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Monday, July 06, 2015

From, "Knowing God's Love," A Chapter of "Trusting God" Even When Life Hurts By Bridges

Romans 8:35,37 - "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?. . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us."

From Ch. 9, It seems the more we come to believe in and accept the Sovereignty of God over every event of our lives, the more we are tempted to question His love. We think, "If God is in control of this adversity and can do something about it, why doesn't He? In a 1980's book Rabbi Kushner wrote a book. In it he chose to believe in a God who is good but not Sovereign. Sometimes we are tempted, if only momentarily, to believe in a Sovereign God Who is not good. Satan, whose very first act toward man was to question the goodness of God, will even plant the thought in our minds that God is up in heaven mocking us in our distress. This was in Eden.

But we are not forced to choose between the soverignty and the goodness of God. The Bible affirms both His Sovereignty and His goodness with equal emphasis. References to His goodness and loving-kindness, like His sovereignty, appear on almost every page of scripture. In our struggles with adversity, we dare not malign the goodness of God. As Philip Hughes said, "That He cares not is just as unthinkable as that He can not."

The Apostle John said, "God is love" (I John 4:8). This succinct statement, along with its parallel one, "God is light" (I John 1:5 that is, God is holy) sums up the essential character of God, as revealed to us in the scriptures. Just as it is impossible in the very nature of God for Him to be anything but perfectly holy, so it is impossible for Him to be anything but perfectly good.

Because God is love, it is an essential part of His nature to do good and show mercy to His creatures. Psalm 145 speaks of His "abundant goodness," of His being "rich in love" and "good to all," of having "compassion on all He has made," and of being "loving toward all He has made" (Verses 7:9,17). Even in His role of Judge of rebellious men, He declares, "I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked" (Ezekiel 33:11).

When we are in the midst of adversity and, as it frequently seems to happen, calamity after calamity seems to be surging in upon us, we will be tempted to doubt God's love. Not only do we struggle with our own doubts, but Satan seizes these occasions to whisper accusations against God, such as, "If He loved you He wouldn't have allowed this to happen." Jerry Bridges speaking, "My own experience suggests that Satan attacks us far more in the area of God's love than either His sovereignty or His wisdom.

If God is perfect in His love and abundant in His goodness, how do we take a stand against our own doubts and the temptations of Satan to question the goodness of God? What truths about God do we need to store up in our hearts to use as weapons against temptations to doubt His love?

GOD'S LOVE AT CALVARY

THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THE MOST CONVINCING EVIDENCE OF GOD'S LOVE IN ALL OF SCRIPTURE IS HIS giving His Son to die for our sins.

I John 4:9-10 - This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

John said that God is love, and this is how He showed His love, by sending His Son to die for us. Our greatest need is not freedom from adversity. All the possible calamities that could occur in this life cannot be compared with the absolute calamity of eternal separation from God. Jesus said no earthly joy could compare with the eternal joy of our names written in heaven (see Luke 10:20). In like manner, no earthly adversity can compare with that awful calamity of God's eternal judgment in hell.

So when John said that God showed His love by sending His Son, he was saying God showed His love by meeting our greatest need ---- a need so great that no other need can even come close to it in comparison. If we want proof of God's love for us, then we must look first at the cross where God offered up His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. Calvary is the one objective, absolute,, irrefutable proof of God's love for us.

Any time we are tempted to doubt God's love for us, we should go back to the cross. We should reason somewhat in this fashion: If God loved me enough to give His Son to die for me when I was His enemy, surely He loves me enough to care for me now that am His child. Having loved me to the ultimate extent at the cross, He cannot possible fail to love me in my times of adversity. Having given such a priceless gift as His Son, surely He will also give all else that is consistent with His glory and my good.



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