See How Much the Father Has Loved Us

Lisa Cooke

Lisa Cooke“See how much the Father has loved us! His love is so great that we are called God’s children—and so, in fact, we are” (1 John 3:1 GNT).

Among the many things I’m thinking about this holiday season is this mind-blowing truth that the God of all creation has called us His children. I am “beholding what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us” as the King James translates this verse. To behold is to see, “to feast your eyes on,” and what I want to be able to see with the eyes of my understanding is the grand meaning of His love toward us.

At Christmas we celebrate the fact that “God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” 1 John 4:9-10 (GNT) says “And God showed His love for us by sending His only Son into the world, so that we might have life through Him.This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven.”

I love how the New English Translation states Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God demonstrates His love for us by making what is impossible for us to do on our own possible simply by accepting the gift of His Son—the means by which our sins are forgiven.

These verses communicate to us the simple fact that God loves us and wants us to be His children. I don’t ever want to lose the wonder of this revelation for it is the basis of my relationship with Him. I didn’t first love Him…He first loved me and made every provision necessary for me to have the kind of relationship with Him that He desires.

Jesus, in John 17:23, is praying for His disciples. He says “I in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as You loved Me.”

When I read that last phrase, “…and loved them as You loved Me,” I am awestruck with the reality that we are loved by God as He loves Jesus. When it becomes our personal truth that God loves us as He loves Jesus, we are changed. It happens because we are accepted in the Beloved according to Ephesians 1:6.

Jesus again prays in John 17:26 “…that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

George Bowen in his wonderful book called “Love Revealed” says “We are to honor Christ by seeking for ourselves the things prominently mentioned in His promises and in this prayer. We are to magnify the efficacy of His blood by seeking to have His peace, His joy, His experience of the Father’s love.”

In the light of this, would it be too much to say that God the Father says of Christ in me, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased”? When we are truly one with Christ, God is still well-pleased. Christ in us is our hope of glory, after all.

It can be difficult to see ourselves as well pleasing to God or loved by God as He loves Christ, but this is what Scripture tells us. Seeing, or beholding the manner of love the Father has bestowed on us is an area where we need to repeatedly renew our minds. The Holy Spirit is with us to help us as we lean in to the revelation that God loves us even as He loves Christ. As we have been repeatedly told, His love for us is not based on our merit, but on Christ’s merit, and therefore we have been fully qualified to receive God’s love.

As I accept this love of God toward Christ in me, I must also love in the same way my brothers and sisters in Christ. They also, no matter how imperfectly or immaturely, have Christ in them and are thus deserving of the love of God shed abroad in my heart. George Bowen says “It will be treason to Christ if you turn away because of the evil yet unsubdued in the heart of your brother.” He goes on to say, “When we love the brethren with Christ’s own love, then will it be beyond all controversy that we are Christ’s.”

The way to love others is to see Christ in them, and realize that the love of the Father for Christ in me also loves Christ in others. The Father loves Christ wherever He finds Him! This requires a level of spiritual maturity that the Lord asks us to step up to, but be encouraged—He is “within us to will and do of His good pleasure.”

We must begin to “live loved” and as we do, our love toward ourselves and others will be the fruit of being so loved by God.