God is Love

God is love.

1 John 4:16

Laying a deep apprehension of God’s nature increases the peace of conscience and gives a measure of the joy of the Holy Spirit. Under the law, God revealed himself in grace (Exod. 34:6-7). Also, ‘As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live’ (Ezek. 33:11). Do not think of God’s mercy with diminishing thoughts, for his mercy is as great as his power. There is great advantage to the soul that has a proper estimate of his goodness. It makes God appear more wonderful, and you will love him more readily and abundantly. Affections will follow the understanding. If you think God is against you and delights in your misery, it is impossible for you to love him. The great reason many do not love God more is because they look at him in an odious shape, and tremble at the thought of him. Doing this strips God of his divine nature in our thoughts. We must write his love deep in our understanding. When we consider his mercy and lovingkindness, our thoughts of God will be sweet and delightful. We are bidden to love and delight in him above all. He is infinitely and inconceivably good. This will dray you to God as a magnet toward iron. If you conceive of God as ten thousand times more gracious and loving than any friend you have in the world, it will make you love him above all. This takes away weariness in duty, and gives more delight in prayer and meditation. When God becomes more lovely in our eyes, it produces growth in all of our graces, and encourages further familiarity and confidence. A clear sight of God’s merciful nature gives assurance of our happiness. If you fix deep in your understanding the natural goodness of God, even this will fall short of God’s actual graciousness.

Richard Baxter, A Christian Dictionary, II:887-890


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