Christ's Love for His Own
Many mistakenly think that the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ was to enable God to love us. The scriptures plainly teach just the opposite. The sacrifice of Christ was because God did love us! "God commendeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." Christ's death was the effect of God's love for sinners, not the cause.
Pastor Donnie Bell
THE FIRST ADAM -- A PICTURE OF CHRIST
"I love my wife." Nowhere do we see the love of Christ to His church set forth so fully as in the case of Adam's love to Eve. He was the figure of the Coming One -- the Last Adam. The popular notion is that Eve beguiled Adam. Eve did nothing of the kind. Satan beguiled her by throwing the dust of fleshly expectancy in her eyes and allured her into transgression against, and distance from, God. The Holy Ghost tells us plainly that "Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression" (I Tim. 2: l4). Adam was in no wise deceived, neither by the devil nor by his wife. He knew what he was doing and sinned with his eyes wide open. He saw her in the depths of her guilt and shame; and out of pure love to her, before he would be parted from her he would be damned with her. He cleaved to his wife, for they were one flesh; and into ruin he plunged himself for her sake. In all this, he was the figure of Him that was to come, yet very much unlike Him. Adam loved the creature more than the Creator. Christ loved the Father with the same love that He bore to His bride, the church. He is ever the Unchangeable in saying with the affectionate servant, "I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free." "Whom once He loves, He never leaves, but loves them to the end." Loving responsibility hangs upon Him with the perfection of gracefulness. Shifted responsibility from the loved wife to the Loving Husband is her salvation, succour, safety, and security.
If anything can awake astonishment, and inflame our gratitude, it must be that mystery of love, God manifested in our nature, and made man, to bleed and die for our salvation. That He should condescend to be sold for thirty shekels of silver, that is, for three pounds fifteen shillings of our money; to be apprehended and condemned as a malefactor; to be crowned with piercing thorns; to be scourged at the bloody pillar; to bear His cross; to be numbered with transgressors; to be reviled by rufianly soldiers, and a merciless populace; to be torn with tormenting nails; and pierced with a hostile spear; and suspended on the ignominious tree, between heaven and earth, as unworthy of either, though He was the maker and preserver of both. What thought can reach, what tongue can tell, the infinite riches of His love to man, that induced Him freely to undergo all this, only to make him happy! Nay, He not only freely underwent it, but even longed for the time of His crucifixion to come "I have a baptism, says He, a baptism of sufferings to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished?" (Luke 12:50)
While speaking to His disciples about abiding in Him, as the branch abides in the vine, our Lord comes to the clearest proof and sign of this union with Him: "That you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12). Love for our Lord and one another is the principal commandment on which all the others rest. If we do abide in Him and His word abides in us, we will love one another.
No tongue can fully express the infinitude of God's love, or any mind comprehend it: it "passeth knowledge" (Eph. 3:19). The most extensive ideas that a finite mind can frame about Divine love, are infinitely below its true nature. The heaven is not so far above the earth as the goodness of God is beyond the most raised conceptions which we are able to form of it. It is as ocean which swells higher than all the mountains of opposition in such as are the objects of it. It is a fountain from which flows all necessary good to all those who are interested in it.