The Measure of God’s Love
Posted April 2, 2023
For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, Paul said that God did do by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. The law could point out the transgressions of mankind, but the law could not justify us. So, God gave His only begotten Son to justify us in our transgressions against Him. Do you understand the measure of God’s love for you by Him offering up His only begotten Son as not just your sacrifice but all of our sacrifice?
God Gives His All in All
Many of us fail to understand the love we have received; many cannot fathom (understand) why God loves us in the first place, nonetheless try to understand the depth of God’s love.
Again, I say to you that God is love and in His love there are no half measures. As we have seen in recent weeks, God is always with us as He has never forsaken us. The Lord, we know, suffers long and He bears with us in all of our disobedience when we don’t even deserve it.
God gives us His all, and frankly, we could not ask for better but yet, here we are today where some of us are completely disregarding His love. The problem we have is that many of us fail to understand the effort that God has put into blessing us. We are like children that have been heavily spoiled by their parents but don’t seem to understand all their parents did to give them everything. So, because we fail to understand God’s efforts towards us, we fail to understand the full measure of God’s love for us.
Measure of God’s love
On a day that should be celebrated by all with shouts of Hosanna, I feel that we need to fully see the measure of God’s love in order to fully appreciate the love we have received.
From my key verse, Paul spoke about how God sent His only begotten Son as a sacrifice in the flesh for mankind’s sin. When we say that Jesus is our offering to the Lord, I want you to understand that He wasn’t just any kind of offering to God; He was sent to be our propitiation.
To the church in Rome, Paul wrote that the Father set forth Christ as our propitiation by His blood to pass over sin so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Rom. 3:25-26). Jesus is both our Passover sacrifice and our atonement offering as well.
You see, the blood of Jesus covers the “doorposts” of our soul and marks us as being under His protection. Jesus’ blood has been sprinkled throughout the Most Holy Place and its altars to make atonement for our sin. At the same time, Jesus has also become our scapegoat by taking on all of the sins we committed yesterday, today, and will commit tomorrow.
So, I ask, what kind of love would sacrifice His own son for all of us undeserving sinners? Understand: the measure of God’s love is too great to be measured! When I say to you that God’s love for us cannot be measured, I tell you that this is the case because He has given us His all in all!
The Depth of God’s Love
For us to understand the great depth of the measure of God’s love, I want to attempt to put us in His shoes. To do this, we are going to take a look at scripture from Genesis 22:1-14.
Testing the faith of Abraham
In this passage of scripture we take a look at Abraham, after Isaac had been born, being tested by God (Gen. 22:1). Something I feel I must be clear about is this test from God. In James’ letter, he wrote that the Lord does not tempt – test/provoke – anyone (Jas. 1:13). Clearly, scripture states that God was testing Abraham so was James wrong in what he said about God not tempting (testing) anyone?
To be clear, James was speaking about the notion that God will tempt us to do wrong (to sin). On that notion, God will not tempt you to sin – to disobey Him – because He, Himself, cannot be tempted by evil; God is incapable to sin! The only thing God knows how to do is to be faithful because being faithful is His nature. With that in mind, God’s test for Abraham was to gauge Abraham’s faithfulness.
How did God gauge Abraham’s faithfulness? Scripture tells us that God called for Abraham to take his only son, Isaac, and offer him as a burnt offering to Him (Gen. 22:2). So, in other words, Abraham was to sacrifice his only son. I hope the parallel that I am trying to draw is not lost on you.
We learned in a Sunday School lesson during the fall – Obedience in Offerings – that burnt offerings were offered up as a sign of being committed to God. So, this, again, reiterates the fact that God was gauging Abraham’s commitment (faithfulness). If the Lord called you to offer up your children or a loved one to gauge your faithfulness, would you be able to do it?
Depth of the test for Abraham
Now, some may point out that Isaac was not Abraham’s ‘only’ son which is certainly true. Yes, Abraham already had another son – Ishmael. Abraham had Ishmael with Hagar who Sarah, his wife, gave to him since she was barren (Gen. 16:1-4). Ishmael, however, was not the son of promise; that was Isaac whom God had promised to Abraham and Sarah (Gen. 17:15-19).
By that point in time, neither Ishmael nor Hagar was with Abraham because of Sarah’s anger towards them (Gen. 21:9-14). So, at that point, we could say that by a couple of ways Isaac was Abraham’s only child; he was the only child Abraham had with Sarah, and he was also the only child living under Abraham’s care. With that in mind, Abraham’s love for Isaac was truly great.
To understand the depth of Abraham’s love for Isaac, we have to remember the difficulty Abraham and Sarah went through to have him. After years of trying and praying, Abraham and Sarah were unable to have children to the point that Sarah had given up all hope. When God said that she would have a child, both Abraham and Sarah laughed because he was 100 and she was 90 (Gen. 17:17, 18:12)! So, when she conceived and gave birth to Isaac, imagine how joyful that was for them!
Now, while you imagine the great joy and love that Abraham would have for Isaac, imagine the air sinking out of you as God asks you to offer up your loved one who you love deeply as a sign of commitment. So, before some of us rush to say that we would give up a loved one to show our commitment to God, let us understand the depth of what we would be giving up; this is what Abraham was being called to give up.
The fact of the matter is that many of us are slow to offer up a couple of hours one day of the week to the Lord! The fact of the matter is that many of us are slow to offer up a couple of minutes to pray to the Lord at least once a day! The truth is that many of us spend little time actually being diligent in walking in our faith in the Lord!
