Faithful Steadfast Merciful Love
Faithful Steadfast Merciful Love
In order to understand the love that God has for mankind we need to take a look at a Hebrew word used in the Old Testament: “hesed”. “Hesed” is translated 30 times lovingkindness, 38 times kindness, 145 times mercy, 182 times steadfast love, and 1 time great kindness. The renderings in English only approximate the richness of the original word. “Hesed” carries the meaning of a covenant love (steadfast or lovingkindness).
The original word “hesed” carries the idea of devotion, loyalty, covenant faithfulness, steadfast love, and faithful love. Exodus 34:6 “The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,” Lamentations 3:32 “but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love;”
In Psalm 18:25 we read that the one who was “hesed” was a loyal and devoted individual. “With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;”
If we are to understand why God created the cosmos we must understand what God created. God created a community: a man and a woman. We read in Genesis 2:18 that God said that it was not good for man to be alone. He needed a helper. We need a community to support and encourage each other. In our case this is the church, our brothers and sisters, to hold us accountable.
This man and this woman were to fill the earth with their descendants. The result was the earth filled with God’s glory.
When God created Israel He chose Abraham and Sarah whose descendants would be a people which would glorify God among the nations of the world. God wanted to be the God of Abraham’s descendants.
When God created the church He chose Christ who would be the author of salvation for the brothers and sisters that would bring glory to Him. This is stated in Hebrews 2:10. God has always intended a people for Himself whether in the original act of creation or in the redemption act of re-creation, God gathers a people for Himself. God intended to share His love with a community – Nation of Israel – The Church. God promised Abraham He would not only be Abraham’s God, but the God of Abraham’s descendants after him. Abraham’s descendants would be God’s people and He would be their God.
Genesis 17:7–8 “And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. 8 And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.” Also in Exodus 6:7 “God says I will take you as my own people and I will be your God”.
God would dwell among His people and be their God. Over 120 times in Scripture God has stated He wanted to be their God. The prophets constantly reminded the people of Israel of God’s promise to them. Paul reminds us in the New Testament of this same promise that God has made. 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” In this passage we find we are the temple of the living God.
The ultimate goal of this promise is the dwelling of God with His people in a community that He will establish when His Kingdom is fully established. Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”” God created this community of people for Himself. God intended to create a people to share His love. Thus He created a people with whom He could share a communion of love.
God is a community of love
Scripture reveals that creation was a triune act – Romans 11:16; 1 Corinthians 8:6. Christ was the instrument of creation. Christ was the means by which the Father created – John 1:1-3; 1 Corinthians 8:6. The Father created nothing without the agency of the Son.
The Spirit is the breath of life – God’s dynamic presence which gives and energizes live in the world. Genesis 2:7 – breathed into man the breath of life; Job 32:8 – breath of the Almighty; Psalms 33:6 – by the breath of His mouth, and many other Scriptures.
The Spirit was present at creation and was the power that gave life to this world; Genesis 1:2 – Spirit hovered over the waters; Genesis 2:7 – breathed into man the breath of life.
Creation is from God the Father through the agency of the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. The one God performed a mighty work of creation as a community just as the same God preforms a mighty work of redemption in a triune community. Ephesians 2:18 – we have access to the Father by the Spirit; 1 Peter 1:2 – sanctifying work of the Spirit. Both creation and redemption are the work of the triune God. Before the cosmos existed there existed a community of love (agape). Which the Father and Son shared, John 17:21-26 – that all may be one just as You and I are one.
God intends for us to share the fellowship of the Father and Son – 1 John 1:3 – our fellowship is with the Father and the Son. God intended to create a people to share His loving community.
How else would you define God’s love? See Ephesians 1:6; 12; 14