Messages from Young Adults

Back to the Basics: The Unfathomable Love of God

Basic Truth #1: God is Love.

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

1 John 4:8

When I think of basic tenets of the Adventist faith, several things come to mind. The Investigative Judgment. The mark of the beast. The state of the dead. The Sabbath. Creationism and the age of the earth. These are all topics that make Seventh-Day Adventists unique and doctrinally distinct from our Protestant kin. However, maybe you’ve noticed this, too: it is so easy to get wrapped up in these details that our debates and well-meaning conversations may completely obliterate a basic fact. What is that fact? Salvation by grace alone? Adherence to the law?

Simply, it is this: God is love.

I am really struck by how little we talk about God’s love today. You know what I mean – sermonizing God’s love is seen as too “touchy feely”, “contemporary Christian”, and “void of theological substance”. “Sure, God loves us,” we seem to shrug sometimes. “Let’s move on to the more interesting topics like identifying the anti-christ.” When we do talk about the love of God, it is in the simplest of terms. How can we correctly describe something we can’t even wrap our minds around? What does this dying world, ignorant of its cancerous state, need right now? What is the only salve for its suffering? What is the only thing that can give people hope? It is the unquestionable, undeniable, ravenously passionate, jealous, stunning, all-consuming, unconditional love of God. When’s the last time you thought about God’s love for you in those terms?

Recently, I was on the gorgeous island of Kauai for a wedding. Sabbath morning, I sat in a little island church in Lawai and listened, rapt, as the Sabbath School teacher illuminated God’s love throughout scripture. I checked the lesson in my lap – lesson 13 was about relationships between people. How had she spun it so that the entire lesson was about God’s love? But yet, it made sense. I found myself stunned, as one who was reading an old unopened love letter from a relationship gone sour. Hearing the teacher speak ignited a spark in my heart as I realized, again, and for the first time, that God’s love:

  • Compelled Him to create beings with whom He could share a relationship. (Gen. 1:27; Psalm 8:5; Psalm 139:14-16)
  • Obligated Him to engineer a world suitable for our survival and sustenance. (Gen. 1:28-31)
  • Bound Him to His covenants and promises to those that love and follow Him (and even those who don’t on some occasions!). (Heb. 10:16, 17)
  • Drove Him to sacrifice His son for our freedom and salvation. (Isaiah 53:5 ; Heb. 9:28)
  • Inspired Him to design a place for our eternal happiness and joy. (John 14:1-3)

Going back and reading the Bible through the perspective of a loving God, we should be able to see a Being who desires us so fully that He will do anything to have us. That love is the root, the foundation, of everything that we find in the Bible – from the creation of the world to the laws and statutes to the eventual death and resurrection of Christ. God’s love must be foundational in our dealings and teachings because otherwise, they are just senseless noise (1 Cor. 13: 1-3).

Where does that leave us? What does the knowledge of such a love mean to you and me? What should it compel us to do on our end?

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