In the chapter “Study Love,” from Love or Die: Christ’s Wake-Up Call to the Church Revelation 2:4. Alexander Strauch writes:
“If you want to pursue love, you must read and study what God says about love in his written Word. You will then grow in the knowledge of love and in the knowledge of God and Christ whom we are to love above all others. Nothing but God’s Word and Spirit can awaken our desire to love and transform our sinfully selfish hearts to love as Christ loves.”1
There are fifty texts he considers to be key Bible passages on love. I agree so emphatically with him on the vital importance of love in the church, I’m posting one each Sunday, and I may include some verses to provide context or combine or even add a few. Pray, read and study the passage; ask God to transform your heart to know Him and His love and to love others.
The passage for this week is another from Deuteronomy, a book in which Moses is speaking to the people of Israel. Dr. Gleason Archer writes:
“…Moses is not simply explaining what the laws of God are, but he is earnestly enjoining them upon the consciences of his people, and urging them to take with utmost seriousness God’s call to a holy life.”2
This week’s text is taken from the discourse Dr. Archer titles, “Steadfast obedience and constant grateful remembrance of God’s dealings.”3
“Yahweh did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because Yahweh loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, Yahweh brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
The phrase set His love translates a Hebrew word meaning be attached to, love.2 In his discussion of this word, Dr. Leonard Coppes writes that it:
“…emphasizes that which attaches to something or someone; in the case of emotions (to which the biblical usage is limited) it is that love which is already bound to its object….
“A deep inward attachment (in a positive sense) is descriptive of God’s love of Israel (Deut 10:15). He was bound to them of his own volition (love) and not because of anything good or desirable in them (Deut 7:7). It is to God’s attachment (love) that Hezekiah attributes his deliverance (Isa 38:17). This is the love that will not let go.”4
God’s love for His own is a love of His own volition. God’s love for His own is the love that will not let go.
Now look at these verses from the New Testament. The first two are from Paul’s letters to the church at Thessalonica.
“…knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you; for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction”
1 Thessalonians 1:4–5
“But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.”
2 Thessalonians 2:13
Christians are beloved by God; we are chosen by God. Because of anything good or desirable in us? Read this from Paul’s letter to the church at Rome:
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
While we were sinners, enemies of God, of His own volition He loved us and demonstrated His love toward us through the death of His Son. Paul writes of God’s great love for us to the church at Ephesus:
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Can we be separated from God’s love? Paul tells the church at Rome:
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,
“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God’s love for His own is the love that will not let go.
May God’s mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you in 2012.
I share my story of how I came to believe in Jesus in My Witness, found above in the bar at the bottom of the header.
Posts in the series:
1. “Love or Die”
2. “The Sermon On The Name”
3. “Love Your Neighbor As Yourself”
4. The Great Commandment
5. “The Love That Will Not Let Go”
Heart-[foto & Concept by paul b. toman], Plismo: Creative Commons Attribution
1Alexander Strauch, Love or Die: Christ’s Wake-Up Call to the Church Revelation 2:4 (Lewis & Roth, Littleton CO) 27, 31.
2, 3Gleason Archer, “Deuteronomy,” A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, Revised Edition (Moody Press, Chicago: 1964, 1974) 252, 251.
4Leonard J. Coppes, “773 חָשַׁק (ḥāshaq),” Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., Bruce K. Waltke, eds. (Moody Press, Chicago: 1980) vol. 1, 332.
In “The Sermon On The Name” I explain the use of Yahweh rather than LORD.
Original content: Copyright ©2012 Iwana Carpenter