Circles that Form a Chain

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. John 15:9 (NIV)

No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Luke 10:22 (NIV)


Previously (Circle of Love) we delved into the mystery behind Jesus’ words, “As the Father has loved me”, and found that God, who alone exists eternally, never exists alone. The Divine Being is eternally Triune, consisting of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The three divine persons exist in an eternal relationship of perfect love and harmony. God is a Triune circle of endless love.

If human beings are made in that image, we should find circles of love within our nature and in our lives—and so it is. Jesus began John 15:9, “As the Father loves me”, then adds, “so I have loved you.”

Here’s a new circle of love, emanating from the Son and encompassing humanity. Now we have two linked circles of love. The point of connection between the two circles, the element which exists in both circles, linking them together—is Jesus, the Son of God.

Through the Son, the love of God full and entire, belongs to each person who surrenders in faith to Jesus Christ. Since Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, Jesus is the only point of contact between God’s love and humanity. As Jesus himself put it in Luke 10:22, “no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him”.

The Father’s love can connect with humanity only through his Son. Without Jesus there can be no contact between a human soul and the love of God. The Gospel message is that God desires to share his love; in fact he created us for the purpose of receiving it! The Father sent the Son for the express purpose of revealing the Father to people.

You must realize that in Jesus, you receive all of God’s love. There is no extra love of God reserved for the angels, no additional love of God to be gained in any way, other than receiving by faith the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. This is the second circle of love.

With two circles joined at one common point, we have the beginning of a chain—the chain of love. It is probable that God’s primary reason for creating the universe is to extend the chain of love beyond the three divine persons of the Trinity to others. But, since God alone possesses the quality of existence, he must create those others in order for them to enjoy his love. This divine insight lies at the heart of the Gospel: God’s will is to share his love with creation through his Son Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ love is the Father’s love. There is no other love waiting for you, beyond the love of God that you receive by faith in Jesus. Looking for love elsewhere is looking for love in wrong places—looking to anything else but Jesus to satisfy the love God built you to need is idolatry, and it brings only disappointment.

Once you’ve been touched by this divine love, you can share it with other believers. This Jesus commands in John 13:34, “love one another as I have loved you”. If Jesus’ followers truly express between themselves a love like that love shared by the Father and Son, then God’s will for the creatures he created in his image is fulfilled: they have mirrored on earth the essence of the heavenly Creator. This is the third circle of love, and it connects believers to each other.

The fourth link in the chain of love occurs when believers in Jesus share God’s love with the world. Sin disconnects people from their destiny in the love of God. Sharing God’s love with the world reconnects people to God. At the cross God released the power to reconnect people to God’s love by destroying sin’s disconnecting power.

When we share Christ’s love with those who don’t know him, the Holy Spirit joins new people to God. This is the final link in the chain of God’s love: reconnecting lost souls to divine joy—the destiny God made people to enjoy. That’s how the chain of love connects back to its origin, becoming the grand circle of love, that divine purpose behind all creation.

So the chain of love emerges from the mystery of God as circles of love originating in God, connecting through human hearts, and returning to God. I pray you will live in that magnificent circle this week. May God’s love for a hurting and dying world flow through you. Become God’s instrument to join other links into the chain of love, that glorious circle of joy and bliss that continues without end.

Circle of Love

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. – John 15:9 (NIV)

All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. – Luke 10:22 (NIV)

It ranks among the most profound issues we could possibly con­sider: in John 15:9, Jesus says, “Just as the Father loves me”. The subject: God the Father’s love for his only begotten Son. How can we comprehend such divine love?

Consider what the Bible teaches us about this relationship. The Son is everything to the Father. We find this truth expressed in John 3:35, “The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.” Jesus reiterates the same truth in the opening words of Luke 10:22, “All things have been committed to me by my Father.”

The Father’s love for his only begotten Son never grows or changes. It is and always has been perfect and complete. The Son luxuriates in the per­fection of the unending love of the Father. The Son is eternally im­mersed in this overwhelming, overpowering love. For the Son, the Father’s love is existence—there is no Son apart from the Father’s all-encom­passing, all-pervading, all-embracing love.

In this love, everything that is the Father becomes the Son, and all that is the Son is subsumed into the Father. The Son possesses all that is the Father, and in turn joyfully surrenders to being possessed by the Father. The consuming nature of this relationship is expressed by Jesus in the middle portion of Luke 10:22, “No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son”.

