[ HOME ][ TSS Magazine Index ]

March-May 1999 The Sabbath Sentinel

God's Infinite Love

by John Shirn

One Sabbath morning an old-time preacher began to read a passage from the Old Testament in his old worn Bible that had since been repaired. The preacher was unaware that some glue had seeped between two pages where he was reading and had stuck them together. He started to read: "When men began to multiply upon the earth, and daughters were born unto them, the sons of heaven saw how beautiful the daughters of men were and so they took for their wives as many as were . . ." and here the preacher turned the stuck pages and continued: "300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, 30 cubits high, made of gopher wood and covered with pitch."After his initial shock, the still puzzled preacher recovered enough to say: "I must admit that the passage I read is somewhat unfamiliar to me, but I see it affirms a more familiar passage that says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made" ( Psalm 139:14).

Made For Heavenly Love

So wonderfully are we made that each of us is a unique object of God's infinite love. God not only gives us the amazing gift of life. He gives us the gift of His undying infinite love as the source of our life's fulfillment in everything He has and does for us. Our religion is not rooted in what we can do for God, rather,it all rests on what God has already done for us. This is what charity is all about. He is the original giver. He gave us an undying, unmatchable gift. This is the good news of our Christian faith. This is why Jesus was born in a smelly little barn. This is why Jesus was raised in a humble carpenter's home. This is why Jesus went from village to village preaching and teaching and healing, and rejecting the hypocrisy of the Pharisees,and proclaiming the eminence (lofty, greatness), the immanence (reality, inherence), and permanence of the Kingdom of God.

This is why Jesus endured the bloody horror of His beating and His crucifixion. This is why Jesus came out of the tomb saying: "Peace be with you" (John 20:19). This is why Jesus breathed the very Spirit of God into the world through His first disciples, the foundation of His Spiritual Church. Jesus lived, died, and rose again to make all things new in the purifying fire of God's incredible undying love. Jesus' mission was to show us the way to unconditional surrender of the self to His undying love of God.

His Love A Perpetual Gift

2 Corinthians 5:14 tells us that: ". . . the love of Christ constraineth us (hold together with a compelling force) because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:" And now verse 17: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new." Past sins are gone -- forget them. The reality of God's unlimited love is ours to accept . . . not earn . . . it is God's gift that He offers and He never withdraws it. It is steadfast, it is constant and it is eternal. We can't turn it off, we can't stop God from loving us, we can't weaken it, we can't undermine it and we can't command it to go away. And it doesn't matter who we are or where we are or what we are. God loves us,even though we are not as we should be.

1 Corinthians 1:26 says: "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger then men." Now this does not mean that God is neither foolish nor weak. It means in comparison to men who think that they are wise and can not understand God's reasoning and ways. No, we are not as we should be when God calls us, but God calls the foolish ones of the world to confound the wise. God calls the weak ones of the world to confound the mighty. He calls the base and the despised to confound those who are not . . . to bring to nothing those who are . . . that no flesh should glory in His presence" (verses 27-29).

But of those who are in Christ Jesus, God has made into them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption that according as it is written, "He who glories let him glory in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 1:31 ).The staggering truth is that God does not love the world nor mankind in some vague or abstract way. God loves you, the real you, as you are right now, and with a love the depth of which we cannot penetrate with our mortal minds. From the cross Jesus has said to you and to me that God would rather die than be without you.Can you grasp that? Yet, that is the message of the cross -- God would rather die than be without you. Romans 5:8 says: ". . . God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

Can You Accept the Gift?

The question that confronts us before all others is not: "Are you at this moment as pure as the Apostle John or as sinful as Mary Magdalene?" Rather, the question is: "Are you ready to accept the gift of God's undying love to the center of your being? To act on it?" To bet your life on it? Are you willing to accept this reality as the necessary point of departure for your journey toward fulfillment and sonship in God's Kingdom?

