GOD IS LORD, GOD IS LOVE
JOHN 3:16 (Part Two)
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
God is, God speaks, God is holy. Is this all there is? Are we left alone to struggle against sin in our quest for Holy God? Is He saying AGood luck! Do your best@? No! The Bible reveals to us the Holy God who is and speaks.
IV. GOD IS LORD
Revelation 4:8 mentions AHoly@ first. ALord@ is discussed next. Lord, meaning master, involves three sweeping thoughts: God is master of creation, God is master of history, God has the right to be master over each individual person.
In the Old Testament, ALord@ was a title for God. Using it as a title for Jesus in the New Testament denoted His divinity. Use of the word ALord@ means God=s people see themselves as His slaves. He is Master.
God wants to be Absolute Lord in our life. Any teaching omitting this requirement is incomplete. AGod created man in His own image@ (Gen. 1:27). We become so engrossed in discussing what AGod=s image@ means for humans that we overlook what it means for God. He stamps every human with His image. We belong to Him. We are His property. He is our Owner, Lord, Master.
This matter is serious to God. He earnestly wants to be Lord in our lives. AI the Lord thy God am a jealous God@ (Ex. 20:5). God will not tolerate recognition of other gods. He opposes any view detracting from the fact He alone is Lord.
God wants to be God, unlike mythical Zeus, who was indifferent to whether people acknowledged him or not. The living God wants to fill the earth with His glory (Psalms 72:19). Eventually every knee shall bow and every person acknowledge God as Lord (Romans 14:11).
God takes His God-ness seriously. Hence, this is the only truth wholly serious. What kind of God would He be if He did not care whether people took Him for granted or not? By taking Himself seriously, God makes life serious.
If God did not take Himself seriously, nothing else could be taken seriously. We could AEat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.@ But since God is God, life is laden with consequences and we had best make things right with Him.
A curse on our society is, the masses are not taking God seriously. Don=t be fooled into thinking spiritual things are unimportant. God means business. More than anything else in our life, God wants to be absolute Lord. Until people serve Jesus as Lord of all, they don=t know Jesus at all.
A master-servant relationship requires personal knowledge and contact. How can Holy God have a personal relationship with sinful people? How can perfect God abide in imperfect people? The solution is found in God=s love.
V. GOD IS LOVE
The highest manifestation of God=s Lordship is not His right to claim our obedience. A king has power to enforce laws, and the more important right to pardon anyone who disobeys the law. A true Lord can pardon. God elected to do this. Rather than let sinners go unhindered to condemnation, He gives a chance for pardon. He chose this gracious method because He is love.
AGod is love@ is wholly, totally Christian. None say Allah, Zeus, Jupiter, or Brahma, is love. Followers of Jesus always marvel at His condescension.
In Ezekiel 16, God is said to have dealt with Israel as with a helpless newborn. AWhen you were born, no one cut your umbilical cord or washed you or wrapped you in cloths. No one pitied you or had compassion on you. You were thrown into the field and when I saw you squirming in your blood I said Alive@.@
When Israel grew up, no one wanted her. She was naked and bare. AYou were a beautiful young lady and were at the time for love. I passed by and spread my skirt over you. I made a covenant with you and you became Mine. I gave you fine linens and silks. I adorned you with ornaments, bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings, crowns, and made you famous.@
After all this, Israel played the harlot. God let her be punished, but did not forget her. In Ezekiel 37 Israel is pictured as a valley of dry bones, not deserving to live again. But suddenly, a noise and rattling, bones and sinews came together. Flesh appeared and God=s breath entered them. They stood on their feet, a mighty army. God had revived His adulterous lover. How astounding is God=s love.
The term for this God-love is Aagape,@ the self-giving love of God, a huge contrast to the self-seeking love of people. We direct our love toward an object of value; we love something or someone because the desired has value and is worthy to be loved. Our love, a desire to appropriate an object of value into our lives, results from a need in us. We need something or someone to fill a void in us.
God=s love is totally different. He is omnipotent, everlasting, omniscient, etc., having no needs, loving not as we love. He doesn=t seek value, He doesn=t need it. His love is a desire to give, not get. His fulness seeks emptiness to fill. Thus, people and God complement one another well. We need to receive love; He has capacity to give love. He wants to fill our greatest need, the emptiness we experience due to sin.
God seeks nothing for Himself; He desires to benefit His beloved. People cannot consistently love like this. Our supply has to be recharged by God and others. Only God can love in total freedom. He wants to fill our every need, but the wall of sin thwarts the flow of His love.
Since He cannot tolerate being separated from people, what could He do in order to enter their hearts? His options were few. First, He could force us with His power to quit sinning. But this would take away our free choice and nullify God=s image in us. If we can=t make choices, we don=t have God=s image.
Second, He could ignore sin and live in sinful hearts. God loves us too much for this. He hates sin. It hurts His creation, causing heartache and separation. It is an enemy needing to be obviously, openly judged and defeated.
Third, He could send a perfect Son to pay our sin debt, to show us how much God loves us, to come live in people who accept His ransom. Fortunately, God chose this option. At the cross God=s love was completely expressed.
Jesus wants to love us, to live in our hearts. Due to His resurrection, Christ lives today. He wants to occupy the throne of our life as Lord and Lover.