January 30, 2003

God's love

Great interview with Brennan Manning over at the ooze.

Check this out:

As a man, I love the Jersey shore, Handel's Messiah, hot fudge sundaes, and my wife, Roslyn. I love what I find congenial or appealing. I love someone for what I find in him or her. But God is not like that.

The God and Father of Jesus loves men and women not for what He finds in them, but for what He finds in them of Himself. It is not because men and women are good that He loves them, nor only good men and women whom He loves. It's because He is so unspeakably, unimaginably good that He loves men and women, even in their sin.

It's not that He detects what is congenial and appealing and He responds to us with His favor. He is the source of love. He acts; He does not react. He is love without motive. That's why Augustine could write those incredible lines: "In loving me, you made me lovable."

Does God love me because I spend time with AIDS victims and alcoholics, or because I spend an hour in prayer every day? Or, because I'm rigorously faithful to my wife, Roslyn? If I believe that, I am a Pharisee who feels entitled to be comfortably close to Christ because of my good works.

The gospel of grace says I am loved for one reason only and that is because God loves me... period. Every page of Christian Scripture declares that He loves us in a way that defies human comprehension and escapes human limitation. That is why I can say with theological certainty: God loves you unconditionally as you are and not as you should be, because you are never going to be as you should be. God loves you in the morning sun and the evening rain, without caution or regret. If God ceased to be love, God would cease to be God.

When we experience ourselves as someone deeply loved by God, it comes as such a surprise because the love of God is so radically different from our natural way of loving. In the church we tend to produce amateur theologians rather than witnesses of Jesus who have really experienced Him.

I want to be a witness of Jesus...

Posted by mike at January 30, 2003 07:33 PM

In my house BM has always been a gooddog. I'll ooze on over and read. Thanks for the link.


Posted by: Owen on January 30, 2003 09:02 PM

That was beautiful.

Posted by: Heather Field on January 31, 2003 10:00 AM
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