Jesus the Supreme Revelation of Love

By H. A. Wilson

Taken from Grace and Truth Magazine 1923


Men's conceptions of love depend upon their knowledge of God. In Christian lands where the Gospel is preached in its power and purity we find many who hold high and noble conceptions of love, but in non-Christian countries we find that true love is an unknown thing. There even the pure and wonderful natural affection which God has planted in the hearts of parents for their children, and in the hearts of husband and wife each for the other is to a large extent debased and degraded until it almost ceases to be. Even in our own country where we are so blessed with the light of the Gospel men and women who care nothing for spiritual things have debased their ideals of love until they are nothing more than lust. Men who know a God of love reflect His 5 love in their thoughts and deeds, but men whose conceptions of God are low and degraded themselves live on a low and degraded plane, and know nothing of the pu/e and holy sentiment called love. These indisputable facts make it clear that the supreme revelation of love will be found in the clearest revelation of God. It is Jesus, the Son of God Who in His Person and work most clearly reveals God to us, and it is Jesus Who is the supreme revelation of love.

Following this clue we are led at once to the Cross, for the Scriptures declare that "God commendeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). It was on the Cross that Jesus most clearly manifested God's love, and it was on the Cross He became the supreme revelation of love. Four facts which are stated in John 3:16 show the character of this revelation, and at the same time show why in Jesus we find the revelation of love which transcends any to be found in all the universe, and in all time and eternity.


"God loved."

The teaching that God loves men is peculiar to the Christian revelation. All pagan religions have their gods, and all pagans do service to these gods, but their service is a service of fear. There is no idea in the minds of these worshippers that their gods love them and are willing and eager to do them a kindness. Rather they are to them beings of lust, and cruelty, and partiality, whose anger must be appeased and their desires satisfied lest they should do their worshippers an injury. They are beings whose favor can be curried by gifts and who can be wheedled into granting a kindness to their devotees if they are faithful enough in their service. So these poor, sin-blinded people serve their gods day and night in mortal fear of the wrath of their gods, seeking slavishly to appease them and to gain their favor. This attitude of fear characterizes all the religions which are. purely pagan and also to a large extent all the great religions of China, India and other idolatrous religions.

The same pitiful ignorance of God's love also pervades the Mohammedan religion which is quite different from the idol worship of the orientals in that it is a monotheistic religion. Some have blindly and foolishly called Mohammedanism "a stepping stone to Christianity" on account of its monotheism, but their sad mistake may be easily appreciated when one considers their conception of God, and its absolute destitute of any recognition of His love. Mohammedanism definitely teaches that God took a lump of clay and broke it into two parts; that of one part He made men and said, "To heaven with them and I care not," and that of the other part He made men and said, "To hell with them and I care not." "One Mohammedan writer in a book which is much esteemed in Turkey names as the attributes of God, life, knowledge, power, will, hearing, seeing and speech. He also says, 'If all the infidels became believers He would gain no advantage; if all believers became infidels He would suffer no loss'."1 Here we find no hint of the love of God, and it is only fair to say that this teaching is representative of all Moslem teaching, for throughout their whole system of theology God is represented as a distant, cold, and heartless being.

Nor do we find any more exalted conception among the myths and traditions of the Greek and Roman gods and other gods of antiquity. These gods were said to love men, but their love was always represented as a selfish thing, and many of the love stories of the gods which were current among their devotees are not fit reading for one who wishes to maintain purity of thought. On the contrary, they, like the stories of the Hindu gods, are vile and impure.

It is not hard to understand why human conceptions of God's love should be so distorted and poor when we consider that the thought of the love of God is foreign even to the minds of many who have been blessed in hearing the Gospel. Many professing Christian men and women today regard God as a great ogre, ever present, though invisible, scrutinizing with unpitying eye their every word and deed, and only watching for some occasion to criticize them and work them harm. Some even have so meagre a conception of God's love that while they will admit that He gave Jesus to die for them, they insist that they must do good works or He will still judge them and condemn them forever. While it is true that God must judge sin, surely such thoughts of Him, though far too common, yet are entirely a misrepresentation of His character, for He has a warm heart of love, and will not even condemn the unbeliever without doing everything possible to save him, much less His own children whom He has begotten in the travail of His soul.

