For God So Loved the World, February 2023

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure” (1 John 3:1-3, NIV).

Anyone who stops to contemplate the complexity of a human being can only be awestruck by the creative power of God. Our physical structure, comprised of so many microscopic cellular parts working together in a way that results in a functioning body, is amazing enough. Add to that, though, the ability to think and reason, and the concept of humanity is staggering!

But God did not stop there. Not only did He create a functioning body with thinking skills, He bestowed upon His creation emotion. Combined with the other facets of creation, God made the human being the crowning glory of His creation: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them… God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day” (Genesis 1:27, 31, NIV, italic added).

One of our most powerful emotions, love, is celebrated in the month of February as Valentine’s Day, so it is appropriate to consider its meaning and application. Scripture is clear enough on the matter: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God… We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:7, 19, NIV). Love that does not start here becomes distorted, misused, and abused. Even though cel- ebrating love as romance on Valentine’s Day can be whimsical, it pales in comparison to true love.

The Apostle John loved to write about love. The high point of love, he tells us, is that “we should be called children of God!” Spiritually, everyone is an orphan until he or she accepts God’s gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. The image of an orphan is a universally frightening specter: abandoned, lonely, impoverished, and unloved. Into this bleak landscape, when we are at our most helpless state, God sent His Son. Through Him, God sent every one of us His personal Val- entine’s Day message:

For God so loved the world, That He gave His only Begotten Son That whoever believes In Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Small wonder that John was so fascinated by love! God’s love extends far beyond the limits of human romanticism. God’s love heals, transforms, and restores. God’s love takes us from the orphanage and places us in the household of God. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”

In Christ,

-Pastor Chuck-