In What Way Is God’s Love For Us Most Clearly Seen?

If you focus on God and all that he is for us in Jesus, you will never again thirst or go spiritually hungry or lack for the joy that your soul most deeply desires.

If God is to love my wife, Ann, optimally, in the most superlative way possible, he must bestow or impart to her the best gift he has, the greatest prize, the most precious treasure, the most exalted and worthy thing within his power to give. That gift, of course, is himself. Is there anything better than God that God can give her? No. Nothing in the universe is as beautiful and captivating and satisfying as God!

 

Last week I posted an article in which I argued that if God is going to love us in the fullest and highest manner, he must seek from us the praise and adoration of all that he is. It is a portrayal of God in Scripture (see John 4:23) that almost destroyed C. S.  Lewis’s faith. Today I want to continue thinking on this theme. So let me begin with an illustration.

If God is to love my wife, Ann, optimally, in the most superlative way possible, he must bestow or impart to her the best gift he has, the greatest prize, the most precious treasure, the most exalted and worthy thing within his power to give. That gift, of course, is himself. Is there anything better than God that God can give her? No. Nothing in the universe is as beautiful and captivating and satisfying as God!

It isn’t enough that God gives to Ann a Snickers when she’s hungry or good health instead of disease or a new car when the old one breaks down. Even though she may take great delight in a new diamond ring, such a gift could never be an expression of God’s greatest love and affection for her. This isn’t to say these things aren’t wonderful. Of course, they are. But they pale in comparison with God himself.

So, if God loves her, he will give himself to her and then work in her soul to awaken her to his beauty and all-sufficiency. In other words, he will strive by all manner and means to intensify and expand and enlarge her joy in him. All of which is to say, and I owe this thought to John Piper, that God’s love for Ann is seen not in him making much of her, but in him graciously enabling her to enjoy making much of him forever.

So God comes to Ann in the person of Jesus Christ and says: “Here I am in all my glory. Look at me. Behold me. Study me. See me. Explore me. I am incomparable, infinite, immeasurable, and unsurpassed. So, be satisfied with me! Enjoy me! Celebrate who I am! Experience the height and depth and width and breadth of savoring and relishing me!”

Does that sound like God pursuing his own glory? Yes. But it also sounds like God loving my wife perfectly and passionately. The only way it is not real love is if there is something for Ann better than God: something more beautiful than God that he can show her, something more pleasing and satisfying than God with which he can fill her heart, something more glorious and majestic than God with which she can occupy herself for eternity. But there is no such thing! Anywhere! Ever!

If I stood on the platform of Bridgeway Church week after week and said to the people in attendance: “Bridgeway, men and women, young and old, my aim in all that I do is to get you to tell me and everyone else how unbelievably great and good and glorious I am. So come on. Praise me. Adore me. Spread the fame of Sam Storms far and wide. Tell others what they are missing by not being here. Explain to them all of my attributes and personality traits and be sure you convince them that no one can compare with me.”

If I did that, at minimum they should get up and walk out and never return. Perhaps even better, they should openly rebuke me, mock me, laugh at me, and then do whatever they could to get me institutionalized in a psychiatric hospital as an incurable megalomaniac of the worst possible sort. If you’re not familiar with the word “megalomania”, the Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “delusion about one’s own power or importance” (889).

So, if that is how they should treat me should I dare to make such claims for myself, how does God escape the same judgment? Why he does he get off the hook? Why don’t we mock him as a colossal megalomaniac? Why shouldn’t God be vilified and rejected? Why shouldn’t we take offense at him in the same way they would take offense at me?

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