4 – Introducing Love
Heart of Chapters 4 & 5:
Bible is uniform in declaring that God is a God of love. When we realise
that we then need to look at all that happens in the Bible and see
it in that light. As we look at the beginning and end of the world
according to God's design, we see all the hallmarks of His love in
is the fact that if the whole of the Old Testament testifies to a
particular positive characteristic of God, then they must have believed
that in the face of all the happened to them – which includes things
which we, at first sight, might have negative questions about.
“the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding
in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving
wickedness, rebellion and sin.”
so many of us doubt God's love are, I am sure:
Our personal emotion history – which blurs thinking
Casual and careless reading of the Bible.
Biblical world view makes sense of everything we know, like no other
world view does.
may summarise it as:
- God made the world perfect,
- we human beings rejected Him so
that the way we live makes the world go wrong, and
- God now works to draw us back
to Himself and back to a way that restores us, in a measure at
least, to what we were designed to be.
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5 - Questions of Love
Biblical world view that shows that, though we reject God, He constantly
seeks to reach out to us to draw us to Himself and back into a life
of peace and harmony and goodness.
love is declared throughout the Old and New Testaments
God IS love however
He expresses Himself, through word or deed, it is an expression of
- warm affection, attachment, liking, benevolence or strong benign
the Bible puts it more strongly in respect of God, it is:
sacrificial, unrestricted good will towards all others"
we think of the different ways a parent expresses love towards their
child, we can understand that God expresses His love to us in a variety
- when He blesses
us with His goodness
- when He brings
discipline into our lives to train and strengthen us
- when He allows
us to weather the storms of life for similar reasons.
love is revealed in His wonderful provision for us at Creation, and
even in giving us free will knowing we would misuse it.
signs of His invisible presence are seen in:
- His moving
in the form of His Holy Spirit
- having put
inner yearnings in us for more than the material world
- similar human
yearnings for right and for justice
- the beautiful
world that screams of design
- the witness
of the Bible itself
- the evidence
of Jesus Christ.
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6 – Introducing Goodness
Bible declares throughout that God is good.
dictionary defines ‘good' as
suitable or desirable qualities; promoting health, welfare or happiness;
benevolent, not troublesome ”
find this declaration – that God is good – appearing a number of times
in the Old Testament narrative.
what is chronologically the end of the Old Testament, when Israel
to the Promised Land after the Exile in Babylon
, we find
Ezra the scribe reading the Law to the returning remnant. They then
pray and declare before the Lord what they know of Him. There is substantial
they say about Him, that gives body to the claim that He is good.
is good because of all of His abundant provision, not only in
Creation but in His dealings with Abraham, and later with Moses
as he delivered Israel from Egypt.
is good because of the gracious way He dealt with wayward Israel
after He delivered them from slavery in Egypt.
is good because of
the gracious way He dealt
with wayward Israel
in the centuries
they lived in
the Promised Land, right
up to and through the Exile.
appreciate ‘goodness' a useful exercise is to think what characteristics
we would observe in a person who is complete ‘good' (e.g. Jesus)
we will see the more we study the Bible, is that descriptions of God
– good descriptions, descriptions we would be very happy with - abound!
need to review the activities of God in this light.
have established that the claim throughout the Bible is that God is
love and loving and that, as an expression of that, He is good.
have looked at definitions of ‘love' and ‘goodness'. We have then
sought to apply them to God.
task for the remainder of the book is to view all of God's activities
through these two lenses. We may not understand it at first, but can
we see that everything He does (and that is not the same as what people
do) is an expression of love and of goodness? That is the task of