Friday, February 15, 2008

Christ's Love: Constant, Complete, and Infinite

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, Scripture is clear to teach. (Heb. 13:8)

We know that God saves us by grace alone through faith alone (and that too is a free gift) in Christ alone, and that God's love for us in Christ is constant. God will never love us less or more on the basis of our deeds or misdeeds. Our salvation is not and never will depend on our merit or demerit, but solely on grace poured out to us in Christ.

At first blush, this may sound disappointing. I mean, you'd think it'd be more comforting and assuring to teach that Christ's love for us will infinitely grow over all of eternity, starting from the day of our salvation. Or that we can make God's love abound to us in greater measure by doing a checklist of things to prove to God we deserve more chunks of His love.

But these would be unbiblical concepts, rooted in, I think, both our feeble mental finiteness as human beings and also in our cynicism as sinful human beings.

To man, in many cases, particularly romantic love, one hopes to at best grow in one's love for another over time. At the very least we hope it remains constant, but I think the vast majority of us hope, despite our frailties and sins, to grow over time in the deepness of our love with our spouses, children, friends, etc.

So what gives with God's love being constant and unchanging? Isn't that predictable Isn't that dull? Not in the least!!!

First, we must remember that God's love for us in the sacrifice of His Son is infinite in three key aspects: 1) the infinite and uniquely divine holiness of the sacrifice-- Christ Himself 2) the infinite efficacy of the sacrifice -- Christ's blood blotting out all our sins past, present, and future and crediting/imputing to us His righteousness and 3) the never-ending enjoyment of the fruits of that salvation: eternal relationship with God.

Second, we must remember that that which is infinite (without end) cannot become more or less infinite. Infinity cannot become more or less infinite. If it could it would necessarily imply it was finite from the start. The only way to make something more/less infinite would be to make it finite (with an end), and hence fundamentally alter, nay destroy, the character of the infinite entity. To ask God to love us more or less depending on our performance would be to ask God to be more or less infinite in His love and character, a logical and essential impossibility.

Third, we should understand that Christ's love for us, while infinite, is also complete, it's perfect. We usually think of perfection as implying finiteness, and for good reason in our day-to-day context interacting with finite things in a finite world. But God is eternal and infinite and wholly perfect in His very being. Christ's sacrifice of Himself for our sins was and is perfect for all sins.

It's the complete once for all atonement for sin: infinite in essence (Christ himself), efficacy (ALL our sins), and the duration of application/enjoyment (eternity with Christ).

Simply put, the love of God for us in Christ is perfect, it's complete, and always will be. It can't become any more or less complete, just as it can't become any more or less perfect.

Father, we thank you for your boundless, eternal, infinite love for us. We thank you that your love towards us will never grow or diminish throughout all of eternity. Rather it is infinitely perfect and glorious.

But Lord, we know that we, on the other hand, are finite. We can never infinitely grasp you, but we can grow deeper in our knowledge of you and in our love and devotion to you. And this we long to do, for you are great and greatly to be praised.

So help us. Help us grow in our love and adoration of You. Help us grow in love for each other. Help us grow in holy devotion to You.

Thank you that we will NEVER exhaust, never reach the end of our pondering the mystery and glory of You, not in this life nor the one to come. Thank you for this privilege: to glorify You and fully to enjoy you forever. Amen.



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