THE GLORIOUS LOVE OF THE FATHER
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son!” [John 3:16]
Consider, then, WHAT THIS GIFT was that God gave! I should have to labour for expression if I were to attempt to set forth to the full this priceless boon; and I will not court a failure by attempting the impossible. I will only invite you to think of the sacred Person whom the Great Father gave in order that He might prove His love to men. It was His only-begotten Son—His beloved Son, in whom He was well pleased. None of us had ever such a son to give. Ours are the sons of men; His was the Son of God. The Father gave His other self, one with Himself. When the great God gave His Son He gave God himself, for Jesus is not in His eternal nature less than God. When God gave God for us He gave himself.
What more could He give?
God gave His all: He gave Himself.
Who can measure this love?
“He fell upon his neck and kissed him.” [Luke 15:20] This I can understand by experience, but it is too wonderful for me to explain . . . I can understand how God manifests His love to a soul that is washed in Jesus’ blood, and knows it; but how He could fall upon the neck of a foul, filthy sinner as such! There it is—not as sanctified, not as having anything good in himself, but as nothing but a filthy, foul, desperate rebel, God falls upon his neck and kisses him.
Oh! strange miracle of love! The riddle is unriddled when you recollect that God never had looked upon that sinner, as he was in himself, but had always looked upon him as he was in Christ; and when He fell upon that prodigal’s neck, He did in effect only fall upon the neck of His once-suffering Son, Jesus Christ, and He kissed the sinner because He saw him in Christ, and therefore did not see the sinner’s loathsomeness, but saw only Christ’s comeliness, and therefore kissed him as He would have kissed His substitute.
God on the neck of a sinner! What a wonderful picture! Can you conceive it? I do not think you can; but if you cannot imagine it, I hope that you will realize it. When God’s arm is about our neck, and His lips are on our cheek, kissing much, then we understand more that preachers or books can ever tell us of His condescending love.
God’s people do not always know the greatness of His love to them. Sometimes, however, it is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Some of us know at times what it is to be almost too happy to live! The love of God has been so overpoweringly experienced by us on some occasions, that we have almost had to ask for a stay of the delight because we could not endure any more. If the glory had not been veiled a little, we should have died of excess of rapture, or happiness. Beloved, God has wondrous ways of opening His people’s hearts to the manifestation of His grace. He can pour in, not now and then a drop of His love, but great and mighty streams.
It is a hard thing for a man to confess Christ if he has not had an overwhelming sense of communion with Him. But when we are lifted to the skies in the rapture God gives to us, it becomes easy, not only to face the world, but to win the sympathy of even those who might have opposed themselves. This is why young converts are frequently used to lead others into the light; the Lord’s many kisses of forgiveness have so recently been given to them, that their words catch the fragrance of divine love as they pass the lips just touched by the Lord. Alas, that any should ever lose their first love, and forget the many kisses they have received from their heavenly Father!
When God takes men from being heirs of wrath, and makes them heirs of grace, they have just as much privilege at the first as though they had been heirs of grace twenty years, because in God’s sight they always were heirs of grace, and from all eternity He viewed His most wandering sons.
Praise you Father!