“I will love them freely.”
Hosea 14:4 NKJV
This sentence is the essence of God in miniature. The person who understands its meaning is a theologian, and the one who can dive into its fullness is truly “Israel’s teacher” (John 3:10).
Today’s verse is a condensation of the glorious message of salvation that was delivered to us in Christ Jesus our Redeemer. The sense hinges on the word “freely.” This is the glorious, appropriate, divine way by which love streams from heaven to earth – a spontaneous love flowing out to those who never deserved it, purchased it, or sought after it. It is, indeed, the only way God can love people like us.
“I will love them freely.” The text is a deathblow to all sorts of personal merit. Now, if there were any merit in us, He would not love us freely – at least, the merit would be a mitigation and a drawback to the freeness of the love. But the truth stands: “I will love you freely.” We complain, “Lord, my heart is so hard.” He responds, “I will love you freely.” We say, “But I do not feel my need of Christ as I wish I could.” He responds, “I will not love you because you feel your need; I will love you freely.” We think, “But I do not feel that softening of spirit which I could desire.” Remember, the softening of spirit is not a condition, since there are no conditions. The covenant of grace has no conditionality whatever, so we – without any merit at all – can venture out on the promise that was made to us in Christ Jesus when God said, “There is no judgement against anyone who believes in him” (John 3:18 NLT).
It is blessed to know that the grace of God is free to us at all times, without preparation, without merit, without money, and without price! “I will love them freely.” These words invite backsliders to return; in fact, the text was written especially for them – “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely.” Oh Backslider! Surely the generosity of the promise will break your heart immediately. Wont you return and seek your injured Father’s face?
Morning and Evening
Morning, October 22nd