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Five Ways Christ Loves His People Well

February 12, 2015

What you believe most deeply about God’s love will shape your experience of him.

Some people see God as a kind of referee, running up and down the field, watching all of us as we play the game of life, making sure we play according to the rules.

Other people see God as a kind of gatekeeper. Think of the officer on passport control. The officer checks your passport. If everything is in order, the officer stamps your passport and lets you in. If there’s a problem, it is his job to keep you out.

Other people see God as a kind of servant who only exists to give them the life they want.

There are many people in church who see God as the referee, the gatekeeper, or the servant. But what do you know about Christ as the lover of your soul? God says, “If you want to know what I am to my people, think love, think marriage.”

Here are five ways Christ loves his people well.

Cleansed: A love that forgives you

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.  (Ephesians 5:25-26)

A believer who comes to Christ and asks for forgiveness will never hear the answer no. “Whoever comes to me, I will never turn away.” When you say “Please forgive me,” you always get a yes from Christ, because he loves you.

Christ never turns a cold shoulder towards his people. He does not hold a grudge. He does not open old wounds or pick at old sores. Christ loves us well with a love that forgives. “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loves the church.” But it’s not just husbands. Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34).

Sanctified: A love that makes you flourish

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her. (Ephesians 5:25-26)

The love of Christ always causes a person to grow. Christ will make more of you than you will ever make of yourself. Give yourself to him and see what you become through him.

Nourished: A love that brings you strength

For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.  (Ephesians 5:29)

The love of Christ will build you up and give you strength to face the toughest circumstances of life. Paul says, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long” (Romans 8:36). That’s about as tough as it can get. But then he says, “In these things we are more than conquerors.” Why? Because nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.

Cherished: A love that values you

For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.  (Ephesians 5:29)

Brother, sister in Christ, there is never a moment when you are not the object of the conscious affection of the Son of God. Others may say, “Nobody really cares about me,” but you could never say that. You are cherished by the Son of God!

Presented: A love that endures forever

Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25, 27)

Every time we have a wedding we hear these words, “Till death do us part.” Why do we remind the bride and the groom of their dying day on their wedding day? We want them to value every day of their marriage because it will not be forever. Value your children, your friends, your colleagues, and the people God places around you because none of this will be forever.

But Christ pledges a love to you that will never end. He does not say, “I will love you, till death do us part.” He says, “I will love you in life, I will love you through death, and then I will present you in splendor, in glory, faultless, with all the draining, wearing, wrinkle-causing effects of your life on earth gone and behind you completely. I will welcome you in glory and I will love you forever.”

We love because he first loved us. To anyone reading this today who does not yet know this love, Jesus Christ offers himself to you. He holds his hands out to you. Jesus Christ is willing to be yours.

If you will leave your sins, if you will leave living for yourself and give yourself to him, he will welcome you. He will not turn you away. Christ will be yours, and you will be his, and all that he came in love to accomplish will be yours forever.

This article was adapted from “Loving and Being Loved By Christ: The Bride and the Bridegroom,” June 21, 2014.

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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