Category Archives: Love of God

“A Christian” by Herman Bavinck

“A Christian has found his standpoint in the promises of God’s grace in Christ. The foundations of his hope are fixed, for they lie outside him in God’s Word, which will never be moved. He doesn’t need to constantly examine the genuineness and strength of the foundation on which the building of his salvation has been built.

He is a child of God not on the basis of all kinds of inner experiences but on the basis of the promises of the Lord. Assured of this, he can now freely look around and enjoy all the good gifts and the perfect gift that descends from the Father of lights. Everything is his because he is Christ’s and Christ is God’s. The whole world becomes material for his duty.

Religious life does have its own content and independent value. It remains the center, the heart from which all the Christian’s thoughts and acts proceed, by which they are animated and given the warmth of life. There, in fellowship with God, he is strengthened for his labors and girds himself for the battle.

But that mysterious life of fellowship with God is not the whole of life. The prayer chamber is the inner room, although it is not the whole house in which he lives and functions. Spiritual life does not exclude family and social life, business and politics, art and science. It is distinct from these; it is also of much greater value, but it does not stand irreconcilably opposed to it. Rather it is the power that enables us to faithfully fulfill our earthly calling, stamping all of life as service to God.

The Kingdom of God is, to be sure, like a pearl more precious than the whole world, but it is also like a leaven that leavens the entire dough. Faith isn’t only the way of salvation, it also involves overcoming the world. The Christian, as he is drawn in Scripture and as he speaks in the Heidelberg Catechism, stands and works in this conviction. Reconciled with God, he is also reconciled with all things. Because in the Father of Christ he confesses the Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, he cannot be small-hearted and constricted in his affections.

For God Himself so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. And this Son came to earth not to condemn the world but to save it. In His cross heaven and earth are reconciled. Under Him all things shall be gathered together with Him as head.

The history of all things proceeds according to His counsel toward the redemption of the church as the new humanity, toward the liberation of the world in an organic sense, toward the new heaven and the new earth. Even now, by rights, everything in principle belongs to the church, because it is Christ’s and Christ is God’s. As a priest in the temple of the Lord, he who believes this is king over the whole earth.

Because he is a Christian, he is a human in the full, true sense. He loves the flowers that grow at his feet and admires the stars that sparkle overhead. He does not disdain the arts, which are to him a precious gift from God. Nor does he belittle the sciences, for these, too, are a gift from the Father of lights. He believes that everything God has created is good and that, taken in thanksgiving, nothing is condemned.

He labors not for success and doesn’t work for wages, but he does what comes to hand, seeing, by means of God’s commandments, though ignorant of what the future may bring. He does good works without thinking twice and bears fruit before he realizes it. He is like a flower that spreads its fragrance unawares.

He is, in a word, a man of God, perfectly equipped to all good works. And while for him to live is Christ, in the end to die is gain.”

—Herman Bavinck, The Certainty of Faith, trans. Harry der Nederlanden (St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada: Paideia Press, 1891/1980), 95-97.

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“The infinite sweetnesses of love and kindnesses that lie at the bottom of God’s heart” by Thomas Goodwin

“So Christ is too the love of God (1 John 4:16) where God is said to be love, not in respect of what He is in Himself, but in what He is to us in giving His Son.

‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.’ (John 3:16) And not only so, but He who Himself was God ‘laid down His life for us’ (1 John 3:16), sinners, enemies, which all commend that love (Rom. 5).

And thus is the love of God made manifest to the utmost (1 John 4:9) that whereas none could see the infinite love of God as it is in Himself— nor can, nor could anyone ever have come to have fathomed the infinite sweetnesses of love and kindnesses that lie at the bottom of God’s heart.

Therefore God, to express the utmost of it, gave Christ, that in the love of Christ we might comprehend the height, the breadth, the depth of that love that yet passeth knowledge (Eph. 3:19).”

–Thomas Goodwin, “A Discourse on the Glory of the Gospel,” The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Volume 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage, 1862/2006), 4: 268.

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“If you are united to Christ, you are as good as in heaven already” by Dane Ortlund

“Christ died, placarding before you the love of God.

If you are in Christ– and only a soul in Christ would be troubled at offending Him– your waywardness does not threaten your place in the love of God any more than history itself can be undone.

The hardest part has been accomplished. God has already executed everything needed to secure your eternal happiness, and He did that while you were an orphan.

Nothing can now un-child you.

Not even you.

Those in Christ are eternally imprisoned within the tender heart of God.

We will be less sinful in the next life than we are now, but we will not be any more secure in the next life than we are now.

If you are united to Christ, you are as good as in heaven already.”

–Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020), 194-195.

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“The best proof that He will never cease to love us” by Geerhardus Vos

“In the unlimitable round of His timeless existence we have never been absent from nor uncared for by Him.

The best proof that He will never cease to love us lies in that He never began.

What we are for Him and what He is for us belongs to the realm of eternal values.

Without this we are nothing, in it we have all.”

–Geerhardus Vos, “Jeremiah’s Plaint and Its Answer,” Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos (ed. Richard B. Gaffin Jr.; Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing, 2001), 298. Vos is commenting on God’s words in Jeremiah 31:3, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”

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“Let us delight in the knowledge of Christ crucified” by Stephen Charnock

“Let us delight in the knowledge of Christ crucified, and be often in the thoughts and study of Him. Study Christ, not only as living, but dying; not as breathing in our air, but suffering in our stead; know Him as a victim, which is the way to know Him as a conqueror.

Christ as crucified is the great object of faith. All the passages of His life, from His nativity to His death, are passed over in the Creed without reciting, because, though they are things to be believed, yet the belief of them is not sufficient without the belief of the cross: in that alone was our redemption wrought.

Had He only lived, He had not been a Saviour. If our faith stop in His life, and do not fasten upon His blood, it will not be a justifying faith.

His miracles, which prepared the world for His doctrine, His holiness, which fitted Himself for His suffering, had been insufficient for as without the addition of the cross.

Without the cross, we had been under the demerit of our crimes, the venom of our natures, the slavery of our sins, and the tyranny of the devil; without the cross, we should forever have had God for our enemy, and Satan for our executioner; without the cross, we had lain groaning under the punishment of our transgressions, and despaired of any smile from heaven.

It was this death which as a sacrifice appeased God, and as a price redeemed us. Nothing is so strong to encourage us, nothing so powerful to purify us. How can we be without thinking of it!

The world we live in had fallen upon our heads, had it not been upheld by the pillar of the cross, had not Christ stepped in and promised a satisfaction for the sin of man.

By this all things consist. Not a blessing we enjoy but may put us in mind of it. They were all forfeited by our sins, but merited by his precious blood.

If we study it well, we shall be sensible how God hated sin and loved a world; how much he would part with to restore a fallen creature. He showed an irresistible love to us.”

–Stephen Charnock, “The Knowledge of Christ Crucified,” The Works of Stephen Charnock, Volume 4 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1865/2010), 4: 504.

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“Let me love You” by Augustine of Hippo

“Let me remember You,

let me understand You,

let me love You.

Increase these things in me

until You refashion me entirely.”

–Augustine of Hippo, The Trinity, The Works of Saint Augustine, Vol. 5, Ed. John Rotelle (Brooklyn, NY: New City Press, 1991), 436. (XV.28.51)

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“A weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain” by C.S. Lewis

“To be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son— it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is.”

–C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory,” in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (New York: Harper Collins, 1949/2001), 39.

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