So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16 ESV
This is a subject that hits close to home for me. Being raised in a family setting where my real father left when I was six months old; and my step father detested my sister and I. My mother was always on drugs or in a rehab hospital, and my sister and I were constantly in foster homes. And then finally coming home one day at age nine to a waiting car to take me to a children’s home because my parents had given me up for adoption.
I cried myself to sleep every night for two years. And it affected me the rest of my life. A person does not realize how much their upbringing molds them into the person they will become. I was molded to believe that I wasn’t loved and that no one could ever love me. So my life was very “performance-driven.” I had to earn peoples’ love. My view of love was so skewed and wacky, that I had no earthly (let alone a heavenly) idea of what real love was.
It took a miracle for this truth to reach me. And it took a wife who could see past all the hurt and help lead me to love. To this day I still struggle with the issue of God’s love for me and towards me…and if I do, then I know that others do also. Saints, in case you don’t know, satan hates us with a passion. We will inherit all that was his at one time. He has the mindset that if he can’t have it, then he wants no one else to have it either.
And because he is the father of lies, then he will lie to us and tell us that God is against us and not for us – or that God really doesn’t love us – or he uses our childhood, our past failures, and anything else to convince us that our identity in Christ is not what God’s Word says it is. For years I believed his lies…yes, even as a Christian. For what model did I have anything to compare it with? I grew up totally unloved, rejected as a child, and lived in children’s homes until I was 18 years old.
But if you look closely at the opening verse of this article, you will notice the phrase “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.” The words “have come to know” denote a process of time. How is anything known? By a process of time.
I am a General Contractor, and it took years of learning, reading, and actual building experience to become very comfortable with building a project. Now I will build anything. Why? Because my knowledge in this area has increased to the level that I understand building. A good builder is just one who builds it according to the blueprint. He doesn’t deviate from the blueprint. If he feels there is a problem, then he goes and talks to the architect. It’s very rare that the architect is wrong…it’s usually a small detail on the print that has been overlooked, or a detail in the spec-book that was overlooked. So I have learned over the years to spend more time pouring over the blueprint and making many notes.
In the same way, we can become very comfortable in our walk and our service with the Lord and to the Lord. Because He is the chief Architect who is never wrong…and His blueprint (the Bible) has addressed every detail known to man. If there is a problem, it’s always because we’ve overlooked the details of it which are found in His Word. A solid building cannot be built without a foundation. And a foundation has to be inspected by a city inspector.
Ephesians chapter two calls the word of God a foundation. So if your foundation is solid, then a building can be built upon it. And a foundation is built upon footings.
In the building world this is the process: the ground is prepared to within a 97% density compaction ratio. This means that the dirt has to be compacted to almost 100% compaction. And I have a company come out and test this compaction. They stick a probe in the ground and it reads the resistance that the ground gave as he put it in. Then my footings are built. These are flat concrete slabs with lots of rebar in them. And before I can pour concrete in these formed up footings, I have to have an inspector come look at them. He is looking for four things: test results of the soil density, depth of the footings, the size and placement of the rebar, and the psi mix of the concrete itself that is going into the footings. And guess where the inspector gets all this information from? The structural pages of the blueprint.
Then I can pour the footings. And when those dry, I can build the foundation walls (and bearing walls) on top of these footings. And even my foundation walls have to be inspected before we fill them in with concrete. The main thing the inspector is looking at now is the rebar in the wall and the rebar ties at all angles and corners. He knows that it’s the rebar that really holds everything together. In like manner, the Word of God is the rebar that ties everything in your spiritual life together. And believe me, the inspector (God, through His Word) is going to be checking on you to make sure you’re building according to the “print.”
In the summer of 1981, two walkways at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City fell, killing 114 people, and injuring over 200 others. It fell because there was not enough rebar in the walkways, and the second floor walkway was suspended by bars that came down from the fourth floor walkway. The weight of all the people on the second floor walkway broke the box-beam c-channel joints at the fourth floor, which fell straight down onto the second floor walkway, which in turn fell down onto the people on the main floor.
The investigators found that the original structural details were not followed on these two walkways. In the original design the fourth floor was carried by its own cross-beams, while the weight of the second floor walkway was suspended from large rods that came down from the roof purlins. Corners were cut. Intersecting joints were not reinforced, etc. And 114 people slipped into eternity in a moment of time.
We can’t change it up because we don’t like the design of it. The Master Architect has drawn up these plans, and has accounted for every foreseeable building failure. If we decide to do it the easier way (as Havens Steel did in the Kansas City fiasco) instead of God’s original plan…then there is only injury to ourselves, others, and death awaiting us on the walkway of life.
In the same way, your “footing” with God has to be secure and built the right way. Because the foundation you’re going to build on it has to last forever. That’s why the Word of God is our inspector. The Word comes and puts a flashlight on everything and inspects it for cracks, reinforcement, etc. And if you can pass this inspection, then you can go on the next phase of building which is your foundation. And then ultimately the building is built on top of that.
The point in all of this is that if something is wrong in the beginning stages, the results can become fatal even after it is all built and moved into. The love of God towards us is a foundational piece of rebar (so-to-speak) in the building of who we are…as a person individually and as the corporate Church as a whole. And it took me years to see this truth.
God loves me regardless of who I am and what I’ve done. He doesn’t love me any more if I pray more, or if I read the Bible more. This is performance-based love. Love can’t be earned. Love is given. God wants us to pray more and He wants us to read the bible more…not so that HE will love us more, but so that we might love Him more!!! It is for our spiritual benefit that we do these things. He said that if we will draw close unto Him, then He will draw close unto us. He’s waiting on us to love Him more. Is this making sense? I can’t earn God’s love by working at trying to get it. His love is already there…I JUST HAVE TO BELIEVE IT!!! The scripture says we have “believed the love.” Do you believe the love? Well, you can’t believe the love until you first know the love. “So we have come to know and to believe the love…”
It’s not enough to believe. Many people believe in vain (that’s what 1 Cor. 15:2 says). We have to know the love. The Holy Spirit doesn’t leave something this important to us to figure out. He tells us in the next three words what the love is: God is love. So then, to know God is to know love. And why is this? Because God IS love. And if you really know that God is love…then you will believe that love that God has for us and towards us.
Let us close with a few verses and some quick remarks on those verses:
- For I know what I have planned for you, says the LORD. I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. Jer. 29:11
- Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? Romans 8:33-35
- And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Notice in the second passage that no one can bring a charge against us before God. Not another man, not another demon, not even satan himself can anymore. The days of satan appearing before God like in the days of Job are over. Jesus said that also. He beheld satan fall as lightening from heaven. That’s how fast he was cast out after the resurrection of Christ. And no one can condemn you or me…only ourselves. NOTHING or NO ONE can separate us from His love. We separate ourselves from it when we sin and backslide.
And in the last passage please notice that all things do work together for good…but only for a certain group of people, “those who love God.” Not all Christians love God. To see which Christians really love God and His Son, please read John 14 and also 1st John.
I would encourage all to really meditate on these two verses found in Proverbs 24:3-4:
Through wisdom a house is built,
And by understanding it is established;
By knowledge the rooms are filled
With all precious and pleasant riches.