God So Loved His Son
Mr. Grayson F. Wyly of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is the husband of Louise Wyly whose articles have appeared in past issues of “Food for the Flock.” They are the parents of four grown children and in fellowship at Plymouth Bible Chapel.
In the parable of the vineyard (Mark 12:6), the Lord Jesus tells us: “Having yet therefore one son, his well-beloved, he sent him also last unto them saying, They will reverence my son.”
How similar to John 3:16 where the Lord Jesus also tells us: “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son…”
If we put these two statements together, we find this truth: God SO loved His Son that all mankind should surely respond and reverence His Son also.
Think of it! God’s love for His Son was so great, so full, and so complete that finite man should surely love Him too. And no wonder: think of what our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished for men and women in obedience to His Father.
In John 14:31, Jesus said, “That the world may know that I love the Father: and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.” This commandment came before the foundation of the world, and it started its fulfillment when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us in Bethlehem.
Wouldn’t it have been enough for God to have sent His Son among us as a full grown man instead of sending Him as a babe in a manger? No, our Lord does not do things half-way. He did not take the nature of an angel, but was formed in the likeness of men, so that He could make reconciliation for the sins of the people. He didn’t come as just any man. Rather, He came as a servant with no reputation, not grasping to hold on to His equality with God. That way He could be tested and tried in all points such as we are, yet without sin.
Thus He came in the confinement of a human body first as a baby, then as a child growing into adulthood, and finally as a man—God’s Man sent to redeem mankind. This confining of our Lord to a body staggers our imagination. He who for eternity past had been experiencing the freedom of thought and action of Almighty God, now became confined to a body that had all the limitations of time and space.
God speaks of this same one, our Lord Jesus Christ, as the appointed heir of all things, the Creator of the worlds, the expressed image of His person and nature, and the bright radiance of His glory. Our Lord Jesus Christ doesn’t just reflect this glory. Rather, He possesses the inherent glory of His Father. The Lord Jesus upholds all things by the word of His power. By Him all things are held together, whether it be the stars in their orbits, or atomic particles in their orbits. This same One walked this earth and preached the gospel to us poor, undeserving sinners. He healed the maimed and brokenhearted, brought sight to the blind, and raised the dead. Though most of His power and glory were concealed, He lovingly exposed some of it to meet the needs of the suffering. What compassion and mercy are displayed in our lovely Lord. How kind and generous is He!
But the primary earthly accomplishment of our Lord Jesus is that He made salvation possible. Only He had the capacity and the ability to willingly bear our sins in His body on the tree. No one else could have, nor would have been a satisfying sacrifice for our sins. By Christ’s sacrifice, God was able to be just, righteous, and holy, and at the same time be full of grace, mercy, and truth. He thus justified all who will put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on Calvary.
None of God’s attributes had to be compromised. Not one had to be slighted or bent or tinted one little bit in order to accomplish our salvation. God can save us and not change. He remains “The Same.” The sacrifice of Christ was so complete, so satisfying, and so acceptable to God that He needed to be offered ONLY ONCE!
No wonder God SO loves His Son. The result is that you and I can be saved for the rest of eternity by doing the same. We need to be so satisfied with the Lord Jesus Christ that we repent of our sins, and trust Him who dies in our place. Then our satisfaction and knowledge of Him can increase day by day, our hearts will grow to love Him more.
We need to keep the accomplishments of Christ in their proper order and thus give God the preeminence He deserves. So often we are concerned with what we will receive. We meditate on the forgiveness of our sins and our home in heaven. But we need to go further. We need to realize that God was put in the position whereby He could save us and still remain as righteous, just, and holy as He had always been. He never compromised any of His attributes.
What the Lord Jesus did for God in putting Him in this righteous position should mean more to us than our own position in Christ. We need to rejoice in what He did for the Father and the Spirit. There is no merit in us that would cause God to give His Son. The reason lies alone with God and with His sovereignty. Our salvation is only the result, not the reason. God told Israel that the reason He chose them was not for anything that they had done, but only because He loved them (Deut. 7:6-8). This same principle applies to us.
It is amazing how much depth that little word “so” adds to the expression of love. In Christ, the Father’s grace and mercy were greatly amplified so that in turn we could love Him “so.” We love the Lord Jesus even though we have not seen Him. We worship Him, praise Him, sing about Him, and go to great lengths to have others hear about Him. All this in order that we and others might love Him “so.”
As parents, we love our children beyond measure. We hug them, care for their needs, provide a secure place for them to grow and learn about God, cause them to know the goodness of family relationships, teach them responsibility, and on the list goes.
But what about their response? It has been well said, “When they are young, they trample your lap, but when they are older, they trample your hearts.” Some children will send cards expressing their appreciation for what you mean to them on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. Some will find a quiet moment to tell you, “I love you, Mom” or “I love you, Dad.” And when they have children of their own, their appreciation of their own parents will grow tremendously. Nevertheless, in comparison to all the love and care showered upon them, their response seems so small.
Compared to God’s love for His Son, our love for Him seems so microscopic. But wonder of wonders, God accepts even that minute love. He knows our frame: He knows the limits of our capacity to really love. Thank God for His Holy Spirit who multiplies even what small capacity we have to love Him in return.
In the light of God’s love for His Son, we see how much more emphasis it puts upon the Scripture, “He that spared not his own Son but delivered him up for us all…” The Father’s refusal to spare His Son cannot be taken lightly; neither can the willingness of our Lord to be “delivered” and die on across.
In John 10:17, our Lord tells us that God the Father loves Him because of His death and His resurrection. “The reason My Father loves Me is that I lay down My life—only to take it up again” (NIV). What a sure sign that the work of redemption is complete, finished, and satisfying in every respect. The saving work is done—never to be repeated again!
When we think of our Lord Jesus from God’s point of view, we see a depth of love that should bring us to our knees, and flood our eyes with gratitude and love that cannot be expressed in mere words. Such thoughts require the Holy Spirit’s intercession with groanings too deep to be uttered. So vast is the extent of our Lord’s incarnation that only a portion is covered here. With John we feel that so much more could be written. “But these are written that you might believe that the Lord Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; (the Word Incarnate, and your Savior) and that believing you might have life through His name.”