The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
The blessed good news of God's love towards us.
In his first letter to the five churches of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey), the apostle Peter refers to God’s persecuted people twice as “beloved” (2:11; 4:12).
In what sense are the redeemed saints of Christ “beloved”?
First of all, Christians are greatly beloved by God the Father.
Chosen by Him before the foundation of the world, the Father set His affection upon His precious sheep for no other reason than His own glorious will. Why does He love us? Not because of anything He saw in us; but due to His powerful sovereign grace.
But not only are all believers greatly loved by God the Father but also by God the Son. How could Jesus Christ not love us dearly after shedding His blood for our sins upon the cross?
He died so that we might live. He was moved by His vast redeeming love towards us. As Paul wrote, “I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
So we are loved by the Father and the Son. And thanks be to God, we are also dear to the Spirit of God. He is the Spirit of love (Romans 15:30; Galatians 5:22).
Once the Spirit of God is poured out upon our hearts, we too experience ourselves loved by God and simultaneously, our heart begins to ache after God.
When we find praise and worship welling up from within, it is a true working of the Spirit of God. He produces love in us towards God. This love is wrought alone in the regenerate.
In other words, our love for God is a fruit of His love for us. John writes, “We love him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
So, God’s people are triply favoured by the triune love of God.
But there is more.
Christians are also loved by one another. God’s sons and daughters are members of the same loving family.
The first epistle of John is written to show that the one who truly loves God also loves God’s wife with a pure and holy love i.e. His church. We cannot say that we love God if we do not love His beloved.
The redeemed, then, are loved by the Father, the Son, the Spirit and by the bride of Christ.
Now, why did Peter make such a fuss about God’s persecuted people being beloved?
Well, persecuted people are not exactly the most popular folk in the world. Rejected by their kinsmen and cast aside by their families, the Turkish Christians surely did not feel all that good. But Peter’s pastoral use of “beloved” helped alleviate their downcast lot.
Pastor Peter shows the Asia Minor believers things in their true light. They may be despised by their old companions, but by no means are they loathed by the Almighty. What a word of encouragement for the suffering saints.
If you are a child of God, remember this day that you are dearly beloved. The world may hate you and the serpent of Eden may spit his venom at you, but in Christ, you are greatly loved.
If God is for you, beloved citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem, who can be against you? Has not God promised that five of you shall chase a hundred and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight? (Leviticus 26:8).
It is written, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (2 Kings 6:16).
The Father loves you.
The Son loves you.
The Spirit loves you.
God’s people love you.
You are beloved!