In the intense fire of divine love, the Father shares all of his existence with the Son. The Son receives this love, he absorbs this love which is his own existence, and in perfect harmony and full com­munion with his Father, from the Father and Son together, the union of their love proceeds forth as the Holy Spirit. So the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are drawn into each other, penetrating the core of each other’s being, and so sharing the divine essence in the full union that makes God Triune—a mutual sharing of existence forming the circle of divine love.

This circle of love is the very essence of God, who is an eternal circle of love. A most profound truth that grounds the Bible’s simple definition of Deity: God is love. These words offer a basic expla­nation of the Trinity—God is a Triune circle of endless love. This greatest conceivable love … greatest possible love, is the full and complete love of God.

One concluding thought: contemplate the cross in light of the Father’s love for the Son. The Father surrendered to brutal death on a cross that most beloved of all beloveds—the only begotten Son of God the Father. The greatest possible lover surrendered the greatest conceivable love—for you. If God already did that to save your soul, how could you ever doubt his love for you?

Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.” Once we know the Father’s love for the Son and the Son’s love for us, how could we fail to trust that the will of God is love for us? If you believe that Jesus emptied himself from his position of eternal, loving bliss to die for your sins, then trusting his promise of eternal goodness is easy. How could any power ever separate you from that love? The very love of the Father for the Son is now ours!

Meditate on the love of God and the cross, and then you cannot doubt God. That’s how you remain forever in this most glorious and splendid of all loves.

Next time: Circles that Form a Chain

Life After Disaster

The message on January 1 looked back at one of the worst natural disasters in the U.S. during 2011, the monster tornado that flattened Joplin, Missouri last May. Many people lost everything they possessed when the storm winds ripped their homes to shreds. What does the Bible have to say to people after tornados, or other disasters, shatter their lives?

The Bible teaches us about God and about real life. God doesn’t promise a simple and easy life. In Isaiah 43:1-7, the prophet warns us to expect floods, fires and hard trials in life, “When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burnt; the hard trials that come will not hurt you. For I am the LORD your God, the holy God of Israel, who saves you.”

So what does God promise? First, he promises, I will be with you in the midst of the storms, the floodwaters and fires of life. God promises that through our experience of trouble we will learn how much he loves us. We will learn to turn our eyes away from the things of this world and see the glory of God. In this beatific vision, we will experience God’s love, and find spiritual strength to continue, after we pass through hard times.

Second, God promises he’ll save us from ultimate disaster. We are created for something bigger and better than tragedy. The Lord says, “You are precious to me…[you] are my own people, and I created [you] to bring me glory.” “I will bring [you] home.” God did bring his people home to thrive in the Promised Land once again. But God’s promise to save goes deeper than simply restoring Israel to her homeland.

The decisive fulfillment of this promise comes in the Gospel passage from Matthew 1. Here God explains both how he will be with us always, and how he will ultimately save: by the power of the Holy Spirit working through Jesus.

The angel told Joseph, “do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife. For it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived. She will have a son, and you will name him Jesus—because he will save his people from their sins. … this happened in order to make what the Lord had said through the prophet come true, ‘A virgin will become pregnant and have a son, and he will be called Immanuel’ (which means, ‘God is with us’).”

So Jesus Christ is Immanuel, God with us, the fulfillment of all God’s promises. The angel also told Joseph to name the baby “Jesus” because that name means “Savior”. Think of it this way: the angel told Joseph to name his son Savior because he will save his people from their sins.

You need to know that God’s promise to save us extends beyond life in this world. God’s promise finds its final fulfillment in our eternal existence. But how can God continue to save us after we eventually die? The answer is simple: through faith in Jesus, who is both God with us and our Savior from sin. Sin is what separates us from God, so by freeing us from our sins, Jesus makes it possible for us to be together with God forever in heaven, after we die in this world.

Back in Isaiah 43, God calls us to trust him. “Do not be afraid”, he insists, for I am bigger than all life’s storms and floods and fires. Christian faith looks beyond this material world to what is eternal and spiritual, and by faith we see God in Jesus. This week I pray you will learn deeper faith in God’s word, and by faith you will walk in his light and know the joy of the Savior he provides.