“So Have I Loved You”
“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.” What an astonishing statement! I can think of nothing more joyful than the knowledge of Christ’s love for me. It is my soul’s delight to contemplate it. Think of it. — “The Son of God loved me, and gave himself for me!” Truly…
“I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus, the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me, a sinner, condemned, unclean!”
“O love surpassing knowledge, O grace so full and free!
I know that Jesus loves me and that's enough for me!
O wonderful salvation from sin Christ set me free
I feel the sweet assurance and that's enough for me!
O blood of Christ so precious poured out at Calvary
I feel its cleansing power and that's enough for me!”
“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.” — Here are deep green pastures, in which the Great Shepherd makes me lie down, in which I find rest for my soul. Here are still waters beside which he graciously leads me to refresh my soul. Here are paths of righteousness, in which my Lord graciously causes me to walk. Here is the table he prepares for me in the presence of my enemies. What sweet rest I have found in this blessed assurance of his love. — “As the Father hath loved me,” the Son of God says to this poor sinner, “so have I loved you.”
The love of Christ is the great cause of our redemption and salvation. It is, as Spurgeon put it, “as the sun in the midst of the heavens of Grace.” May God the Holy Spirit enable us to plunge into these deep waters, and drink, and drink, and drink, until our souls are satiated and overflowing. — “As the Father hath loved me so have I loved you.” I want to know, and I want you to know “the love of Christ that passeth knowledge, that we may be filled with all the fulness of God” (Eph. 3:14-19).
I am in waters over my head. There is such depth and mystery in the love of Christ that it simply cannot be comprehended, much less explained. All we can do is taste it, experience it, believe it, and rejoice in it. Oh, that we may experience it more fully! — “Thy love is better than wine!”
I want all who read these lines to see and be assured of this one thing, — Every sinner who trusts Christ is loved by him, even as he is loved by God the Father.
The first thing I want to say to you about the love of Christ is this: — Believe it! Oh, may God enable us to believe it. May he give us grace and faith to believe it unquestioningly. If we trust the Son of God as our Savior, we have every reason to believe that which he here declares to us. — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.”
He loves us infinitely! Others like to talk about his love as a general, meaningless love of benevolence toward all men. But our Savior here speaks to his own, and says, — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.” He here assures us of his peculiar, distinct, and distinguishing love for his own elect, to whom he says in verse 16, — “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.”
If we are in him, as the branches are in the vine, we are the objects of the Savior’s peculiar love. He speaks to us as his Church, as his choice Bride, and to each one personally, and says, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.”
Pastor Scott Richardson once said, “We cannot claim any promise in the Word of God, unless we fit the character of the one to whom the promise was made.” That certainly applies here. Does the Son of God speak thus to you? Are those words addressed to me? Have we taken hold of Christ by faith? Has he saved us by his grace? Do we draw life from him? Is he our hope, our joy, our all? If he is, these words are spoken to us. With his own lips and here in his Word, our Savior takes us into his arms and whispers in our ears, as a man does the wife he adores, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.”
That he truly loves us, we may confidently believe. Though we might and do rightfully conclude that he loves us, when we begin to see what he has done for us, our Savior does not leave it as a matter to be inferred. No. He speaks the words. — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.” Let us never doubt his words. They were spoken in the solemn night of his agony and recorded here in the Book of God.
As if to confirm his love to us and seal it to our hearts, that we may be absolutely assured of it and know something of its indescribable greatness, our Savior draws a parallel to his love. He does not say, “I love you as a man love a woman,” or “I love you as a mother loves her child.” He says, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.” Would you dare doubt the love of the Father to his Son? Certainly not. The Father’s love for his Son is one of those unquestionable things we can never dream of questioning. Our blessed Savior would have us place his love for us in the same category with the Father’s love for him! He would have us be just as confident of the one as of the other. How does the Father love the Son?
God the Father loves his darling Son, as one with himself. The Father and the Son are, with the Holy Spirit, one God, one in an eternal, essential, indestructible union. As such, the Father loves the Son with a boundless, immeasurable love. The Lord Jesus loves us just that way, as one with himself, bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, boundlessly and immeasurably! That is exactly how the Holy Spirit describes his love for us in Ephesians 5:23-32. Think about that, and be assured of your Savior’s love!
Because of his love for Christ, the Father chose him as his Servant — “Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth” (Isa. 42:1). So it is that our Savior loves us, with an everlasting, eternal love. Because he loved us, he chose us to be his own (Deut. 7:6-8). He loved you because he loved you! Divine election flows from the fountain of God’s everlasting love. It was in love that he predestinated us unto eternal life and accepted us in the Beloved (Eph. 1:3-6).
Let every believing sinner be assured of this fact. — The Son of God loved you before the world began, just all because he would love you! He loved you in order that he might manifest his love to you. He loved you in order that you might be conformed unto his image, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren and that you might forever be one with him in his glory, heir of God and joint-heir with himself!