Several years ago, Arnold Palmer, the great golfer played some golf matches in Saudi Arabia. His playing greatly impressed the King of Saudi Arabia and before Palmer left the country the King told him he would like to present him with a special gift. "What can I offer you?" The King asked. Palmer expressed his gratitude for the offer but said he had enjoyed the visit very much and that a special gift was not necessary. The King insisted and Palmer finally said: "Alright, you can give me a golf club; that would be a really nice remembrance of your hospitality." The next day -- the story goes -- a messenger appeared at Palmer's hotel and handed him a deed to a 300-acre golf club! Some one has said that the moral of this story is, "In the presence of the King, don't ask for small gifts." There is no sin so great as to cause God to offer you anything less than the greatest gift imaginable -- which is son-ship in His Family, unless you fully and completely reject Him permanently. To reject Him permanently is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and cannot be forgiven. Mark 3:29 states that: "But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost (Spirit) hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation."

There is no rebellion so wild that would cause Him to give up on you. There is no depression so deep that can prevent Him from continuing to take the initiative with you. He tells us through Isaiah 1:18: "Come now,and let us reason together . . . though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." No matter how bad things go for you -- no matter how depraved you may have been -- God does not give up on you. Again, He tells us in Revelation 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door,and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me." Notice that you have to do something. You have to open the door. You have to accept Him. You have to let Him in, let Him control your life, you cannot do it as well as He can.

None Need Perish

Notice the parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18:11-14 . His will is that none should perish even though one had been lost -- He will find and save every one. God is not talking about woolly animals here; He is talking about people who stray from His teachings; those who are temporarily disillusioned. He will find them and restore them into His fold -- but they must be willing to obey and not be self-willed. This concept is repeated in 2 Peter 3:9, where we are told that, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness; (here again we must distinguish between man's thinking and God's thinking -- they are not the same) but is long suffering (we are not always as long suffering as He is) to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." Note the condition--you have to do something -- you must come to repentance, or in other words --come to reality and accept Him. He forgives all sins (Matthew 6:14-15, and 18:21-22).

This is the tremendous love that God has toward us. God continues to move steadfastly and operates in a thousand ways in your life. Ways that you do not expect. He is that still, small voice guiding you in moments of despair and indecision. His ministering angels surround you and keep you from being seduced by Satan in moments of fear and temptation. He persists and persists and persists in this way because of His tremendous love for you and His burning desire to bring you to fulfillment as a human being, as His son or daughter, eternally. Whether you like it or not, no matter how far off you have gone, God is going to continue in retrieving you -- His child -- the work of His hands, unless you openly and knowingly rebel and deny Him for your own self-willed pleasures. As we stated above, this attitude is unforgivable.

The Good Life Now And Then

God continues to work with you in spite of yourself in many cases for the purpose of bringing you fulfillment, pleasure, and joy in this life -- now -- as well as eternal life in His Kingdom. Notice what He wishes for us through Apostle John. He wants us to prosper and be in health (3 John 1-4 ). While this salutation is from John to Gaius, it is also indicative of God's will for us as we have noted in above scriptures. God rejoices when a brother or sister testifies of the truth and walks in the truth, and He has no greater joy than to hear that His children walk in the truth.

This undying love of God's is infinite toward you and me, but you block the blessing from God the more you rebel, the more you stray from Him, the more you try to run your own life your way. The closer you walk with God the more that channel for fulfillment -- that channel for blessings, the more that channel for peace and the good things of life can be opened up to you. Matthew 6:31-34 tells us that if we seek His Kingdom first in our lives (let Him take charge of our lives, live it His way), He will provide all that we need. He invented us and He knows better how we can please Him and thereby succeed in life. How clearly King David understood this as he wrote in his 139th Psalm. Let us read it all now. David understood how involved and concerned this incredible God is with you personally.

Will You Comply And Accept The Gift?

Do you believe that God can and will perform this great love to you?

Read Luke 1:26-45 and be convinced. Notice verse 45 in particular:

"And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things, which were told her from the Lord." What if she had not believed? What if no one believed? We would have no Savior. We would have no guidance from the Creator and Sustainer. This passage shows complete belief that God is able to perform that which He promised. Notice how important it is to believe and do His bidding and not doubt, to care and not deny. What He promises He will do, and He promised us life everlasting in His Kingdom if we would but believe in Him and His Son Jesus. To believe in Them is to obey Them, to keep Their Commandments, to study Their teachings and to follow Them, to love Their ways of love, to want to be a brother or sister of Jesus and a son or daughter of the Almighty God. God designed the human family as a training ground to be in His perfect family in His Kingdom. Will you comply and be there? (Romans 8:13-18).


March - May 1999 The Sabbath Sentinel