Tuesday, April 19, 2022

             “Beloved” is a rich Bible word.  Depending upon the translation that you read and the context of a particular verse, “beloved” can be alternately used with the words “loved” or “love.”  In Mark 1:11, the Father said at Jesus’ baptism, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  A bit later in the New Testament, the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke all record that when Jesus is transfigured on the mountain, a voice from the cloud declares, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  The Son, Jesus, is the Father’s beloved one.  And God offered His beloved and only begotten Son on a Friday afternoon, Good Friday, to reveal the depth of His love for us.  Be assured that you are loved today—not because of who you are or anything you may have done but because God has chosen to love you.  His love is far greater, wider, deeper and higher than any other love you could ever experience. 
            Most parents love their children unconditionally and freely.  Indeed, children can often have their first exposures to God’s love through the way they experience human, parental love.  We never want to teach children or grandchildren that our love for them is somehow conditional or contingent upon their behavior.  What a tragedy!  The precious gift of love can never be reduced to something that is performance based.  While God certainly does not approve of sin or sinful behavior, He never makes His love for you or me conditional upon our superior goodness or excellence.  Remember, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). 
            Love was expressed at the cross where the Son paid the price for human sinfulness and rebellion.  Love was expressed at the empty tomb where the Son rose again and made it forever possible for us to defeat the grave and death.  Love is expressed at the moment of death where the Father welcomes His children into the place that has been prepared for them.  To know we are beloved by the Father and beloved in the Son is one of the greatest assurances we could carry with us any day.  These truths remain constant and unshakeable.  Love has the power to stop an argument or end a lengthy time of bitter feelings.  Love has the power to let go of an offense or injury and move along in a healthier way.
            Paul began his great letter to the Romans in 1:7 by writing, “To all in Rome who are beloved by God and called to be saints.”  In I Corinthians 15:58, Paul spoke of the Corinthian Christians as “beloved brothers.”  In Ephesians 1:6, Paul wrote of the blessings we have as believers because we are in God’s beloved One—His Son Jesus.  To be loved by God and to be called beloved by God are high commendations that can lift our spirits and encourage us as we encounter trials and challenges.  We may be rejected by others but we are beloved in Christ as followers of Jesus.  Even before we responded to God’s offer of forgiveness and grace in Christ, we were still loved by Him.  It was His love that prompted the offer of forgiveness and grace in the first place.  If we look carefully at the word “beloved,” we see it is a compound word made up by two smaller words...be and loved.  It is as if God is saying to us “be loved” because that is what you are.  We rest in that reality today.  Have a wonderful Tuesday!  Remember to share our worship with others at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.
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