The Father loves the Son because he is his Son. So Christ loves us (1 John 3:1). The Father loves the Son because of his perfect obedience unto death, because of the righteousness he brought in and the satisfaction he has made (John 10:16-18; Phil. 2:5-11). So Christ loves us. The Father loves the Son as the rightful heir of all things (John 3:35). So the Son loves us (Rom. 8:17-18). The Father loves the Son, and shows him all things (John 5:20). So the Son loves us (John 15:15). The Father loves the Son because he is glorified in him (John 17:4-5). So the Son of God loves us (Eph. 2:7).
Now, brace yourself. This may shock you; but it will be a blessed shocking. — The Father loves his Son as one who is worthy of his love, as one in whom his soul delights. And our Lord Jesus loves us as a people worthy of his love, made worthy by his love, as a people in whom his soul delights (Col. 1:12; Rom. 8:29-30; 1 Cor. 6:11).
Because of His Love
Because of his great love, having chosen us in love, so great was the love of our Lord that he became a Man, became one with us, that we might be one with him! He, who “counted it not robbery to be equal with God,” became a Man that he might execute his eternal purposes of love toward us. It is written, — “For this cause shall a man leave his father and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh.”
That is what Christ did for us. He left his Father that he might become one flesh with his chosen Bride. He took our nature so that he might be able to do for us and suffer for us what, otherwise, he could not have done and suffered. By taking upon himself our nature, the Lord of Glory established a nearer and sweeter union with His beloved Bride than could otherwise have existed. If He had never become the Babe of Bethlehem and the Man of Nazareth, how could he have been made in all points like unto his brethren? What love must be that brought the Lord of Glory from the highest Heaven to become the Man of Sorrows for our sakes!
Having become a Man for us, the Lord Jesus died as our Substitute, in our room and stead, under all the fury of God’s holy wrath, because of love. — “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (v. 13). The laying down of his is the proof of love. He died for us voluntarily, in all the pain, shame, and ignominy of sin, being made sin for us, forsaken of God and cursed, because he loved us! Behold how he loved us! Blessed Savior, let us never doubt your great love for us! He died, “the just for the unjust, to bring us to God.”
It was because of his great love for us that the Son of God gave us life by the power of his grace. Read Ezekiel 16 again. There you will see the condition we were in when he came to us in “the time of love.” There we were, lost, helpless, ruined, dead, and no one cared. But he cared. Our Savior came to us and drew us by effectual, irresistible love to himself (Jer. 31:3).
(Ezekiel 16:1-6) Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, (2) Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, (3) And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite. (4) And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. (5) None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. (6) And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.
(Ezekiel 16:8-10) Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine. (9) Then washed I thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil. (10) I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk.
(Ezekiel 16:14) And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD.
Because of his great love for us, the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s darling Son, has forgiven us, blotting out all our iniquities, justified us, sanctified us, and kept us (Jude 1). As I look back upon my own life, I am filled with adoring gratitude and thanksgiving. Truly, goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life (Ps. 23:6). “Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds” (Ps. 36:5). He has proved it beyond sufficiency. Has he not? Let us, then, be ravished with his love!
Because of his love for us, our Savior has made us one with himself. Who can describe this union of love and grace. It is inexpressible. We are married to him, joined to him, cemented to him, grafted in him, built upon him, members of his body, one with him in a living, loving, lasting union! He has made us to be identical with himself!
‘Twixt Jesus and the chosen race
Subsists a bond of sovereign grace,
That hell, with its infernal train,
Shall ne’er dissolve nor rend in vain
Hail! sacred union, firm and strong,
How great the grace, how sweet the song,
That worms of earth should ever be
One with incarnate Deity!
One in the tomb, one when He rose,
One when He triumphed o’er His foes,
One when in heaven He took His seat,
While seraphs sang all hell’s defeat.
This sacred tie forbids their fears,
For all He is or has is theirs;
With Him, their Head, they stand or fall,
Their life, their surety, and their all.”
The righteousness our Surety is our righteousness. His obedience is our obedience. His death is our death. His life is our life. His future is our future. His glory is our glory!
This is love, indeed! Our Savior says, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you!” — “Who shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord?” This eternal oneness is the security both of grace and Glory to our souls. The saints of God around the throne are not more fully loved than we are; and they have no stronger reason to be assured of our Savior’s love than we do.
What more can I say? What more can he say? — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you!” — Personally! — Freely! — Eternally! — Intimately! Immutably! — Without Beginning — Without End — Without Change! —Completely! — With complete complacency, satisfaction, and delight. — Faithfully! — Immeasurably! — Amazingly!
Now, look at the last line of this text. Our Savior says, to you and me, — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.” I take that to mean, “Ever abide in the confident awareness of my love, never doubt it, never call it into question!” I know that is what this means, because he says as much in verses 10-16.
“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.” (Compare 1 John 3:23.) “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”
Continue in the Savior’s love, and you will find his love to be a balm for all your woes, a consolation in all your sorrows, strength for your journey, a fire to melt you, make you tender, and inspire you, a delight to rejoice your heart.
This, truly, is perfect love! And the assurance of our Savior’s perfect love for us takes away all fear (1 John 4:15-19). Therefore, our Savior says, “Continue ye in my love… Ever abide in the confident awareness of my love, never doubt it, never call it into question!” May God the Holy Spirit seal this word of grace to your heart, and forever cast out all fear, for Christ’s sake. — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”