“The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying, ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love….’” (Jeremiah 31:3)
What part of ‘everlasting’ do we not get?
Lately, we are learning through science what unending and infinite look like. Space seems to be continuous, going on and on. The lineup of galaxies across the heavens staggers our imaginations, considering their size, makeup, number, complexity.
The Psalmist who said, “The heavens declare the glory of the Lord” (Psalm 19:1) had no clue just how much they say about the majesty and might of our Creator. That’s not to imply we do, only that we have far more information on the complexities and delights of the universe which the Father has wrought with His own hands than biblical writers ever dreamed of.
“From everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.” (Psalm 90:2)
From everlasting in the past to everlasting in the future, God is God. There never was a time when God did not exist; there will never be a time when God does not reign.
Personally, I cannot get my mind around that. To my puny intellect, infinity of any kind is fearful. To think of being snuffed out upon death, that after our last breath, we are extinguished forever, is frightening and painful beyond belief. I think of loved ones whose passing took with them a huge hunk of my heart and soul. The thought that I would never see them again strikes me with a sadness incalculable.
But infinity of the other kind–living forever and ever, world without end–is just as mind-boggling. How could that work? How could we exist knowing that nothing would ever end?
The answer is and absolutely must be: “It’s a different realm.” This mortal must put off its mortality, its corruption, its limitation, and be changed forever–into immortality, into glory, into power. “We shall be changed.” (See I Corinthians 15.) That “change” is a requirement before you and I begin to make that adjustment.
Someone protests, “Well, I’ve been bad and God cannot love someone like me.” That’s so patently ridiculous as to be laughable. Scripture says, “God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Furthermore, “He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust” (Psalm 103:14). The God who made you and me is under no illusion about us. He knows He’s dealing with humble stuff and got no bargain when He saved us. When we sin, the only one surprised is us.
If God loved only the worthy, He would be mighty lonely.
The unbelieving mind is quick to insist that, “Well, even if He loved me enough to save me, I’ve sinned since believing in Jesus, so I know He doesn’t love me any more.” That, I respond, is the same theology of the serpent in the garden who was undermining trust in God and urging people to trust in themselves.
Everlastingly endless and infinite!
Now, when God says something is “everlasting,” He means endless. Eternal. On and on and on…. Whether we “get it” or not. Whether or not we like it. Whether or not we understand it or agree with it or appreciate it.
And, whether or not it agrees with our theology!
Surely, “eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love Him” (I Corinthians 2:9).
“I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Our text from Jeremiah 31:3.
“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:6). (So many things fall under the heading of “Things too wonderful which I cannot grasp!”)
And yet, there it is: God’s love for His children is limitless.
What part of limitless, everlasting, or eternal do we not understand?
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29).
John MacArthur says, “No stronger passage in the OT or NT exists for the absolute, eternal security of every true Christian.”
They shall never perish.
We recall Jesus at the graveside of Lazarus saying, “Whoever lives and believes in me shall never perish.” (See John 11.)
One has to wonder, at what point we will begin believing that God’s love is eternal and His salvation just as limitless.
God demonstrated His love in ten thousand ways, but in particular in three huge ones…
CREATION. The Father could have made a universe of all grays but He chose color. He could have made it with complete silence or dreadful noise, but He gave us music, the sound of birdsong, the laughter of children. He could have limited creation to a few species but the variety of His creation appears without measure.
The totality of creation–all the universe–is amazing in its beauties and complexities and delights, stunning in its power and dread and dimensions, and captivating from the tiniest insect to the grandest of galaxies. Then, if that were not enough, this single planet of Earth exceeds every other site yet discovered in the universe with its life, its beauties, its thousands of traits that truly make it, as Commentator Paul Harvey once said, “the gem of the universe.”
Take a shovel and spade it one time into the dirt in your back yard. If the life in that one shovelful of dirt were to be discovered on Mars, the front page of every newspaper on the planet would shout the news tomorrow. And yet, we take for granted that this planet is living, is abundant in its provisions, and is stable and secure from all harm, as though this is how things automatically should be.
We now know that Earth is the luxury model of planets. And we get to be guests for years and years.
Are we blessed or what? God is such a God of love!
THE INCARNATION. He cared enough to come Himself.
The writer of Hebrews begins by pointing out that over the centuries God spoke to this world in many ways–patriarchs, prophets, angels, even a donkey on one occasion–but “in these last days has spoken unto us in His Son.”
“Last of all, He sent His Son” said Jesus in a revealing parable (Matthew 21:37).
Here’s how John put it: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).
“Jesus, show us God,” said the crowd. “Show us the Father,” said others. Our Lord replied, “All this time I’ve been with you, you still have not figured out who I am? He who has seen me, has seen the Father!” (John 14:8ff. My paraphrase.)
Jesus Christ is the greatest proof of God’s love imaginable. In the words of the inimitable Dr. John Bisagno, “Jesus Christ is everything God has to say about Himself.”
THE CRUCIFIXION. The cross is the ultimate statement of the love of God. No one can ever look at the cross again without knowing “I am loved.” When He died on Calvary, the Lord Jesus was the One making the offering (our High Priest), He was the offering itself (our Sacrifice), and He is the One to whom the offering was made (He is God). These truths, taught in the Epistle to the Hebrews, stagger our imagination.
“Christ died for us.”
“Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God!” (I John 3:1)
You are loved, now and forever, child of God.
“Who shall separate us from the love of God?”
Candidates for that dubious honor have been many over the centuries.
“But I am persuaded that neither death nor life, angels nor principalities, things present nor things to come, nor powers nor height nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (See Romans 8 and stand in awe.)
Thank you, Father.
“You have loved me before the foundation of the world,” said Jesus to the Father on the night before He went to the cross (John 17:24).
God is love.
Deal with it.