It is only in the Word of God that we find any revelation of the tender and gracious love of God, and there it is always connected with Jesus and His death on the Cross. It was not in His life that Jesus revealed the love of God most clearly, for while that life was wonderful and blessed, filled with thoughtful and kindly deeds, such deeds are not unknown in other lives. No it was on the Cross where He became the willing victim, suffering God's wrath against our sin that He became the supreme revelation of God's love. There God showed forth His love to a guilty and hell-deserving race. On the Cross Jesus became the supreme revelation of love, because He there revealed a supreme love, — the love of God.


"God loved the world."

This love we cannot fully understand, for it is infinite, but we may learn much about it as we stand in the shadow of the Cross and permit and there to show us the magnitude of the love which He thus revealed. God speaks in Eph. 3:17-19 both of our inability to fully comprehend His love, and also of the knowledge which we may receive. He there leads the Apostle to pray for the Ephesian believers that they "may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge." Consider for a moment the height of God's love. As we have seen, it is as high as Heaven itself, for it proceeded from the very heart of God, and led Him to send His only begotten Son to give Himself for the souls of men. The depth of God's love who can fathom? It is deeper than the lowest hell, for Jesus suffered the full measure of God's wrath as He hung upon the Cross, pouring out His soul unto death. The breadth of God's love is such that it encompasses the earth and embraces the soul of every man. "God loved the world." The length of. God's love can be measured only by eternity itself, for in His love He provided eternal life for all who would receive His gift. O! how great is the love of God. Yes, we see its length and breadth and depth and height, but in the glimpse which we get of it we realize how hopeless it is for us to try to know it. It is too great for us. It passeth knowledge.

But perhaps it will help us to appreciate the supremacy of God's love just a little better when we consider that He loves the unworthy and unlovely — that His love extends to the worst of sinners. In Ephesians 2:4-5 God speaks of "the great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses and sins." This is very expressive, for if there is anything which is repulsive to us it is a putrid corpse, and in God's sight sin is just as repulsive. But such are the creatures toward whom this marvelous love has been manifested. We are sinners, all of us, and in our sins we are naturally dead before God. This love is a love which reaches not only to the so-called respectable people of this earth, but also to those who are outcasts of society and who are called by men "the very dregs of humanity."

A Christian woman, laboring among the moral lepers of London, found a poor street girl desperately ill in a bare, cold room. With her own hands she ministered to her, changing her bed linen, procuring medicines, nourishing food and a fire, making the poor place as bright and cheery as possible, and then she said, "May I pray for you:

"No," said the girl, "you don't care for me; you are doing this to get to heaven."

Many days passed, the Christian woman unwearingly kind, the sinful girl hard and bitter. At last the Christian said:

"My dear, you are nearly well now, and I shall not come again, but as it is my last visit, I want you to let me kiss you." Then the pure lips, accustomed to prayers and holy words, met the lips defiled by oaths and unholy caresses — and then, my friends, the hard heart broke.

This Christian woman lid glimpsed the love of God, and that love was reflected in her. Such is the love which Jesus revealed on the Cross. Such love men know only as He teaches them to know it.


"God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son."

But the fact which most clearly shows the pre-eminence of God's love and the supremacy of Jesus as a Revealer of that love is the sacrifice which God made in giving His only begotten Son. Real love is a costly thing. It will lead the one who loves to pay any price which is necessary to save its loved one from suffering or to provide happiness and contentment. That is the kind of love which God has. Loving as He did He was willing to pay any price in order that He might spare the souls of men the awful agonies of hell, which they merited on account of their sin. He was willing even to give His only begotten Son if He might by so doing give to us eternal life and happiness in His presence. O, unworthy, sin-blinded creatures that we are, ever to sin against such a love as that! Think of it! God loved us so much that He was willing for His Son, the most cherished treasure of Heaven and the One nearest and dearest to His own heart, to suffer the unspeakable agonies of the Cross. And Jesus, our blessed Lord, shared in that love so fully that He was willing to suffer the blazing, devastating fires of God's wrath against sin in order that we might not perish but have everlasting life. God's love for the world cost Him His only begotten Son and it cost Jesus a suffering which no man can possibly conceive.

