Happy Valentine's Day! I'm excited about Valentine's Day because I have someone this year. I get to share my love with my fiance this Valentine's Day. Granted I have to work this evening so I can't take her out, but I am not celebrating Singles Awareness Day as in past years.
I have someone to celebrate Valentine's Day. Someone I love and who loves me back. But then again, I've had that every year. Obviously, God has loved me each every Valentine's Day, each and every day and will love me every future day. As is painted on my coffee cup that Christine made made:
"But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
God loves us. Cool, but what does that mean?
I've been reading J. I. Packer's classic book Knowing God. Packer defines God's love as follows:
"God's love is an exercise of His goodness toward individual sinners whereby, having identified Himself with their welfare, He has given His Son to be their Savior, and now brings them to know and enjoy Him in a covenant relation."
I'm not going to break this down in the detail that Packer does, but I will venture some brief explanation.
First, "God's love is an exercise of His goodness..." God is so good (and by "good" I mean infinitely perfect not necessarily nice) that His goodness spills over due to one of His traits, that being generosity. God loves because love and generosity are innately His character. As you've heard from John, God is love.
Secondly, God's love is given freely to those who don't deserve it. God chose to love you. Let that sink in... God chose to love you. It is not required for God to love you; rather He does it out of the overflow of His goodness and of His choosing. As Packer said, "No reason for His love can be given except His own sovereign good pleasure."
Thirdly, "... having identified Himself with their welfare..." God was supremely happy before He created the world. Supremely, perfectly, happy. In fact, the Holy Trinity shared love openly and freely for eternity before time (mind blower). But God decided to hinge his happiness in our welfare. He made, by His choice, His happiness eternally conditional on ours. Packer says, "Thus God saves, not only for His glory, but also for His pleasure."
Fourthly, as we saw in Romans 5:8 God's love came through Jesus's sacrifice on the cross. Without Jesus God cannot love you.
Lastly, "... brings them to know and enjoy Him in a covenant relation." God is committed to loving you. He has made a covenant to love you, just as a groom does with his bride in marriage. Like a groom, God loves us by doing the best for us. As John Tillotson said, "This is true love to any one, to do the best for him we can." God does this. And get this, God's best is based in His omnipotence, His almighty power!
Oh, how He loves us! Happy Valentine's Day! Meditate on God's love for you today.