The Bible teaches that God’s love is infinite.
This is not the same as saying that God’s love is great; the distinguishing mark is its inexpendability. It cannot be exhausted, nor even fully understood.
Paul captures this idea when he prays that those to whom he is writing “may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:18,19).
Logically analysed, his words are contradictory; Paul’s prayer is that the Christians might know the unknowable. That is Paul’s way of emphasising that he wants them to enter more deeply into the knowledge of God’s infinite love.
How can we comprehend the infinite love of God? We can know it, but only in part. We have been touched by it, yet its fullness lies forever beyond us, just as the infinity of the universe lies beyond the probing human eye.
God also tells us that his love is a giving love. That is the heart of John 3:16. God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” It is in the nature of God’s love to give, and when he gives it is not just a trifle but rather the very best.
The Father gives all he is and has to the Son. The Son gives Himself back to the Father, and gives Himself to the world, and for the world to the Father, and thus the world (in Himself) back to the Father too.” Nowhere is this better seen than in the gift of Jesus for our salvation.
Then amazingly, according to Paul, the Son surrendered all that he had, the privileges, dynamics, and exousia, the sameness he had with the Father and took upon Him the form of a servant by becoming man.
Being found in this fashion as a man, he humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:6-8)
There are two senses in which the love of the Father is seen in Jesus’ death. First, Jesus is the best God had to give, for there is no one to compare with God’s Son. Second, in giving Jesus, God gave himself, and there is nothing that anyone can give greater than that.
(To be continued)