The Certainty of God’s Love
By Chaplain Scott McCrystal
At no time during my lifetime can I remember so much uncertainty on a massive scale. Even governmental institutions and large corporations Americans once considered pillars within our society are now suspect. They seem more focused on political agendas than the welfare of this great country and its citizens. It’s harder and harder to trust what those in power say or do. It’s no wonder uncertainty, fear, and distrust are on the rise. Too many Americans feel like they’re skating on thin ice.
But there is timeless Good News! This Christmas season you don’t have to feel overwhelmed by feelings of uncertainty about the present or the future. God is still on His throne. He never changes. He is all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present.
We’re not the first generation to go through dark times, despite our tendency to think that’s the case. Around 732 B.C. King Ahaz ruled over Judah. Under his leadership, the kingdom fell into sin and followed many of the detestable practices of the nations that God had earlier driven out of Israel. Ahaz himself committed many evil acts, even sacrificing his own son in the fire.
God sent a prophet named Isaiah to warn Ahaz and the people of Judah to repent or face destruction and exile. King Ahaz refused to heed God’s warning through Isaiah, and 150 years later Judah was carried off into exile.
Amid God’s warnings through Isaiah, however, there was a wonderful promise.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6, NIV).
The people of Isaiah’s generation didn’t live to see the fulfillment of this prophecy. They didn’t experience the Light of the World coming to earth to overcome the darkness. They only heard about it from a distance.
Jesus has come. Light has penetrated the darkness. While there are still many things we can’t know for sure, in Christ we can have certainty about the most important truths in this life.
How can we be sure? Simply examine two things: Jesus’ words and His actions. Said another way, examine His life.
First, you can be certain that God loves you. Research your Bible. You’ll find a wealth of verses that proclaim God’s love for you. One of my favorites is Romans 5:8 — “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: ‘While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’”
The more you think and meditate on this truth, the more convinced you will become of God’s eternal love for you. God’s Word says He loves you. But our examination doesn’t stop with what God says. What did He do? Romans 5:8 tells you clearly that Jesus died for you while you were still a sinner. Jesus didn’t wait until you cleaned up your act, something you could never do. He suffered and died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sin.
Second, you can be certain God has acted to pardon your sins. This second truth is closely related to God’s love for you. God’s plan for your salvation is to pay the penalty for your sin. This is something else you can’t do —no human can. Isaiah 59:16 paints the picture perfectly: “He [God] saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm [Jesus] achieved salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him.”
Sin separates you from God. The price for your sins (past, present, and future) was paid through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus did His part. But you must do your part by confessing your sins and inviting Christ into your life. Friend, have you taken this important step?
Romans 10:9-10 states specifically what you must do: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
Do you know your sins have been pardoned? When you obey the truth of Romans 10:9,10, you can be certain your sins are forgiven.
Third, you can be certain God will take care of you. The Lord created you and knows perfectly your needs for living in this world. He will provide protection, guidance, and material needs such as food, shelter, and clothing. We must do our part, acting with the strength and knowledge He has given us. But rather than worry or be obsessed with what we need, we can trust God, as our Heavenly Father, to provide for us, His children.
Once again, you can go to the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Many other verses throughout God’s Word assure you that God will provide. After all, one of God’s names is Jehovah-Jireh which means “Provider.”
As you reflect on your life, think of those times when God has been faithful in meeting your needs. Day after day, year after year, He has not only supplied the necessities, but richly blessed you as well. Without a doubt, Jehovah Jireh is your Provider!
Finally, you can be certain about your future. Our human knowledge can never truly see into the future. People boast a lot about what they are going to do in the future, but Scripture gives us a healthy warning: “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 5:13,14).
Just think about people you know who had great plans but were never able to carry them out. You’ve doubtlessly experienced plans being cancelled for reasons you could not have anticipated.
The Lord doesn’t have constraints when it comes to the future. He not only knows the future. He holds the future.
God’s words and his actions confirm this. One of the most comforting passages in all of Scripture occurs in John’s Gospel: “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2,3). What a wonderful promise!
Yes, you will face troubles and challenges as long as you’re alive. But if you know Jesus as your personal Savior, there’s the certainty of eternal life with God in heaven awaiting you. Jesus promises that there are many mansions in heaven and one of those has been reserved for you.
That’s what God says, but what has He done to provide you with certainty about your future? We have only to look at Jesus. He died on a cross for your sins. He was buried and lay in the grave for three days. But then He rose! He conquered death, hell, and the grave. He ascended back to the Father and lives to make intercession for you. One day soon, He’ll be back. No — He won’t be coming as a baby in a manger. He won’t return secretly to some remote village. Rather, Christ’s return will be visible to the whole world. He’ll be coming in the clouds.
Revelation 19:11-16 paints that future scene: “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords.”
This Christmas season let your heart and mind overflow with these certainties about our great and awesome God. His words and actions through Jesus Christ work in perfect harmony to guarantee His promises.
You can be certain that:
(1) God loves you.
(2) God has acted to pardon your sins.
(3) God will take care of you.
(4) God has reserved a place for you with Him in heaven.