I was stirred recently by the Holy Spirit and he led me to this passage: "Ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life" (Jude 20–21). As I read these verses, I heard the Spirit whisper to me: "David, you've never yet come into the fullness and joy of my love. You have the theology right—but you haven't yet experienced the ecstasy and rest of keeping yourself in my love. Up to now, you've only been in it up to your ankles. But there's a whole ocean of my love for you to swim in."
The Bible is filled with the truth of God's love. But at times I allow myself to wonder how the Lord could ever love me. It's not that I doubt his love; it's more a failure on my part to keep myself in the knowledge and assurance of his love to me.
The revelation of God's love comes in part when we are born again. If you were to ask most Christians what they know of God's love for them, they'd answer, "I know God loves me because he gave his Son to die for me." They would quote John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
It's a wonderful moment when you grasp this truth. You suddenly realize, "God loved me when I was lost, undone, a stranger. And he proved his love for me by sacrificing his own Son on my behalf."
Few Christians, however, learn how to be kept in God's love. We know something of our love toward the Lord—but we seldom seek the revelation of God's love for us. In fact, if you were to ask most Christians to find biblical passages on God's love for us, they could point to only a few. Yet, understanding the love of God is the secret to an overcoming life. Multitudes grow spiritually cold and lazy because they're ignorant of the Lord's love for them. They don't know that their greatest weapon against Satan's attacks is to be fully convinced of God's love for them, through the revelation of the Holy Ghost.
In his final prayer on earth, Jesus said, "Father…thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24). What an incredible thought; Christ was greatly loved by the Father before creation.
Then Jesus prayed this remarkable prayer. "Thou, Father…hast loved them, as thou hast loved me" (v. 21, 23). He also prayed, "That the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them" (v. 26). Christ was saying, "Father, I know you're going to love those I bring into my body, just the way you've loved me."
The implication here is that when the Father loved Jesus before eternity, he loved us too. Indeed, when man was still only a thought in God's eternal mind, the Lord was already numbering our parts and planning our redemption: "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" (Ephesians 1:4).
How long has God loved you? He's loved you since he has existed—because God is love. It is his very nature. He loved you as a sinner. He loved you in the womb. He loved you before the world began. There was no beginning to his love for you—and there is no end to it.
When will God stop loving you? He'll stop loving you when he stops loving his own Son—which is impossible. Christ says, "The Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end" (John 13:1).