Without a question we will be overcome with the realization of what God's love really means when we stand in His presence and understand it as we cannot now. What a price He paid for our salvation! What a love His must be to make Hun willing to make that sacrifice! When God gave Jesus to die upon the Cross, when our sins were reckoned unto Him, and when God was compelled to turn His back on His Son because of our sins, Jesus cried out, "My God! My God! why hast Thou forsaken me?" What a cry that was, and what an awful agony must have wrung it from His lips. He was able to bear the excruciating physical suffering of the Cross, and of the torture to which He was subjected before, without a murmur. But when our sins were placed upon Him, and when He found His soul swallowed up in the darkness of hell, and God's face hidden from Him His heart was broken and this great cry of anguish burst from His lips. Let us not think that the heart of God in Heaven was not moved by that cry. No, the heart of the Father was torn with the same agony and suffering which was expressed on earth by the Son of His love. We have talked much of the cost to Jesus of the suffering of the Cross, and rightly so, but let us remember also that it cost the Father just as great suffering as the Son endured. "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." Human mind cannot fathom the depths of love expressed in such a sacrifice, and human language at its best is powerless to describe it. God does not attempt to do so. He merely states the fact in the most simple language, so that even a child can lay hold upon it. But, O! what an infinity of meaning lies in those few simple words concerning the great sacrifice of God's love!


"God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

The fact of God's love transcends human thought; it is too great for human minds to grasp, even though it has been revealed to us: its expression in the sacrifice of Jesus confounds even the imagination of men's hearts with its wonder, but, thank God, we can lay hold of the gift of His love provided at such a cost. W^e may benefit by it, for the love which God brought to light in Jesus is a saving love. The purpose for which that sacrifice was made and for which that revelation was given on Calvary's Cross was that God might save us. It was done '"that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Let us fairly and frankly face what these words mean to us.

We are sinful and hell-deserving creatures. In spite of our pitiful attempts to conceal our sin and to appear better than we are, yet deep down in our hearts we are bound to admit that we cannot hope to appear approved to God in the day when He must judge the secrets of men s hearts. We cannot even conceal to good advantage from our friends the secret sins and faults of our lives. How much less, then, can we hope to deceive God as to our real character? We know, for the Holy Spirit convicts us of it, that we deserve nothing but the wrath of almighty God. But O, thank God! He is not willing that we should suffer it, and He has provided a way out. Let us not deceive ourselves. God must judge our sins. He cannot pass over them and ignore them, for He is just and righteous. But He comes to us today with the good news that those sins are already judged. Christ has already been punished for them. "God sending His own Son in the likneness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3). "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all' (Isa. 53:5-6). Yes, dear friend, Jesus suffered the full measure of God's judgment upon our sins. He was judged in our stead. In this way God so provided that it is not necessary for us to perish in His judgment, but on the contrary we may have eternal life if we will.

But 'now are we to receive this wonderful gift? How are we to benefit by this marvelous love? These are the questions which must be upon the heart of anyone who fairly faces the revelation of God's love given in Christ. Ah! herein is one of the brightest rays which gleams from the Cross of Christ and illumines the love of God. God's love is so great that He has not only purchased eternal life for us at the cost of His Son, but He has also placed this priceless treasure in easy reach of all mankind. "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). What must we do to get that gift? Nothing! All God asks is that we receive it. All we can do is just to believe His Word, to trust Him for salvation. O! friend! If you have not already done so, look up in simple faith, without seeking for any feeling, without attempting to present any merit, and humbly confess your sin and need of a Saviour. Just confess, with the simple faith of a little child, "I believe that Jesus died for my sins. I accept Him as my Saviour." "Is that all?" you ask. Yes, friend, that is all. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (Jno. 3:36).



1) Zwemer, quoting Sell.