February is the “love” month. With Valentine’s Day at the center, love is in
the air, and spring fever is not far behind. Hallmark loves it, flower shops
love it and candy stores bank on it. It’s fun and great and I am all for it. Yet
there is a love that transcends all of our festivities and holidays. It is the love
In Romans 5:8 we are told that the Holy Spirit pours out lavishly the love of God into our hearts. Like a torrential rain in the desert, His love gushes forth all over us. When the Holy Spirit regenerates us He pours the love that God has for us in our hearts and the effects continue to this present moment.
God’s love for us is unique (sui generis) i.e. in a class by itself. His unconditional love for us originates solely from the Giver and is independent of any merit or demerit of the recipient. It is not a conditional “I love you if you earn it.” It is not “I love you because” you have virtues that attract me. It is “I love you in spite of.” The love of God is not given because of the value and worth of the object but the object has value and worth because He loves us. God’s love does not depend upon or continue because of our reciprocity. It is His own relentless, tender passionate pursuit of a wayward indifferent people.
God has sitenstrated His kind of love for us in concrete, objective and historical events. Romans 5:6-8 tells us that “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” The Bible never says anywhere that “God helps those who help themselves,” but that God helps those who cannot help themselves. God is love by nature and His love breaks through both our passive indifference and our active rebellion. His love is the motive for our election, adoption, predestination and redemption (Ephesians 1:1-7). He accepts us totally in the Beloved.
We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Love is the great motivator in the Christian life. In 2 Corinthians 5:14ff Paul says that the love of Christ constrains us, which means it presses us together. It is pressure applied not so much to control as it is to cause action. To perceive the love of Christ for us leads us out of ourselves toward God and others. We experience a Copernican revolution; other-directed, self-giving love.
His perfect love for us casts out all fear. It expels it. Fear destroys intimacy. Love creates it and fosters it. We have access into His presence and the rock solid assurance that we are accepted by the One who matters most.
So how do we keep our love from waxing cold? How do we escape the piercing indictment from the mouth of Christ in Revelation 2:5 to the church at Ephesus, “Yet I hold this against you, you have left your first love?” There is only one way. We must live a cross-centered existence. We must frequently go to Calvary and relive the events of the crucifixion. We must remember it and meditate upon it. Only then will our hearts be softened, our wills be broken and our affections inflamed. The Holy Spirit will continue to pour the love of God into our hearts as He takes the things of Christ and shows them to us (John 14-16).