In the last blog post, I delved into the teaching in Islam that one certainly can gain the love of Allah. How? By following the words and actions of Muhammad from morning until evening.
May I now share with you – my Muslim readers – what Christians believe about gaining the love of God (as expressed in the Bible)?
In essence, the Bible teaches us that there is nothing a person can do to gain, merit, win, earn, or deserve God’s love. Absolutely nothing. We already have it and it is completely unconditional.
In the Bible, God’s love is not based on our inherent goodness (we have none) or the keeping of His laws (no one can keep them perfectly). It is based entirely on God’s inherent goodness. It is based solely on His unchangable character. His love is part of that unchanging character.
Below are just a few verses from the Bible that speak of God’s unconditional love for all of humanity (while I fully realize that some of these holy scriptures disagree with Islamic theology, I quote them here because they absolutely cannot be separated from the Biblical concept of the love of God for mankind; the love of God and the person and work of Jesus are inextricably linked together in the Bible; finally, it is not my desire to purposely offend my Muslim readers but simply to share what the Bible says about God’s love):
“Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:26)
“Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” (Psalm 36:5 -7)
“I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
“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.” (John 3:16)
“God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us.” (1 John 3:16)
“But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead.” (Ephesians 2:4-5)
“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.” (Romans 8:38-39)
“When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” (Titus 3:4-5)
“God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love — not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10)
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.” (1 John 4:16 and also 1 John 4:8)
“We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
Yes, as the Bibles says, “God is love.” And. . .there are many facets, or characteristics, of His love. One characteristic of God’s love that I so appreciate is that it is “indefatigable.” That is a big and seldom used word meaning “not yielding to fatigue, tireless, unwearying, and inexhaustible!”
Most of us who have experienced God’s forgiveness and love through Jesus still find this kind of love to be stunning. Unbelievable really. So much so that many of us try to earn His love anyway! But when we believe this truth about the unconditional, unlimited, unmerited love of God, it revolutionizes our lives – every part of our lives. It fills our hearts and causes us to love Him in return, to want to obey Him, to not sin against Him. It causes us to joyously revel in Him and worship Him with abandon. It causes us to fulfill the commandment of God to “love one another.”
I close with a song written in 1917 by Frederick M. Lehman: The Love of God (Is Greater Far). Actually, the first two verses and the chorus are written by Lehman. He reported that the third verse was written before his writing and “had been found penciled on the wall of a patient’s room in an insane asylum after he had been carried to his grave. The general opinion was that this inmate had written the epic in moments of sanity.”
The Love of God (Is Greater Far)
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.
When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race —
The saints’ and angels’ song.
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
Here is the song sung by a group called “Mercy Me”:
What do you think of the love of God as expressed in the Bible?
I welcome your comments – whether you are Muslim or Christian or Jewish. Whether you are of another religion, or no religion. Please reply and share your thoughts.
This is my prayer for all of us: “May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love. . .” (2 Thessalonians 3:5)