiah 53 must do to any reader. That is 1. Tim. 1:16, which tells of Christ Jesus shewing forth His "entire long-suffering" (or patience). Paul was astounded to the end of his days that the Lord could go on being so patient with him. Yet could we ever picture to ourselves a Christ who lost patience, at any time, with anyone? I must confess that to me the idea is quite absurd and impossible. It is altogether unthinkable. Just here I must press another point. Is it within the sphere of possibility that the Father could ever lose His patience, or wax irascible? Again we are forced to conclude that this is an utter impossibility. We are obliged to believe that God's patience is as inexhaustible as is His Love. That He will exhibit wrath to some does not mean that He will ever lose patience. His wrath will only be temporary. Will His patience only be temporary, or will it be as eternal as Himself?

I would humbly submit that those preachers who prate about the measureless depths of God's eternal love ought to study their own words, with a dictionary in their hands, unless they really know what Divine Love is and must ever be. The Love that "will not let me go" will never let anyone go, eternally. God can afford to wait, and win. But He cannot afford to lose, not even one. It is not His wish that a single one should be eventually lost.

A.T. Last updated 24.3.2006