You see, a lot of us struggle with sacrificing our way for putting God first in our life! If we cannot show that we are committed to the Lord in these matters, how could we dare think that we would offer up a loved one to God when we can’t offer up ourselves?
A difficult offering
As we look back at scripture, we are told that Abraham moved the very next morning to offer up his only son (Gen. 22:3). Because we can sympathize with the depth of what Abraham was being called to do, I believe you will agree with me when I suggest this was not easy for Abraham. Yes, Abraham was moving in faith but it was not easy; I believe all of us have had times where we moved in faith but it was difficult to do so.
I say that offering up Isaac wasn’t easy for Abraham to do because on the three day journey, the feeling was very somber as little talking is recorded in scripture over the journey. Even when he took Isaac with him to the place where he would make his offering, it was Isaac that started up the conversation (Gen. 22:7).
When Isaac could see the spot for the offering, he noticed and then said to Abraham that there was no lamb for the burnt offering. Abraham somberly responded, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering (Gen. 22:8).” This a comforting sentiment from Abraham as he knew what he had been called to do, but he did not want to alarm his son.
When Abraham brought Isaac to the place to offer him up, we still see him moving somberly as he built the altar, tied Isaac up, and laid him on top of the altar (Gen. 22:9). Again, just imagine what was going through Abraham’s mind at this point – there was nothing easy about what he was doing but he was committed to God! As he began to take his knife to slay his only son, God called out and interceded with a ram in the thicket (Gen. 22:10-13).
God’s Great Love for Mankind
I say to you, again, I hope that the parallel of this test and offering from Abraham is not lost on you. There is something that we celebrate on this day, and do you realize what it is that we celebrate? We are celebrating that God sent us His only begotten Son to be our offering. Jesus, I want you to understand, is the Lord saying that He is committed to us!
Earlier in this series of sermons – God is Love Series – I said something in that sermon that I hope stuck with you. What did I say? I said that the love God has for us runs deep! In other words, the measure of God’s love for us runs deep!
Let’s first consider this: has God called on you to offer up your loved ones to wipe away your sin and to show that you’re committed to Him? Absolutely not. Let’s then consider this: has God called on you to offer up your blood for yourself or for your loved ones to wipe away all of you all’s sins and to stand as a sign of commitment? Nope.
God has not called on us or anybody else to burn on an altar as a sign of our faithfulness. Hear this clearly, God has not called on us to literally sacrifice our blood as a sign of our faithfulness to Him! Why is this the case? You see, this is the case because God sent His Son and only called for us to have faith in Him.
The great depth of God’s love
Now, to understand the measure of God’s love, let’s tie God to the parallel to Abraham offering up Isaac, his only son. When we think of God as we have thought of Abraham, we can sympathize and better understand the measure of love that God had for His only begotten Son.
I believe that for a long time we have thought very lightly of the Father loving His only begotten Son. In scripture, we repeatedly see where the Father says, “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased (Matt. 3:17, 17:5).” When we see the Father say that, let us understand that He isn’t saying that for the sake of saying it! I feel that we often believe it was easy for the Father to give up His only begotten Son.
However, after taking a look at the struggle of Abraham giving up Isaac, I would suggest that it was not easy for the Father to give up His only begotten Son for us! I want you to understand that it was not easy for the Father to listen to His Son asking for the cup to be removed from Him. I don’t believe it was easy for the Father to watch His Son enter into Jerusalem to be offered up. I tell you that it was not easy for the Father to watch His only begotten Son be nailed to the cross and offered up.
At the point where the Lord stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac, the Father did not take His Son off the altar – the cross. No matter how much the people scoffed and mocked Jesus while He hung on the cross, the Father did not tell the Son to get down. Even when Jesus cried out for the Father as He was becoming sin, for us, the Father did not tell Him to get off the cross. When Jesus cried out wondering why the Father had forsook Him (Matt. 27:46), the Father still did not stop the offering!
Can you imagine how hard all of this was for the Father? So, why would the Father do this? What measure of love does the Father have that would lead Him to sacrificing His Son for our sins? It is the measure of love that sees us, even though we are sinners, as His children as well.
Fully committed to His children
God to us is that loving parent that moves everything to make sure that we are cared for! Yes, when we do wrong He is going to get on us but, at the same time, when the devil comes laughing at us, God don’t put up with it! God gave and still gives us His all in all because He is fully committed to all of us, His children.
To the Romans, Paul wrote, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father (Rom. 8:15-16).” In his gospel, John wrote that as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12).
Do you understand that we, all of us who are of genuine faith, were once the lost children of God. Jesus said that He was sent not to be served, “but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28).” So, God allowed the sacrifice of His only begotten Son to pay the ransom to get all of us back through our faith in Him.
Again Paul wrote that since we have become the children of God, we are also heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ where we will be glorified with Him (Rom. 8:17). So take the depth of the Father’s love for His only begotten Son and share that love with all of those who faith in the Father and the Son. The measure of God’s love for us is so great that He gave His only begotten Son though it may have hurt Him.
Again, the Lord did this because He made an everlasting covenant with us and Himself to save us. The Lord gave His only begotten Son in order to fulfill the great desire He has to dwell with all of His children for all of eternity. In this grand desire, the Lord went all out for us and, again, I say that we should appreciate the immeasurable depth of His effort — His love.