IN READING SOME of Paul’s letters, and John’s first epistle, my attention has been drawn to several exquisite concepts. Both writers use words that testify to God’s extravagant love. In Ephesians 1, verse 7, we read of the ‘riches of God’s grace that he (Jesus Christ) lavished on us.’
Romans 5, verse 5, speaks of God’s love being poured out upon us, and Paul broadens this in his first letter to Timothy: The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 1:14). Extravagant love. The Apostle John captures this concept in his first letter. He seems to have been taken up in awe and wonder at this great display of our Father’s love, so intense that because of it we would be called the children of God: How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1) Awesome, wonderful, amazing – words fail to capture the profound expression of God’s love for us. However, when we grasp the wonder of all he has done for us, we cannot help but respond to God in a reciprocal manner. And yet, all that we have, all that we do, seem so insignificant compared with what he has done for us.
Two women responded extravagantly to the love, mercy and grace that Jesus had shown to them. Luke records that a sinful woman knelt at Jesus’ feet, washed them with her tears, dried them with her hair, and then poured perfume from an alabaster jar on them. When those around her criticized her, Jesus reproached them, stating that this woman was responding from a heart of love because she had been forgiven her many sins (Luke 7:36-50). The second woman demonstrated her love for Jesus in a similar way (Matthew 26:6-13).
When God demonstrates the lavishness of his love, grace and mercy for us, we will want to respond accordingly, pouring out upon him all that we have, all that we are. Our greatest response to God’s love is to yield ourselves fully to him. When we allow him to captivate our hearts, there is no option but to lavish our love upon him, our Lord and our God.
By Irene Frances author of Peace and Freedom Are My Names: an autobiography – available in hard copy or as an eBook.