When music aficionados shop for high-end equipment, they are not only looking for a powerful or smooth-sounding amplifier. The most expensive amp in the world is useless if quality speakers are not connected to it. The retail store has these speakers out and in use so they will be available to produce the best sounding music possible for their customers. They are the speakers to which all other speakers are compared, or referred to, for quality of sound, and therefore are called reference speakers. The point I will attempt to make in this article is that the Christian God is the ultimate referent in the earth for power and love.
In the last two posts, we have seen that all of the works and ways of the Christian God are perfect, without flaw or error. He is perfect in everything He does. There are several passages that have been noted, but for this post, what Jesus stated is sufficient: “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48 ESV). We could stop there, I suppose, in our proof of His perfection, since everything the Lord does is perfect; but it is exciting to delve into the nature of the most amazing Being that is possible for us to know.
First, let’s look at the truth that our Father is perfectly powerful. Although all of our examples of power are found in what He has created, such as lions, bears, tigers, elephants, wind, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, electricity, nuclear power, super novas, and all the rest, these are only His creations and therefore pale in comparison to the power He Himself possesses and wields. Absolutely nothing is outside the realm of His ability. He Himself affirmed this when Sarah laughed at the possibility of becoming pregnant in her old age: “Is anything too difficult for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” (Genesis 18:14).1 And again in Jeremiah: “Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, ‘Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?’” (Jeremiah 32:26–27). The implications of this wonderful truth are simple. Without question or dispute, no matter what is happening in the world or one’s life, God possesses the powerless to intervene, save, heal, or conquer. However, He does not always choose do so, after the purpose of His own will. In such circumstances, our faith is tested, perhaps severely. Regardless of our doubts, however, the Father God is perfect in power. There is nothing He cannot do. It is impossible that He does not have the power to act. He is the referent for power. All that we know about what is powerful flows from Him.
However, although we may not doubt His power—His ability to come to our aid or the aid of others—we may doubt His love in difficult times. “Why would God allow such a terrible thing if He loves me?” we may ask. In spite of our questions, the truth is that the Lord God is perfect in His love, and there is nothing absent from it. He is love, in fact. “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8). To know God is to know what love is. There is no referent for genuine love without Him. His love is without flaw or error. What we know of steadfast love, mercy, and forgiveness, we know from Him. Certainly brotherly love and erotic love exist among all people, but there is no knowledge of a love that does not fail—a love that cannot fail—without Him. Therefore, when circumstances and situations spiral out of control or downward, we must endeavor not to doubt His love. He cannot make a mistake in His love. He does not forget us. He once asked His people, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you” (Isaiah 49:15). The Lord is not inattentive to our plight. How could I think that the Father has forgotten me when He knows about every sparrow that falls and the number of hairs on my head? “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:29–30). It is ludicrous for me to believe that the Lord God Almighty, who knew my name before the worlds were formed, would somehow forget me (Revelation 13:8, 17:8).
I have been comforted many times by these words from Lamentations: “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22–23 ESV).
God’s love never stops. His mercies are inexhaustible; cannot be exhausted. Our God is perfect in love and power. “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever” (Revelation 5:13).
1Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
Thanks to Ben Williams for the photo.