In the last post, I talked about how God’s love is a love that constantly and continually pursues us. God’s restorative love towards Israel was seen through the story of Hosea and how Hosea continually went after his wife, Gomer.
This week, I’d like to explore the significance of His sacrificial love—because if God didn’t love us, He wouldn’t have provided a way out.
We would still be stuck in our sins, facing judgment, and ultimately, facing the wrath of God in hell.
If we were never introduced to the Lamb of God as our sacrifice, then we wouldn’t have access to the throne of God.
This applies to the Old Testament as well because if God didn’t make it possible for the Israelites to atone for their sins (by yearly sacrifice), then they would have been lost in their sins forever, without hope.
But, the good news is, He does love us!
He loves us more than our minds can even fathom. His love reaches further than our comprehension.
The evidence of the love of our Father is seen in the ultimate sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Paul, a writer in the New Testament, writes on this kind of love. I’d like to focus on the book of Romans, a work written by him to the people of Rome. Chronologically, Romans follows the book of Acts, which tells the story of Paul’s conversion to Christ—and the end of his persecution of His followers (see Acts 9 for Paul’s conversion story).
After his conversion, Paul spends the rest of life—his time, his energy—for the sake of the gospel, and has written profound passages of Scripture, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Two verses that come to mind, that are some of my favorites are:
“For I am pursuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, or height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39).
These verses speak so much life; nothing that you’ve ever done (or will do) can take away the fact that God loves you.
He loves you when you’re happy, sad, upset, anxious, nervous, excited.
He loves you in the valley, on the mountaintop, and the journey in between.
He has never stopped loving us, and He never will.
He is love. God can’t help but to love us. It’s against His nature to not love us.
Paul knew of this love, because he once persecuted those who lived in the love of God. After his conversion, it was God’s love and grace that gave Paul the opportunity to turn to God. From then on, everything Paul wrote was written out of love because he knew love.
I’ve also come to know this sacrificial love of God. There have been numerous times in my life where I realized God’s love in a new way…
There was a time when I didn’t really have friends, and I was losing closeness with the friends I did have because I was searching for more—true friendship.
I wavered a little bit in my faith in God, because I didn’t have what I wanted.
HA best friend. Someone who understands me.
Then it hit me: I never pursued friendship with Christ.
That’s when I began to seek the Lord, and He brought me into a friendship with Him for about two years in college (give or take). I learned that this kind of friendship never gives up on you. The book of Romans was one of the books that God used to really speak to me of His love. I slowly began to realize that I wouldn’t be where I was without the sacrifice Christ did on the cross.
There were days when I thought I did really well: read my Bible, prayed daily, spent time in worship. And then it would come crashing down when I missed a day, which led me into a spiral of negative thoughts and feelings.
But God never gave up on me.
He would give me subtle hints or reminders through sermons or songs that revealed His love for me, and I would be renewed once again. Friendship with God is the best friendship you can have.
“Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” —Romans 6:4
In those two years, I learned how to prioritize my relationship with Him.
I also learned what it means to be His child, and I allowed Him to mold me into the person I was meant to be (but we’re still working on that).
Through it all, His love never left me.
It was because of His love that I came running back to Him—and He welcomes me with open arms.
His love guides me back onto the path of Heaven. Every time.
It makes me tear up, sometimes, to read about the physical pain the Savior went through just to save us.
Christ was on a mission when He came to earth, sent by the Father: to bring salvation and reconciliation.
God so wanted a way that would bring His children back to Him, and that we would know Him and that His ways would be written on our hearts (see Jeremiah 31:33).
He wanted a personal relationship, not sacrifices done in the temple by the high priest every year (see Leviticus 16:34). He yearned to be with us. So, He sent His Son.
I’m amazed that Jesus was so obedient to the Father, and that even though He knew what was coming, He chose the Father’s will (see Luke 22:39–44).
He accepted God’s plan even though knowing what was coming agonized Him. Yet, He sacrificed His life, and chose to go through with it. He could have asked for angels and left the garden, but He loved us too much to leave us without a way out of our transgressions (see Matthew 26:53–54). He accepted His mission to fulfill the will of the Father—for our sake.
Jesus sacrificed His feelings, His human nature and desires, His body, conquered temptation all to give us the opportunity to have access to the throne of grace (see Hebrews 4:16).
His emotional sacrifice was also shown as He bore sneering, jabbing, and ridicule; He was forsaken so that we would be accepted.
He took on the shame and guilt of the whole world—past, present, and future, so that we could find forgiveness and comfort in the presence of God.
His ultimate sacrifice brought about ultimate reconciliation and restoration.
And this is why I live:
God pursues me with His never-ending love and I have a purpose and calling because of the death and resurrection of His Son.
This love is the love that motivates me, enables me to love others.
My cup overflows, and my only response is to surrender my life for His glory.
All I have left to do is sacrifice myself and pick up my cross daily and follow Him—all the way to Heaven, where peace, love, complete restoration and reconciliation will be found.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” —Romans 5:8-11
Yuliana is a blogger, proofreader, and sometimes photographer (when the occasion calls for it). She graduated with a creative writing degree in English and has a Russian minor. She strives to use her talents for God’s glory and prays that He touches others through the work of her hands. Yuliana loves meeting new people, supporting small and local businesses, and spending her time outdoors (when the Carolina heat isn’t ridiculous!). Jesus overwhelms her heart, and iced coffee runs in her veins. She currently lives Waxhaw, a city outside of the greater Charlotte area.