For this series of newsletters, I will be taking, modernizing, and adapting a classic book Steps To Christ that was written over 100 years ago. So without further delay, let’s begin:
Both nature and revelation display God’s love. Our Father in heaven is the source of life, wisdom, and joy. Look at the wonderful and beautiful things in nature. Think of all the ways they bring life and beauty to all living creatures, including humanity. The sunshine and rain refreshes and restores the earth, and the beautiful scenery, whether it is hills, seas, or plains, all speak to us of our Creator’s love. God supplies the daily needs of His creation. In the beautiful words of the psalmist—
The eyes of all look to you in hope;
you give them their food as they need it.
When you open your hand,
you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing. (Psalm 145:15, 16.)
God made man perfect, both holy and happy. When the earth was created, it was made perfect as well, with no hint of death or disease. When Adam disobeyed God’s law of Love, sin entered the world like a disease, and it brought along with it decay which ultimately leads to death.
Yet even in the midst of the pain and suffering that results from sin, God’s love is revealed. In Genesis 3:17 we read that God cursed the ground, and he did it for humanity’s sake. Thorns and thistles—representing the difficulties and trials that come with life—were given for our good as a part of the training needed in God’s plan for healing and recreating all humanity from the corruption that sin has caused. The world, even though it is filled with sin, is not all sorrow and misery. Looking at just nature, we are able to see messages of hope and comfort: there are flowers upon the thistles, and thorns are covered with roses.
“God is love” is written on every opening bud and on every blade of grass. The birds singing their unique songs, the flowers that are both colorful and sweetly scented, and the forests that are filled with tall majestic trees, as well as an abundance of plant life all speak of God as a Father who cares for His creation and His desire is to fill our lives with beauty and happiness.
The word of God reveals His character. He Himself has declared His infinite love and pity. Moses prayed, “show me your glorious presence” and the Lord answered, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you.” (Exodus 33:18, 19) Then, the Lord hid Moses between some rocks before passing before Moses. As He went by, He proclaimed,
“Yahweh! The Lord!
The God of compassion and mercy!
I am slow to anger
and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.” (Exodus 34:6, 7)
God, our Father, is a “merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love,” “because you [God] delight in showing unfailing love.” (Jonah 4:2; Micah 7:18)
God has joined our hearts to Him through an infinite number of ways, both in heaven and in earth. Through nature, His creation, and the deepest and most loving earthly connections that human hearts can know, He has tried to reveal Himself to us, but because of sin and corruption, all we see are imperfect representations of His love. Even though all the evidence points us to God’s love for us, the enemy of good has blinded the minds of humanity, so that our natural reaction is to look upon God with fear. With sin, we believe God to be harsh and unforgiving deity.
Satan, the enemy of good, has taken and distorted our view of God so that when we look at our Creator, we feel fear and imagine that He is vengeful and unforgiving. Satan wants all of us to view God as an unsympathetic judge who is always watching and waiting for us to mess up and fail so that He can enact judgment. Jesus came to this earth to show us that this impression of the Father is wrong, and to give us an accurate example of how the Father really loves us. “No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.” (John 1:18) “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Matthew 11:27) “Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ Jesus replied, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!’” (John 14:8–9)
Jesus describes His earthly mission as being one of preaching the good news to the poor, healing the sick, and freeing those who were oppressed by Satan. He spoke to a crowd early in His ministry and said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.” (Luke 4:18) He walked the earth and in many places that He went, He healed all the sick and removed all disease. Jesus’ work demonstrated His divine calling and mission. Love, mercy, and compassion were demonstrated in every one of His actions.
Jesus never avoided speaking truth, and everything He presented to people had love at its core. He demonstrated divine tactfulness and never spoke a harsh word that was unnecessary. Jesus shared truth, and it was always spoken with love. In His harsher dealings with hard hearts, he denounced insincerity, unbelief, and wickedness, but even as He challenged the sin, His heart longed to fill sinners’ hearts and heal them. He wept over Jerusalem, the city He loved, which refused to receive Him—the way, the truth, and the life. They had rejected Him, the Savior, but He regarded them with sympathy and compassion. His life was one of self-denial and thoughtful care for others. Every person was precious in His eyes. While He always presented Himself with a divine dignity, He remained humble and showed a love and kindness to every member of the family of God. In all humanity, He saw fallen beings, and it was His mission and desire to save them.
The character of Christ as revealed in His life is the character of God. It is from the Father’s heart that divine compassion flows to us and it is most visible through Christ. Jesus, the loving and caring Savior, was God “revealed in a human body.” (1 Timothy 3:16)
Next week we will pick up where we left off and continue learning about God’s love for us!
P.S. As always, if I missed something, or if you would like to respond on this topic, join the conversation below!