“The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.’”Jeremiah 31:3
God’s love is so great that it continues from the beginning of time through all ages to the end of time; yes, not only that, but also into eternity. His love is an eternal love. It is so all-encompassing that it includes the whole world. God has given us proof that He loves the whole world so deeply in that He gave His only begotten Son for the redemption of the world that is lost in sin (see John 3:16).
While it is relatively easy for us to realize that God loves the whole world and that He loves us as His people, as His Church, it is not so easy for some to grasp and recognize that God has a special love and care for each and every one of us. Yet it is a glorious truth that should be a great encouragement to us all.
Even in the time of Abraham, God was willing to spare entire cities even if only ten righteous people could be found in them. When even this small number could not be found, God nevertheless remembered Lot, the only righteous one, and brought him out of the city before He let destruction fall. Yes, the Lord knows His own and remembers them; He does not forget them.
We also read in the Word of God how He stood by a Moses, an Elijah, a Daniel, and many other Old Testament saints when it seemed that the whole world had forgotten them and everything was against them. God did not forget nor abandon them. He does not abandon anyone who trusts and obeys Him.
When our Savior was on earth, He declared that there is great joy in heaven over one sinner who repents. Once, God took Philip away from a city where he was ministering among many people to send him to a lonely place to bring the truth of the gospel to a single seeking soul. God loved that soul so much that He caused His messenger to interpret and make clear the way of salvation. Here was someone seeking light and knowledge, and God promised, “Seek, and you will find” (Matthew 7:7). He always makes His promises come true if one complies with the conditions attached to them.
When Peter was thrown into the dungeon, the eye of God watched over him. Since God had more work for Peter to do, He sent an angel from heaven to set Peter free. Praise and glory be to the Lord! Nothing escapes His attention concerning His own!
We have not heard in the Word of God, nor have we ever heard of a single case, where God has abandoned a person who trusted and obeyed Him. Nor will we ever hear of such a case, for God says that He has loved us again and again, or “with an everlasting love,” as another translation says. It would be easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for the promises of God to fail. They have passed the test of time and will continue to do so.
Since God loves us so deeply and sincerely, He demands of us that we also love Him and that we love one another. For the person who has experienced the love of God and is washed from sins in the blood of Jesus, it is not difficult. No, on the contrary, it is a joy for us to love the One who first loved us. Nor is it difficult for us to love all others who have experienced salvation. For the truly redeemed, it is natural to love God.
To the world, it may seem that we are under bondage. But this is not true; rather, through redemption, we have been made free from the bondage of sin, and we enjoy freedom in the Lord. We consider it a glorious privilege to be able to serve God. When Christ dwells in our hearts, serving God gives us joy. God makes serving Him easy for us. When we were born again, He took the desire for the sinful things of the world out of our hearts and implanted a love for the things that please Him.
He gives us more glorious joys than we have ever known before and a peace that surpasses all understanding. The love of God is poured into our hearts, and therefore it is easy for us to seek the things that are above and not the things that are on earth (see Colossians 3:2). Jesus says: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
For the children of the world, all this is a mystery. They cannot understand how we can love those who do not seem lovable to them at all. They cannot understand how we can have joy in divine and heavenly things instead of delighting in the transitory pleasures of the world. In order to understand this, man must first be renewed or born again himself. He must become partaker of the divine nature.
We are urged to love one another fervently out of a pure heart (see 1 Peter 1:22). If we have the Spirit of Christ, this is not difficult for us but rather natural because it is one of the fruits of the Spirit. Jesus Himself presents it as one of the main marks of true discipleship. This love is also evidence to the world that we are God’s children.
Praise and thanks be to the Lord for the bonds of divine love that unite us to Him and to one another and for the fact that He has ever loved us and drawn us to Himself out of pure love and goodness.