In John 15:9 Jesus tells His disciples, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love." (ESV)
God is perfect and complete. The Son and the Father and the Holy Spirit are all God, unique but One. Their love is perfect and complete for one another. Because God is perfect and complete (not wanting in some area) it means He didn't need us. No, He wanted us! And when we realize that He didn't need us, but made us completely because He wanted us, it makes His love for us even more incredible. It magnifies grace because it magnifies that it is completely one way—everything God did for us, including the most amazing part of giving Himself to us, He did from desire and love, not from any obligation or need. Wow!
Because God is perfect and complete, and has been since before time itself, it means His love within Himself, Father for Son, etc., is perfect and complete. A love that is perfect, free of our fleshly pulls, not self-seeking, not keeping a record of wrongs, never failing, without any shame or condemnation, holy and righteous—this is God's perfect love, expressed within Himself before we were ever created. And now we read that in the same way the Father loved the Son, the Son loves us!!! In reality, since the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are One, we can say that in the same way God loves Himself (and that is perfect love!) God loves us! This is absolutely stunning for a believer to meditate on, and Mary Ann and I have been doing that in our conversations lately as we process a lot of hard things in the lives of many people around us. Reflecting on this reality that God loves us in the same way He loves within Himself does multiple things for me when I reflect on it:
1. It leaves me in awe, and very secure, in the vast height and depth and width of God's love for me. It is so incredible it is something I could meditate on for the rest of my life and never fully grasp. It is so important for us to understand that as shame and guilt and self-attacking are so easy to fall into. God loves us and presents us to Himself as holy and righteous from His good pleasure and with a complete love that is so perfect it is how He the Father loves the Son!
2. It is, I realize, even one more thing that God calls us to do (to love others as we love ourselves) that He first did for us. How amazing, and incredible, that God would do so much for us before ever asking us to do it ourself! It is no wonder the incredible news of God giving Himself to His creation was so amazing and so unthinkable that even the prophets and angels sought to understand the mystery of God He had prepared before the ages but that He only revealed in Christ. God was going to give Himself to His created people! God was going to love them with a love reserved for within the Trinity!
3. This is a self-giving, perfect love from God, to me,that the world can not touch, take away, or alter. It is an anchor not of this world in a world that has so much pain and brokenness.
Who could ever imagine that God would give us Himself? Who could ever even guess that God would love us with the love He Himself loves Himself, His Son? I have to think spending much time dwelling on that would break many a stronghold of the enemy in our heart, and put a fire into our worship! It has been doing great things in Mary Ann and my heart recently and I hope it blesses and encourages you as well.