But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. (Eph. 2:4–5)
In the dark void of eternity past, there was God, eternally existing as Father, Son, and Spirit. The apostle John tells us, “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16) so it’s safe to say love preexisted creation. Our Creator—even before he could be called Creator—has always existed in a unified community of love. The Father has always poured out delight in his Son, who is “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb. 1:3). Love has forever flowed between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Love has forever flowed between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
But love, by nature, spreads. It moves outward. When God said, “Let there be light,” it was his Word—his own Son—that accomplished the task (Gen. 1:3; cf. John 1:1–3). The love the Father has always had for his Son, in a sense, spilled over to make creation. By his great love, God made us in his image—his representatives sent to proclaim his glory and worth all over the world.
You know what happened, though. Our greatest-grandparents, Adam and Eve, turned against the loving heart of God. And since then, we’re all born, as our passage says, “dead in our trespasses”—dark as the pretemporal void and ripe for God’s judgment.
“But God” (that glorious phrase!) is rich in mercy. His rivers of kindness never run dry. This God, who is love, spoke again. He sent to us his Word, clothed in flesh—Jesus Christ. Jesus, the Son of God, showed us the very heart of the Father: he loves sinners. He loves you and me. Christ died in our place as the wrath-soaking substitute to make us beloved children of God.
Why would God pursue a rebel like you or like me? Why would the hero die for the villain?
But God spoke yet again. He called you—you who were dead in your sins—by the power of his Spirit to become alive with Christ. He said again, to you directly this time: “Let there be light!” (cf. 2 Cor. 4:6). Why would God pursue a rebel like you or like me? Why would the hero die for the villain? It’s “because of the great love with which he loved us” (Eph 2:4).
Just as God’s Trinitarian love spilled over to make creation, so his Trinitarian love burst forth to re-create a fallen humanity. Our God, dear friends, is love. And he’s got the résumé—scars and all—to prove it.
Do you find it hard to believe God loves you (as in, you specifically)? How does the fact that God is love give you confidence in his loving care for you today?
Divinely free his mercy flows,
Forgives my sins, allays my woes;
And bids approaching death remove,
And crowns me with a father’s love.
– Anne Steele, “Awake, My Soul, Awake”
This meditation appears in The Weary World Rejoices: Daily Devotions for Advent edited by Melissa Kruger (TGC, November 2021). Purchase through the TGC Bookstore or Amazon.