Is it a big stretch to think that God loves God? Is that a new thought? Is it a disturbing thought? Why and how could he not? Isn’t he the most worthy object of love ever known by man? In fact, wouldn’t it be rather odd if he did not love himself?
I am studying a book written by John Piper titled The Pleasures of God. This week the subject was the pleasure God takes in his fame, being known accurately and honored in the accurate and wide-spread knowledge of him.
The entire study lifts our thoughts beyond ourselves being central in Christianity to understand that it truly is all about God. He is central. We benefit from him being central to himself. God loves god. It is good that he does. It is totally appropriate that he does.
In our class discussions it has become evident that some of us struggle with the concept of God loving himself. It goes against the grain of our comfort level and how we have always thought of him. In fact we are seeking to lift our view of God in this study and see him more accurately. Accepting the concept that he loves himself is part of that progress.
God tells us to love our neighbor (other people in general) as we love ourselves. No matter what the level of our self-esteem, we all do take care of ourselves, protect ourselves, take precautions to provide what we feel we need. God tells us to lay that love for ourselves aside on occasion, and take care of someone else, protect them, take precautions to provide what they need. The implication is that we have a reservoir of love within us, since we have some measure of love for ourselves and, if we belong to God, we have his love to share as well.
So it really is not such a stretch to grasp that God loves himself. He is completely self-sufficient, consistently providing for himself the things in which he delights. He does not need to lay aside himself and his love for himself in order to love us – and yet he did exactly that. He set aside his deity for a span of earth time, fulfilled the law by living a perfect human life, was tortured and killed as a criminal and literally turned away from himself in order to extend his love to us in providing salvation.
But even as he did that it was his love for himself that took preeminence over his love for us. It was not primarily his love for us that motivated God to provide salvation. Romans 3 teaches us that God put forth Christ to show God’s own righteousness since he had passed over all former sins and could otherwise be labeled unjust in having done that. Christ’s death and resurrection was to demonstrate God’s righteousness at the present time, that he might be labeled both Just and the Justifier of the one who has faith in him. (Romans 3:21-26)
He loves us. Oh, yes, he loves us deeply. But Christianity does not revolve around us. Even our own Christianity must not revolve around us. We must understand that it all revolves around God himself and actually hinges on his great, consistent, appropriate, righteous love for himself. That is a God we can trust and love!