â€“ Henry Neufeld
God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. â€“ John 3:16 (CEV)
Itâ€™s as simple as that.Â We can write books, preach sermons, and teach lessons, but we arenâ€™t really going to get any deeper than that.
It wasnâ€™t because you were the most numerous of all the peoples that God pursued you passionately and chose you.Â You were the least of all the peoples.Â But because God loved you . . .Â Deuteronomy 7:7-8a (HN)
Godâ€™s love isnâ€™t something new.Â Godâ€™s love is the foundation for all of his saving activities.Â We often speak of the great difference between the Old and New Testaments.Â But the foundation of Godâ€™s activity was the same in both.
Sometimes Iâ€™m told that preaching and teaching about love is soft, that love isnâ€™t really enough.Â We need regulations, we need strength, we need punishment.
But Godâ€™s love is anything but weak and limited.
Godâ€™s love is passionate.Â The one word in Hebrew that I translated â€œpursued you passionatelyâ€ is the same word that is used in Genesis 34:8 of Hamorâ€™s attraction to Dinah.Â That was a passion that resulted in rape.Â You may find it shocking that a word used in that way could also be used of God.Â What it means is that God loves us passionately.Â He loves us with a love that will not be stopped, will not be thwarted, will not give up.
Itâ€™s the John 3:16 kind of love.Â God loves, and so he gives.Â That gift is a passionate giftâ€”a gift that goes all the way, that wonâ€™t be stopped or thwarted, that doesnâ€™t have limits.Â It is a gift that goes all the wayâ€”all the way from heaven to earth, on to the trial and the same, to death on a cross.Â That is the passion with which God pursues us.
God loved so much that he gave.
Godâ€™s passionate love is an invitation.Â Believe in him.Â Even better, put your trust in him.Â Trust your life and your salvation to the one who loves you so passionately that he gave his all.Â Thatâ€™s the one and only way to have life; those who trust Him have eternal life, they need not, as the CEV translates it, â€œreally die.â€
Of course, passion wants a response.
This is my command:Â Love each other as I loved you! â€“ John 15:12 (HN)