The Bible reveals that the depths of God’s love are unfathomable. We simply don’t have the ability to comprehend all the details of God’s great love for us.
But in this post, we’ll read just a few verses and notes in the New Testament Recovery Version to increase our appreciation of God’s love for us.
Ephesians 2:1-3—God loved us when we were in a pitiful state
To more fully appreciate the depths of God’s love, first let’s consider the state we were in before we were saved.
Through Adam and Eve’s fall in the garden of Eden, all mankind was thoroughly polluted with sin and became evil. Because God is holy and righteous, mankind had to be judged and removed from His presence.
In Ephesians 2:1-3, the apostle Paul gives us a detailed description of our fallen, sinful condition:
“And you, though dead in your offenses and sins, in which you once walked according to the age of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, of the spirit which is now operating in the sons of disobedience; among whom we also all conducted ourselves once in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”
We were dead in our sins, walking and living in a way that was absolutely contrary to God. As children of wrath, we were truly lost and deserved nothing but God’s judgment.
Yet even then, God’s heart was full of love for us. He did not give up and leave us in our fallen state, separated from Him for all eternity.
Paul continues in verses 4-6:
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and raised us up together with Him and seated us together with Him in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.”
Though we were utterly wretched, God still loved us with a great love. And He’s also rich in mercy.
Note 2 on verse 4 in the Recovery Version explains our need for God’s mercy:
“The object of love should be in a lovable condition, but the object of mercy is always in a pitiful situation. Hence, God’s mercy reaches farther than His love. God loves us because we are the object of His selection. But because of our fall we became pitiful, even dead in our offenses and sins; therefore, we need God’s mercy. Because of His great love, God is rich in mercy to save us out of our wretched position into a condition that is suitable for His love.”
We were evil and unloveable, even dead in our sins and offenses. But because of His great love for us, God’s mercy reached us in our pitiful situation to make us alive, raise us up, and seat us in the heavenlies in Christ.
John 3:16—God so loved the world
We’ve seen that God loved us even when we were in a pitiful state. Now let’s see more about what God did out of His great love for us.
John 3:16 tells us:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that everyone who believes into Him would not perish, but would have eternal life.”
This is tremendous. God loved the world by giving us His beloved Son.
Let’s read the first part of note 1 on this verse in the Recovery Version to see what this means:
“The world here refers to sinful, fallen people, who constitute the world. They have not only sin but also the poisonous element of the devil, the ancient serpent; hence, they have become serpents. They need Christ to die for them in the form of a serpent and be judged by God as their Substitute (v. 14); otherwise, they will perish (v. 16). Although men are utterly fallen, God still loves them with His divine love, which is Himself (1 John 4:8,16), because they are vessels created by God according to His own image to contain Himself (Gen. 1:26; Rom. 9:21a, 23).”
God loves us so much! He created us as vessels to contain Him. He still treasured us even after man’s fall caused us to become utterly filthy and defiled. We were incapable of containing the righteous and holy God, under God’s judgment to perish eternally. But God made a way of salvation.
God sent His Son, Jesus, to die as our Substitute on the cross and be judged for all our sins to save us from perishing forever. Yet as incredible as that is, it isn’t all. The next part of note 1 says:
“Moreover, He so loves them that He gave them His only begotten Son, His expression, that they might obtain His eternal life to become His many sons and be His corporate expression for the fulfillment of His eternal New Testament economy.”
God gave His Son so that all who believe into Him not only wouldn’t perish, but would also have His eternal life and become His sons.
When we heard the gospel, we repented and accepted Jesus as our Savior. We were forgiven of our sins because of the blood Jesus shed for us, and were saved from the judgment of perishing eternally. At the same time, as cleansed and redeemed vessels, we also received eternal life and became sons of God.
We who were fallen sinners now possess God’s eternal life by faith in Christ! What God in His love did for us surpasses our ability to comprehend. God did all of this so He could fulfill His plan to be joined to us and share His eternal life with us.
Galatians 2:20—The Son of God loved me
Jesus Christ died for us because He loved us. The apostle Paul was someone who knew and experienced His love in a personal and profound way.
Before Paul was saved, he was known as Saul. He was a zealous Pharisee who persecuted the believers in Jesus.
Speaking of his past life, Paul said in Galatians 1:13:
“For you have heard of my manner of life formerly in Judaism, that I persecuted the church of God excessively and ravaged it.”
Paul appears in the New Testament for the first time in Acts 7 as Saul. At that time, Saul was strongly, even vigorously, opposing the church of God. As the gospel spread and more people were being saved, Acts 9:1 tells us that Saul was “still breathing threatening and murder against the disciples of the Lord.”
But then in Acts 9:3-30, the Lord Jesus appeared to Saul and called him to Himself. The Lord’s great love and salvation reached even a person like Saul.
After he was saved, he became known as Paul and began to travel to bring the gospel of the love of God and the salvation of Jesus Christ to people. One of the many places he visited was the region of Galatia, and later he wrote to the believers there.
In Galatians 2:20 Paul declared:
“I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
Paul surely knew and preached how God loved the whole world. But here he couldn’t help but personally testify of Christ’s particular love for him: “the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
These words were Paul’s testimony. And each of us can also declare, “Christ loved me and gave Himself up for me!”
Now let’s read note 8 on this verse to see more about why Christ gave Himself up for us:
“The Son of God loved us and purposely gave Himself up so that He might impart the divine life into us.”
The Lord revealed that He gave Himself up for Paul not only to redeem him, but so that He could live in Him to be Paul’s life. This is how Paul could say it was no longer him living, but Christ.
As we saw in John 3:16, God loved us and sent His Son to save us by His redeeming death, and also to impart eternal life into us. Here we see Christ’s giving Himself up for us and imparting His life into us is also out of His love.
Galatians 3:13-14—Christ redeemed us by becoming a curse for us
In the next chapter of Galatians we see more details about Christ’s giving Himself up for us.
Let’s read Galatians 3:13-14:
“Christ has redeemed us out of the curse of the law, having become a curse on our behalf; because it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone hanging on a tree’; in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
It’s impossible for us to fathom, but the sinless Christ became a curse on our behalf on the cross. How amazing is His love for us! He became a curse that we might have the blessing, which is the promise of the Spirit.
In verse 14, note 2 on receive explains what this blessing is:
“In the gospel we have received not only the blessing of forgiveness, washing, and cleansing; even more, we have received the greatest blessing, which is the Triune God—the Father, Son, and Spirit—as the processed, all-inclusive life-giving Spirit dwelling in us in a most subjective way for our enjoyment. Oh, what a blessing that we can enjoy such an all-inclusive One as our daily portion!”
Christ loved us so much. He became a curse so that we fallen sinners could receive the most marvelous blessing: the entire Triune God as the life-giving Spirit dwelling in us to be our enjoyment. How utterly astonishing this is!
Our response to seeing God’s love for us
When we spend time to consider these kinds of details about God’s unfathomable love and what He did for us in Jesus Christ, we’re filled with wonder. We can only thank Him and love Him in return. How deep is God’s love for us!
Discussing all the facets of God’s love for us is beyond the scope of a simple blog post. We’ve only scratched the surface. But we hope the verses in this post increase your appreciation of God’s eternal love. We encourage you to read the verses with all their notes in the New Testament Recovery Version. If you live in Europe, you can order a free copy here.