By Arch Hoercher
The first thing one must look at in a study of Grace is God’s love. God first loved man and because of His love offered mercy, and because of His mercy he granted man Grace. The first and most familiar scripture that comes to mind pertaining to love is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV) God loves the world – that is every man, woman, and child that has ever lived or will ever live. The “world” is all inclusive, it means everyone. God’s love is unqualified. It does not say only the Christian, or only the Jew, or only the Muslim. His love includes all sinners, it does not isolate a particular sin, or life style, or people. His love is equal for everyone (the world). No one should ever think that God loves you more than anyone else. There is absolutely nothing you can do to cause God to love you more and there is absolutely nothing you can do to cause God to love you less. God’s love is perfect and complete.
Can anything separate you from the love of God? Romans 8:38-39: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NIV) The answer is a resonding NO! There is absolutely nothing in all of God’s creation which can separate you from His love – nothing. His love for you is and will always be there. He loves you no matter what you have done or what you have not done.
Psalm 52:8 tells us that God’s love is unfailing and steadfast. Our love will fail. God’s love will never fail. Our love will weaken and fall away. God’s love is steadfast. It cannot and will not back off or change. God’s love for us is eternal and indestructible. It will “never fail” and is “steadfast”.
1 John 4:16 says that God is love. Love is in God’s very nature. As God is perfect so is His love perfect. God is without fault and his love is without fault. He loves us even when we do not want Him to. 1 John 4:16 also says, “Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” When we manifest love we manifest God. If we claim the love of God which was made manifest among us by sending His only son into the world, so that we might live through him (1 John 4:9) – we are accepting the command to love. We are to love our brothers and sisters as well as our enemies. 1John 4:20 states that whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother (or sister) is a liar. Pretty strong words there. But even a bigger problem is that He has commanded us to love our enemies. Jesus also said, “Go, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” He sends us out into the world to love the wolves that want to devour us. Not only are we to love them, we are to pray for them. Not an easy task. But through God’s love and the Grace He has given us, we are given the power to do the very same. What a difference our witness in the world would be if we could love others as God loves us and share the gift of Grace rather than judgment and hatred.