So, how does one define God’s Love?
I would like to propose that there are two primary ways of going about it. Both are dependent upon where one begins.
For instance, let’s say I’m in the God “saved a wretch like me” category. I am the lost son, or lost sheep, or lost coin that consumes all God’s attention until I am found by God. I am so lost in the world’s darkness I could never find my out of it on my own. Jesus is the one God sends to find me. Jesus being the “light of the world” guides me out the darkness. After being found, I experience God’s Love for me in a very real, very tangible way. I can document the journey from dark to light. That becomes my witness to the world. In return, I give my life to following him.
In this scenario, God’s Love is very personal, as if it were meant only for me. The experience of being found or shown the light is intense and transformational. Since this is how I come to know God’s Love, my experience becomes that which defines the only way anyone can know God’s Love. If you cannot tell me about your personal encounter with Jesus you must live in darkness. Then, I am compelled to bring the light of Christ to you. I ask, “My brother, my sister, are you saved? Let me tell you about my Jesus.”
This is one, but only one, way of defining God’s Love. People experiencing such a personal, tangible, and life-transforming experience know the Love of God. That cannot be denied. It’s personal, me and God.
What so many ignore is the corporate dimension of God’s Love. I would argue that it’s the corporate dimension of God’s love that was God’s true intent all along.
In my experience, people who cannot see beyond the personal salvation dimension of God’s Love is like someone trying to descibe to you what it’s like to live in California when they have never traveled more than ten miles away from their home in eastern Kentucky. They may report one or two things that happen to be consistent with the life experience of Californians, but it would be quite a stretch to consider them a credible resource on life in California. As the old saying goes, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
That’s probably a bit unfair, but the point is if one limits the scope of God’s Love to the personal dimension the whole other dimension of God’s Love gets ignored. I would argue that ignoring the corporate dimension of God’s Love is what creates the permeating darkness of the world in which people get so lost.
Amazing grace most certainly saves us poor wretches who get lost in the world’s darkness. Darkness makes us blind. God’s Love certainly comes into the world to restore sight, dispel darkness, and transform our wretchedness into blessedness. But that’s only part of how God’s Love is defined. Tomorrow, we will look at the corporate dimension of God’s love.
Be a blessing to someone today!