A few weeks ago in church we sang an older song by John McMillan called “How He Loves.” The chorus is a simple but powerful proclamation, “Oh, how He loves us!” On the surface, this song pales in comparison to other more “spiritual” songs about the majesty of God, or the depths of depravity from which He saved us. This song has received criticism for being self-focused, all about how God loves us… as if we did something to earn or deserve it.
In the past I’ve never taken a strong stance with this song, if anything the repetition annoyed me. But this time I heard it in a whole new way, as the simplistic chorus took on a depth and meaning like never before.
It is said that when theologian Karl Barth was asked to summarize his faith in a single sentence, his simple response was, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
The foundation of our faith is that, for some reason beyond our comprehension, God loves us. The most well known verse in the Bible sums it up nicely;
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
As we sang that song, it resonated in my spirit; the only claim I can make in my life, the core of my identity, is that I am loved by God… not because of who I am, but because of who He is.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved …” (Ephesians 2:4-5)
I am loved by God despite my sinful nature, weaknesses, and shortcomings. To sing “how He loves us!” is not a proclamation of self-ascribed value, far from it! It is a statement full of wonder and amazement that I serve a God whose love is so great, so powerful, and so unconditional, that it pursues and encompasses someone like me, someone who is so undeserving!
The words “God loves you” or “Jesus loves you” have become cheapened; we hear them in sermons or see them posted on church signs and brush it off without realizing the immensity of those words.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
If you haven’t done so recently, I encourage you to take a moment to think, really think, about the fact that the Creator of the universe, the One who spoke everything into existence, loves YOU with an everlasting and unfailing love!