It may be difficult for some to believe in the Father’s love. After all, as the One whose thunderous voice shook Mount Sinai He threatens wrath against sinners whom He hates (Ps 5:5; 11:5). With good reason do sinners fear the strict, severe and unyielding justice of God. The Bible is rich with examples illustrating this point. But we must not fail to appreciate the equally strong and eternally significant teaching about our heavenly Father’s compassion toward His beloved children.
To illustrate I refer to the night of Christ’s betrayal, when Jesus prayed Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me? (Jn 18:11). It was the Father’s cup! It was described by Isaiah as the cup of staggering, the bowl of wrath (Is 51:22). During the fiercest struggle of His life, as He bled agonizingly through strained pores, the Son prayed fervently to have this cup withdrawn (Mt 26:39). The thought of enduring the infinite weight of divine wrath so overwhelmed Him that His body started breaking down under the stress. He found His humanity engulfed by thick darkness and confronted with rank and robust evil. Could He not be spared this ghastly substitution?
But the Father was resolute. In love He predestined us and out of love He sent Christ. That great love with which the Father loved us compelled Him to place that appalling cup of wrath into the innocent hands of His own Son, His only Son, the Son whom He loves. What’s more, this pleased Him! (Is 53:10) Apparently the same joy set before Christ that sustained Him (Heb 12:2) was what brought pleasure to the Father who sent Him. Both Father and Son shared a common desire for our eternal salvation.
Can God do anything more to demonstrate His love for us? Rather than question His love we should simply admire its breadth and length and height and depth (Eph 3:18). Love moved the Father to place the cup, and the Spirit to fill the cup, and the Son willingly to drink that awful cup to its dregs. Who cannot marvel at the immeasurable love of the triune God? Who among us will fail to adore the love of our heavenly Father who willingly crushed His Son for our salvation? Who among us will refuse to marvel at the love of our crucified Savior who willingly endured such infinite suffering for our redemption? Who among us will decline to wonder at the love of our heavenly Comforter who willingly drove Christ into the wilderness, led Christ to Jerusalem and directed Christ to the cross?
It was God’s infinite reservoir of holy love that motivated salvation’s decree, accomplishment and application. The same just God who threatens wrath against our sin is the loving God who took the cup from our hands and placed it in His Son’s. It is the same God who in the Person of Christ fully imbibed the dregs of that cup which we as sinners so richly deserve. It is the same God who is pleased to breathe upon dead sinners quickening them so they can receive and rest upon the Redeemer. God’s love is deep, broad and eternal. It is a boundless ocean in which we will forever joyfully swim, an inexhaustible river of delights from which we will eternally partake (Ps 36:8), a perpetual fountain of living waters because of which we will never thirst (Jer 2:13). So let us not doubt the Father’s love. Against the backdrop of thunderous threats, let us rejoice in limitless love! Our immutable God always has and always will care deeply for His children.