Behold, What Manner of Love

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Behold, What Manner of Love

 

Jesus wept at the tomb of His friend Lazarus. The Jewish people who saw Him responded to one another, "Behold, how He loved him" (John 11:35-36).

C. H. Spurgeon said to his congregation in London, "Most of us here, I trust, are not mere onlookers, but we have a share in the special love of Jesus. We see evidences of that love, not in the tears, but in the precious blood that He so freely shed for us. . . . Behold how He loves us!"

Have you ever asked yourself where or when He first loved you? With fullness of heart we can say, "See, how He loves me!" Is the beginning of that great love when we first believed? Could it have begun when He died for us? As we reflect back on our lives and His love for us there is no time when He did not love us.

When we ponder the beginning of His love for us, it takes us beyond our creation into past eternity.

In eternity past Jesus so identified Himself with us and covenanted to redeem us.

From past eternity Jesus looked down the distant future in His divine perspective and saw the disastrous ruin of sin in our lives and chose to do something about it. In past eternity Jesus Christ took up our cause and pledged to be the guarantee of God's eternal covenant. Jesus knew that sinful man could never fulfill the demands of the covenant with the LORD God. Therefore, Jesus pledged to fulfill man's part of the covenant. He did so on our behalf long before we were able to have any part of it.

Jesus pledged to die for us by giving His life as a ransom for our sins. It was a unilateral covenant through His own blood for it is sealed "through the blood of the eternal covenant" (Heb. 13:20).

It was not bilateral because He did it in past eternity by Himself without our asking. It is eternal, and because it is by His grace it is undeserved. Jesus knew that we could never remedy our sin problem so He stepped in, and out of His love and mercy did it for us.

In that great act of love He united Himself with us so that His life became our life, His death became our death, His burial became our burial and His resurrection became our resurrection. What love!

Where did Jesus do that? When He first loved us. Behold, what manner of love He has for you and me! Even before we were born, even before creation, even before the Fall, even before we sinned, His great love was settled for us. Behold, how He loves us!

"When the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba, Father'" (Gal. 4:4-6).

Again, we can only exclaim, "See what manner of love He has for us!" We can never lose that adoption. It is guaranteed in eternity, purchased by the blood of the Son of God at Calvary, and sealed by the Holy Spirit the moment we believed on Christ as our Redeemer.

What our Redeemer planned in eternity past before the foundation of the world, He accomplished in time, and it is guaranteed by His resurrection for all eternity. Cf. Romans 8:37-39; John 15:13; 3:16; Galatians 4:4-6.

Although our salvation was planned in eternity, and Christ fulfilled that eternal covenant in His own blood at Calvary, it is not automatic.

Jesus calls us personally and persistently until we respond to "the sweet compulsion of His grace."

Have you responded in sweet surrender to His abounding love and grace? Do you have eyes only for Jesus? Or is the Holy Spirit still pursuing you and pleading with you to put your faith in Jesus Christ?

"Behold how He loves us," but as Spurgeon asked, has anyone ever said to you, "Behold how he or she loves Jesus"? Can your friends say of you and me, "See what manner of love he or she has for Jesus"? "Behold how they love Jesus." Has anyone ever said to you, "Why do you love Him so?" Why do you love and serve Jesus Christ?

And when they do ask you, what will you say to them?

"Behold, what manner of love . . . ."

  

Selah!


Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.

Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.

 

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