THE LOVE OF GOD
God’s children share His everlasting love. Oh! that the love of God was shed abroad more abundantly in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which is given unto us (Romans 5:5).
Its origin and duration should be pondered. It began before the birth of time. It will be fresh when time shall be no more. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). “The love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38,39). “God is love.” It is the very essence of His being. If it could expire, where would God exist?
Consider, also, its freeness. God loves not for anything seen or foreseen – known or foreknown – given or designed – destined or pledged. There neither is, nor can be, a moving cause independent of Himself. He loves, because He will love. The actuating motive, so to speak, is His own heart. This statement leaves nothing to be added.
Mark also, its never-varying brightness. It knows no mutability. “I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6). “With whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Man is fickle, as the restless wind. The Prince’s smile may be a frown tomorrow. The summer friend may freeze into a winter foe. Our perceptions of God’s love may indeed differ. A passing cloud may hide the sun; but its reality is the same – ”yesterday, and today, and forever.”
Its infinitude is an amazing thought. The heavens are high – but God’s love is higher. The ocean has vast depths, but it is deeper. Far is east from west, but its length has no horizon. We have no measure with which to estimate – no scales to weigh – no line to fathom it. No tongue can tell – no thought conceive – its boundless boundlessness. If happiness exists, it surely must be theirs who are encircled by this love.
Consider as well, its gift. We are enriched with the gift of gifts – the largest and the best, which Heaven could grant. God gives His co-eternal and co-equal Son, Christ Jesus the Lord. If worlds upon worlds with all their treasures, beauties, glories, had been piled into one pyramid, it would have been as the small dust of the balance, when weighed against this portion. Each one can truly say, “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine” (Song of Solomon 6:3). Christ – all that Christ is – all that Christ has – is granted as an inalienable possession.
What happiness results! He is the everlasting Father – we are begotten by the Word of His truth. “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee” (Isaiah 49:15); but Jesus is “a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). His life belongs to His people, that they may live forever. His death is theirs, that the second death may touch them not. His blood is theirs, to wash them whiter than the whitest snow. His wounds are theirs, their hiding-place from wrath. His stripes are theirs, their healing balsam. His righteousness is theirs, their fit robe for the courts of Heaven. His prayers are theirs, that every blessing may be obtained. His advocacy is theirs, to silence the accuser’s voice. His whole work is theirs, that they may be forever saved. His glory is theirs, that they may be like Him, as He is. Is not this all-surpassing happiness?
THE LION HAS ROARED –
God’s Alarm Call
By: Michael Hobbis
CW Committee Member
All in a matter of a few weeks, a virulent virus spreads over the globe. The pandemic Coronavirus – Covid 19 – has caused widespread disruption in every nation it has visited, many are calling these ‘unprecedented times’, times when the medical services have been stretched, often beyond capacity, in terms of hospital beds, staff and equipment. The price of oil, man’s liquid gold, has for the first time in its history reached negative territory. To add to these calamities the world’s economies are in danger of a great, possibly the greatest, recession ever.
When the Bible, the Word of the Living God, in the book of Amos speaks of the “lion roaring”; what does this mean? It means that God by The Lord Jesus Christ who is also called in Scripture “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah”, has roared out a warning to the inhabitants of the earth. How? By His acts of Providence in temporal judgements, we may say chastisements. Amos which speaks much of these Divine acts declares: “the lion has roared, who will not fear?”
It should be remembered that Almighty God who has sent out this warning holds in the hollow of His Hand all His creation and all events be they great or small. Lest any should ascribe these things to chance or the ‘natural way of things’, He asks by Amos: “Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?” The Puritans in the time of the black death had no doubt as to who had sent such a plague!
Nothing it seems is more likely to incur the wrath of God than to ignore, or be oblivious, of these merciful warnings from our Creator. The word unprecedented seems to be an overused word now, but little else can describe these times, particularly this enforced silence of ‘lock down’ which envelopes the globe. Some are drawing a comparison with these events – not without some justification – with those of the divine plagues which were visited upon Egypt before the final release of the Jews out of captivity.
The Withdrawal of the privileges of the Church
If the virus and its attendant ‘lock down’ of persons, businesses, shops and economies be so remarkable and unique in the history of the world; let us now consider the parallel case which can only have come to pass by an awesome and terrible Divine Fiat, and that is the lock down of all the churches. (I speak here only of the professing churches of Christ). It is a troubling aspect of this pandemic that there seems to be a reticence of some ministers in the churches to boldly point out to their congregations, and a wicked world, that these calamities are sent in the providence of God as a warning: for surely few would deny today that such evil, and depravity walk on every side, and when even the vilest men, such as sodomites are exalted.
Necessity is laid upon all preachers of the gospel to make known to the people what are the intentions of the Lord in regard to this pandemic; viz. that they should turn from their sin without delay and accept the mercy of God, which in His longsuffering has been held out to them for over 2000 years. To quote the commentator Matthew Henry on Amos 3:
“The threatenings of the Word and the providence of God are not bugbears to frighten children and fools but are certain presages of the judgement of God.”
It is a sure sign of the drift and decline in the churches that many leaders and ministers of the gospel cannot discern the secret intentions of God in His acts of Divine interference in the world. Not to discern such providential judgements which are clear to those who love righteousness and truth, is a signal evidence of a form of spiritual blindness and declension in faith.
Not only is there a ‘lock down’ in general society in order that men might have “space for repentance”, but also we of the church of our Lord Jesus Christ have had removed from us our privileges of assembly together for worship, praise, ministry and the act of remembrance and communion in the Lord’s Supper. Never has such a tragedy been visited on the churches.