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3 Basic Truths About the Love of God

Written by Tyler Riffe on

Parental love is a crazy thing. I have four kids in this order: boy, girl, girl, boy. If you ask me why I love my oldest son, I wouldn’t say it’s because he is an interesting and neat kid. Or because he follows all the rules and is obedient. And I wouldn’t tell you that I love him because he reminds me a lot of myself at that age.

There is some truth in these statements. I do think he is an interesting and neat kid. He does follow our rules (some of the time), and I do see a lot of myself in him (for better or worse). But the real answer to the question “Why do I love my son?” is much simpler.

1. I love my son because he is my son.

My love for each of my kids is not complex. It is simple. They are different and beautiful in all sorts of amazing and awesome ways. They are not perfect (far from it). My wife and I are not perfect parents (far from it). But we love our kids. They are our kids, and we love each of them uniquely, but we love them simply because they are, well . . . ours.

Talking about a father’s love in today’s world can be tricky. There is often pain attached to our stories when it comes to how our parents loved or failed to love us. There are many bad fatherly examples out there, and even the best examples are not perfect.

2. The Bible gives us a portrait of a father whose love is perfect.

In Luke 15, we see a father with two sons. The older looks like the perfect son: he shows up, he is faithful, he is obedient, and he works hard. The younger is the picture of rebellion. At the beginning of the story, this “prodigal son” disrespects his father in the worst possible way by asking for his inheritance early. He leaves his father’s house and goes on to spend his time and money living the wild life.

This story is amazing, and popular, for a reason. If you’ve never read the story or haven’t read it in a while, you would be well served by pausing, grabbing a cup of coffee, and reading the story for yourself (Luke 15: 11-31). Read it. Soak it in. Revel in it. Let it shape you.

When the younger son returns, we see the father’s extravagant love on display. In the older son’s bitter reaction, we also see the father’s extravagant love on display.

Whether you identify with the older son, dutiful and obedient to God for many years, or the younger son, ashamed to even show up at the church doorstep: God’s fatherly love is available to you. Both sons need God’s grace, forgiveness, and love.

3. God is ready for you to come home.

Our Father has gone to the furthest length to help you find your way back home. God became flesh, dwelt among us, took on our sin and shame, died the death we deserved, and rose in victory so that we could have abundant life in Jesus today and forever.

I heard recently that the most searched verse today is John 3:16. That’s not surprising. We see this verse on billboards and written on athlete’s faces. The love of God and the extent to which he has gone to bring us into a relationship with himself is at the center of the Bible’s big story.

Consider these questions:

  • As you think about God, does this sort of love characterize how you see him?
  • As you think about yourself, do you see yourself loved by a heavenly father, despite what he knows about you?

Sometimes you need a reset. The people in Jesus’s day did too. In Luke 15:1, “the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus.”  Then, the religious elite begin to mutter, “This man welcomes sinners . . .” (v. 2). And that is the amazing story of God’s fatherly love for us—that he loves us despite our sin and wants us to come home.

Just like I love my son simply because he is my son, God loves us simply because he made us and we are his. Let that love sink deep into your soul and reshape how you view yourself and how you view God. And most importantly, let it draw you towards God, your eternal home.

Tyler Riffe

Tyler serves at College Park Church as the Assistant Pastor of Local Outreach. Tyler has been an active member of College Park for over thirteen years. He has previously served as a small group leader and in Next Door Mission on the launch team that helped plant Crosspointe Community Church in Greenwood. Tyler lives in Zionsville with his wife and 4 kids. He enjoys golf, camping, movies, and spending time with his family.

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