The Love of God – part 1 of 3

(1697 - 1771)1a. The principal object of the love of God is himself. Self-love is in all intelligent beings; nor is it discommendable, when it is not carried to a criminal excess, and to the neglect of others; none are obliged to love others more than themselves, but as themselves (Matthew 22:39). God first and chiefly loves himself; and hence he has made himself, that is, his glory, the ultimate end of all he does in nature, providence, and grace, (Prov. 16:4; Rom. 11:36; Rev. 4:11; Eph. 1:6) and his happiness lies in contemplating himself, his nature and perfections; in that love, complacency and delight he has in himself; nor needs he, nor can he have anything out of himself that can add to his essential happiness.

The three divine Persons in the Godhead mutually love each other; the Father loves the Son and the Spirit, the Son loves the Father and the Spirit, and the Spirit loves the Father and the Son. That the Father loves the Son, is more than once said, (John 3:35, 5:20) and the Son is sometimes called the well beloved and dear Son of God, (Matthew 3:17, 17:5; Col. 1:13) he was from all eternity as “one brought up with him”; and was loved by him before the foundation of the world; and that with a love of complacency and delight; as he must, since “he is the brightness of his glory, the express image of his person”, and is of the same nature, and possessed of all the same perfections with him, (Prov. 8:30, 31; John 17:24; Heb. 1:3; Col. 2:9) yea, he loved him as his Servant, as the Mediator, in his state of humiliation, and obedience, and under all his sufferings, and on account of them; and even while he bore his wrath as the sinner’s surety, he was the object of his love, as his Son, (Isa. 42:1; Matthew 3:17; John 10:17) and now he is at his right hand, in human nature, he looks upon him with delight, and is well pleased with his sacrifice, satisfaction, and righteousness. The Father loves the Spirit; being the very breath of him, from whence he has his name, and proceeding from him, and possessing the same nature and essence with him (Job 33:4; Ps. 33:6; John 15:26; 1 John 5:7). The Son loves the Father, of whom he is begotten, with whom he was brought up, in whose bosom he lay from all eternity, as his own and only begotten Son; and as man, the law of God was in his heart; the sum of which is to love the Lord God with all the heart and soul; and as Mediator he showed his love to him by an obedience to his commandment, even though that was to suffer death for his people (Ps. 40:8; John 14:31, 10:18; Phil. 2:8). The Son also loves the Spirit, since he proceeds from him, as from the Father, and is called the Spirit of the Son, (Gal. 4:6) and Christ often speaks of him with pleasure and delight, (Isa. 48:16, 61:1; John 14:16, 17, 26, 15:26, 16:7, 13). And the Spirit loves the Father and the Son, and sheds abroad the love of them both in the hearts of his people; he searches into the deep things of God, and reveals them to them; and takes of the things of Christ, and shows them unto them; and so is both the Comforter of them, and the Glorifier of him (1 Cor. 2:10-12; John 16:14).

1b. All that God has made is the object of his love; all the works of creation, when he had made them, he looked over them, and saw that they were good, “very good”, (Gen. 1:31) he was well pleased, and delighted with them; yea, he is said to “rejoice in his works”, (Ps. 104:31) he upholds all creatures in their beings, and is the Preserver of all, both men and beasts; and is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works, (Ps. 36:6, 145:9) and particularly, rational creatures are the objects of his care, love, and delight: he loves the holy angels, and has shown his love to them in choosing them to happiness; hence they are called “elect angels”, (1 Tim. 5:21) by making Christ the head of them, by whom they are confirmed in the estate in which they were created, (Col. 2:10) and by admitting them into his presence, allowing them to stand before him, and behold his face, (Matthew 18:10) yea, even the devils, as they are the creatures of God, are not hated by him, but as they are apostate spirits from him: and so he bears a general love to all men, as they are his creatures, his offspring, and the work of his hands; he supports them, preserves them, and bestows the bounties of his providence in common upon them, (Acts 17:28, 14:17; Matthew 5:45) but he bears a special love to elect men in Christ; which is called his “great love”, (Eph. 2:4) whom he has chosen and blessed with all spiritual blessings in him, (Eph. 1:3, 4) and which love is distinguishing and discriminating (Mal 1:1, 2; Rom. 9:11, 12).

John Gill (1697 – 1771)                                                                                                                     A Body of Doctrinal Divinity                                                                                                       Book 1,  Chapter 12, The Love of God

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About Greg Coleman

I am a Particular Baptist who affirms the absolute sovereignty of the triune Godhead in all things. The fullness of the Godhead dwells in the God-man Jesus Christ. He is the Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Disposer and Judge of all that ever was, is now or ever shall be. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and men. He was made to be sin for his people and saved them from their sins by his substitutionary, sacrificial death on the cross thereby satisfying the justice and wrath of God against them. The sufficiency of his death to the satisfaction of God’s justice is proven by his physical resurrection from the dead and enthronement in glory at the right hand of the Father. Jesus Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.
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