NAMS Advent Blog, week 1.

In these next 4-5 weeks, I will be sharing some brief thoughts for the Advent season focusing on four primary values of love, faith, hope and peace that undergird the Christian message we must live and tell the world.

Love (By Manik Corea)

“For God so loved the world….” (John 3:16)

If you asked the average Christian to use one noun or verb to describe a key characteristic of God that they most relate to, most would likely plump for the word ‘love’. It is the one reflexive, controlling quality so many assume to be descriptive of the Person and work of God towards all people.

But while God is love [1] , love is not God. This is a point Tozer probes with perspicuity: “If love is equal to God then God is only equal to love, and God and love are identical. Thus we destroy the concept of personality in God and deny outright all His attributes save one, and that one we substitute for God.” [2]

Love absolutely describes our God, but it doesn’t categorically define Him. The triune God of our Scriptures is (by any attempt) infinitely unclassifiable, glorious without dispute, holy without compare, perfect without match – a constellation of eternal attributes reflective and deserving of One most worthy of endless worship, thanksgiving and praise. No theological concept is alone able to bear the weight of His matchless, undivided essence.

In this light, the word ‘love’ is inadequate as a catch-all word to describe Him, if we are to truly do justice to all that He is.[3] To be sure, He always acts in accord with His holy love, but not in a way that either repudiates or contradicts the many other characteristics that simultaneously hold true – His holiness, justice, righteousness, faithfulness, etc.

This is not however to denigrate all the Scriptures reveal about the love of God.[4] There are many powerful and glorious intimations about the dynamic power and sublime effects of God’s love bestowed upon us who were once dead in our sin.

Nowhere is this most seen than in the central act of the ages at the crossroads of nations – the cross of Christ. It remains the greatest expression of God’s love, in balance with His justice, mercy and truth. Jesus our Messiah is betrayed with a kiss, abandoned by his disciples, falsely charged, mercilessly beaten, scornfully derided and scandalously sentenced to the infamy and shame of a death by crucifixion. Jesus’ final death-cry gloriously heralds the end of sin’s tyranny toward repentant, believing sinners, able now to be forgiven and regenerate by his Spirit in the power of His resurrected life.

It is God’s love that sent our Lord to that hell we deserved, to gift us a heaven He desires to share with us in glory. We therefore show ourselves most like Him when we likewise love as He loves. Consequently, such a love must mark us out in the world, if we are to prove genuine.

Oh love that will not let me go
I rest my weary soul in thee
I give thee back the life I owe
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be [5]

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[1] 1 John 4:8
[2] Aiden Wilson (A.W.) Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, Send The Light Trust: Bromley, Kent, 1976, pg 104.
[3] It was enough for God by self-disclosure to say to Moses, “I am who I am” (Exodus 3:14). He is all sufficient in Himself, the eternally existing One by whom all other things exist.
[4] Deuteronomy 7:9; Psalm 36:7; 63:3; 136:26; Isaiah 54:10; Jeremiah 31:3; Lamentations 3:22-23; Zephaniah 3:17; John 13:34-35; 15:9, 12-13; Romans 5:5; 8:37-39; 1 Corinthians 13:13; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 2:4-5; 3:18; Colossians 3:14; 1 John 3:1; 4:7, 9-10, 16, 18-19; Jude 1:21 etc.
[5] Hymn “O Love, That Wilt Not Let Me Go” by George Matheson.

NAMS Advent Blog, week 1.

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