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God is Love - March 2021

It is the love of God poured out into our hearts that is needed.  Oh, God let us die to ourselves!  Lord come and live in us, so that your life can flow out to others through us! 
Jessie Penn-Lewis
(From the book ‘In the Mould of the Cross’)

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By J. H. Jowett

There is something more majestic than the beauty of creation, something larger than human need and something greater than human sin.  The biggest thing which the mind can think about is the infinite love of God.  And in all our Christian life, our relationship with God and all we learn about Him will never reveal all there is to learn about this love.  The biggest thing you and I will ever know is the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.  There will always be new revelations and new surprises, “To grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3 v18-19).

The height of love

Let us imagine gazing reverently into the height of the love of God.  The scale of this love’s height is measured by its purity.  An illustration of this is the standard of purity that determines diamonds.  A diamond is said to be of the “first water” when it is without impurity of any kind, and so God’s love is as high as it is brilliant in appearance.  Human love can be damaged by even a little jealousy.  It can be darkened by a hint of envy.  These human elements may be mixed with heaven’s love, but its spiritual value is reduced.  Therefore the first test to apply to any love is the test of purity, which is how far it is separated from selfish human ingredients that spoil its shine.

It is here that the Bible begins in its revelation of the brilliance and holiness of God’s love.  “In Him there is no darkness at all”.  There is nothing sinful in God’s love, nothing dark, nothing questionable, nothing compromising or morally bad.

As the Bible guides us in the contemplation of the eternal love it first of all leads us into thinking of the eternal light.  Always and everywhere we must begin here.  If I listen to the psalmist, he leads me into the holy place, “Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His holy mountain, for the Lord our God is holy”.  If I listen to the angels shout, I hear “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts”.  If I listen to the Master, I hear Him say, “Holy Father”.  If I listen to the prayer He teaches me to pray, I am led to “Our Father, hallowed be your name”.  Always this must be the beginning of our contemplation.  We are led into the light, into the unshadowed brilliance, into the holiness of God.  If God’s love is symbolised by a mountain, its heights will be clothed in the dazzling whiteness of pure snow.  Love’s heights are found in love’s holiness.  God is light, God is truth, God is love.

His love, so glorious in holiness, can lift us into heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life”.  God’s love imparts its own loveliness until one day we too shall be completely like him.

The depth of love

Let us gaze into the depth of God’s love.  Let me link sentences from the Word of God, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner”.  “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God, began to wash the disciples’ feet”.  “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more”.  “They were calling to one another: Holy, holy holy is the Lord Almighty”.  All these sentences show what is meant by the depth of our God’s love.  It is only holy love that can deal with humanity’s deepest needs.  A low love has no ability to serve, like the love of the Jewish Pharisees who spoke with Jesus.  In Luke 18 one Pharisee said, “I thank you I am not like other people”.  That is shallow love.  Holy love goes down and down into human need and is not afraid of the consequences.  Sunbeams can move among sewage and remain unspoilt, just as the brilliant, holy love of God ministers in the deepest depths of human need.

God’s love is more intense than human sorrow.  It is deeper than death and there are multitudes who know how deeply traumatic death can be.  God’s love is deeper than the deepest grave ever dug.  “Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15 v55).

And God’s love is deeper than sin.  He bore our sin, then He got beneath it and went down into it.  There are no human troubles, lying in the pollution of the deepest sea of sin that His deep love cannot reach and redeem.  What a Gospel!  However far down a human can go God’s love can get beneath it.

The width of love

Let us gaze at the width of God’s love.  Here again I want to say that the width of love is also determined by its height.  Low love is always very confined and exclusive.  High love is open and expansive.  Low love is like a lake and high love is like a river.  We can imprison a lake within our own property but we cannot imprison a river, which will be out and about very quickly.  And sometimes we foolishly try to imprison the love of God.  We make His love too narrow by false limits of our own.  Men have tried to appoint social limits, national limits, church limits or belief limits.  We may as well try to break up the sea into gardens as to mark the boundaries of the love of God.  The love of God is as broad as the human race.  Nowhere is there a single man, woman or child who is an orphan without a place in the eternal Father’s heart.  If Jesus loses one He goes out and finds the lost one.  This truly is a wide love of God.

The length of love

And how long is God’s love?  There is no end to it.  To what length will it not go?  Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down His life for His friends.  This is length to which love will go.  God’s love is as long as the longest road.  God’s love is as long as the longest day.  God’s love is as long as the longest night.  God’s love is as long as life.  God’s love is as long as eternity.  The Lord has loved you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31 v3).  He will never leave you nor forsake you.  His love never fails. 

From ‘Things That Matter Most’.

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Dear Friends,

It is a privilege and an honour to be editing the Overcomer magazine.  I am thankful to Michael Metcalfe for his faithful service as editor, and I am encouraged to be part of the team.

The theme of this issue is the love of God.  Our April 1968 edition also had this theme.  The words of editor J C Metcalfe in many ways sum up my own thoughts whilst preparing this issue.  He wrote, “It is humbling to realise how very little I understand of the love of God, which after all is the great rock upon which every truth of the Bible rests.  It is still more humbling to get a glimpse of how little the power of that love operates in my life, and reaches out to others.  How few of us can write about love with authority, which carries conviction.  We can say many things, but when we stand alone before His Cross, in the light of His infinite love, when we see that the Eternal Lover is alive for evermore and watches with tender care toward us, who are completely undeserving, we are left without words.  This reminds me of the eloquent stillness as seen in the verse, ‘the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives for ever and ever’ (Revelation 4 v10)”.

Romans 2 v4 reminds us that the goodness and loving-kindness of God leads us to repentance.  For the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ’s love in a believing heart brings us to His feet again in repentance and praise.  The Cross is the answer to the question "does God love me?”  Emphatically, yes, is the answer.  Ephesians 2 v18 says we have access through the Son to the Father by the Holy Spirit.  Our heavenly Father’s love gave heaven’s best to save us.  The dearest treasure our Father had, that He gave.  Just like in Luke chapter 15 when the father in the parable of the prodigal son was willing to part with a large sum of money, which was then spent on wasteful living by the rebellious son, so too we see that our loving Father was prepared to give a huge, priceless present in the form of His most loved son Jesus Christ.  This gift to a world of sinners was despised and rejected by those He had created, resulting in His painful, sorrowful and lonely death on the Cross.  Yet death turned to victory.  Love Himself rose again, triumphing over death and the Enemy.  Of course He loves you.  Who would even dare to die for one such as you (Romans 5 v7), except our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  How we must marvel at this love.

I trust you will be blessed by the articles on divine love chosen for this edition of the Overcomer.  We will spend an eternity grasping more and more insights into our God, who is Love (1 John 4 v8).  Let us start with the words of encouragement in this issue.

In Christ,