The following is a lightly edited transcript.
God intends for these gospel depths to deepen and sweeten your experience of being loved by God with a personal love that has no beginning and no ending.
So many Christians experience the love of God only as a love that offers and waits. They believe that God offers eternal life through the blood of Jesus, and then he waits to see what your self-determining will will make of it. This is celebrated as the love of God far and wide. It’s tragic that that it is all millions and millions of Christians consciously know of the love of God.
“If you know Jesus today, it’s because you were loved and chosen before the foundation of the world.”
God himself has given us a window on gospel depths of his love that are vastly more than that. He has done this so that we will exalt in the wonders of being loved personally, individually, from before eternity. Not because we believed. Not because we performed. But because God delighted to choose us. He just delights to be free. He chose us because he chose us in love.
We know brothers, loved by God that he has chosen you. (1 Thessalonians 1:4)
We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because God chose you. (2 Thessalonians 2:13)
When Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of the world, to go to the Father. Having loved his own, who in the world, he loved them to the end.” (John 13:1)
God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead, made us alive. (Ephesians 2:4)
Now Paul doesn’t use that phrase anywhere else: great love. Do you see what that means? That means that there is a love that does not respond to your response to him. He’s not waiting. You were dead. And out of the great love from eternity which he has for you, he made you alive so that you could believe, so that you could see his beauty, so that you could treasure him as his highest treasure, enjoy him as the greatest pleasure. That’s a different “personalness,” depth of love that many Christians never enjoy. That is very sad and cannot but have effects on our worldliness and our weakness.
If you’re alive today, that is, if you know God in Christ as your greatest treasure and if you enjoy God in Christ as your greatest pleasure, if you show God in Christ to the world as your greatest treasure and your greatest pleasure, it’s because you were loved and chosen before the foundation of the world.
So, be humble. Be holy. Be courageous in mission and in love for the glory of God.
Read, watch, or listen to the full conference message: