"And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts" (Romans 5:5a)




Certain Bible characters stand out as exhibiting the graces and qualities commended in Scripture.  We read of the "wisdom of Solomon" (Matthew 12:42), the "patience of Job" (James 5:11), and the "faith of Abraham" (Romans 4:16).




However the gold standard and original source of love is the "love of God".  The love of family, or friends, or a sweetheart are the greatest treasures we have in this world.  But to know the love of God shed abroad in our hearts is as the days of heaven upon the earth.  The good things of life do give a certain happiness to our outer life, but the knowledge in my heart that God loves me fills the human soul to capacity and overflowing. 




Romans chapter 5 goes on to expound this love of God.  We learn that His infinite love was made known in the same thing that showed His hatred of sin, the cross of Jesus Christ.  It is only here that we will find that love.  We learn first that His hatred of sin does not stop Him from loving sinners.  God knows we do not have the life and strength required to meet His perfect standards.  "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).
The human habit is to love (and sacrifice for, maybe) those we think are deserving.  "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die" (Romans 5:7).
But God opens His heart of love to man in the story of His Good News to sinners.  It is love without a reason, love that is undeserved and unearned.  "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).  This love commended in the pages of Scripture becomes the knowledge of the heart personally only for those who turn from sin and believe in Him.
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39).
 


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