What Does God Love?

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I was reading in Psalms 37 and there was a line that says “For the Lord loves justice”… and I thought how cool is it that the word directly told us what God loves.

I thought it would be fun and instructive for us to find out if there are any more places in the Bible that tell us directly what God loves.

If God loves it maybe we should too. And we know from Psalm 107 that God’s steadfast love endures forever. It never ends or changes so he must still love today those things he said he loves back then.

Psalm 36:7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God!

  1. THE WORLD John 3:16
    16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
    1. The world meaning the people he created in His image. Mankind
    2. 1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us.
    3. If God loves the people he created then I think we must do the same.
      Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  2. CHEERFUL GIVER 2 Corinthians 9:7
    Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

  3. JUSTICE Psalm 37:28
    For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
    1. It was God’s justice that put Jesus to death. Because the only way we could be Justified is if the penalty for our transgressions were paid for. The requirement of the law must be fulfilled. And it was in Jesus.
      1. Listen to what we will pay if we do not receive this amazing free gift from God.

      2. 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9
        dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

      3. So we should love that God is just. He doesn’t just let the sin go undealt with. If he did he would be unjust. He is even going to justly deal with all the wicked things of this world.

      4. Revelation 21:4
        He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

 

  • RIGHTEOUNESS Psalm 11:7
    For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

 

      1. Ephesians 2:10
        For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
      2. Proverbs 15:9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but he loves him who pursues righteousness.
      3. Psalm 146:8 “The Lord loves the righteous”

 

  • Hosea 3:1
    And the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.”

 

    1. We should love the jews. God chose them to be the people to receive the Law and to bring us the messiah. 
    2. Jesus was a jew. 
    3. All of the apostles where jews.
    4. Let’s be praying for those who have not received Jesus as their messiah. Let’s pray for revival.
  1. John 16:27
    for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.
    1. God loved the disciples.
  2. John 10:17
    For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.
    God loves His Son He always has and He always will john 15:9
    As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
    1. God loves Jesus

Prayer

Dear Lord,

Thank you for your steadfast love. Thank you for loving us even yet while we were sinners. Thank you for showing us in your word what you love. We pray that we would abide in your love every day. We pray your love would manifest in our hearts and pour out into our relationships with others. May your love change us and transform us. May your love radically impact our marriages by the way we love our spouse. Help us to understand even more deeply your love for us and receive it with a humble heart. We pray we would show you our love by obeying your word and keeping it. 

In Jesus’ name, amen!

READ TRANSCRIPT

Aaron Smith: Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God.

Jennifer Smith: Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

Aaron Smith: And today we’re going to talk about what God loves.

Aaron Smith: (music)

Aaron Smith: Welcome to the Marriage After God Podcast where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after.

Jennifer Smith: I’m Jennifer, also known as Unveiled Wife.

Aaron Smith: And I’m Aaron, also known as Husband Revolution.

Jennifer Smith: We have been married for over a decade.

Aaron Smith: And so far, we have four young children.

Jennifer Smith: We had been doing marriage ministry online for over seven years through blogging and social media.

Aaron Smith: With the desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith every day.

Jennifer Smith: We believe that Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one, full of life…

Aaron Smith: … love…

Jennifer Smith: … and power…

Aaron Smith: … that can only be found by chasing after God…

Jennifer Smith: … together.

Aaron Smith: Thank you for joining us on this journey as we chase boldly after God’s will for our life together.

Jennifer Smith: This is Marriage After God.

Jennifer Smith: (music)

Aaron Smith: Hey, thanks for joining us on a new episode new week, new episode. And we’re glad to have you. We like to call you guys our Marriage After God family, so thanks for being a part of this show. You guys mean a lot to us. And before we get into the topic today, we want to invite you if you have not done so already to leave us a review. A star rating is the easiest way to do it. All you got do is scroll to the bottom of the podcast app, choose a star rating and boom you’re done. Or you can go even a little further and you can leave us a written review which we love to read. And those reviews, those star ratings help new listeners find us. It’s how all these podcast apps rank our show based off of reviews and downloads. So we’d really appreciate if you took a moment and left us a review.

Jennifer Smith: Another thing we want to let you guys know about if you also haven’t done this already is the Marriage Prayer Challenge. We created this challenge for you as a way just to inspire your prayer life. If you are interested, it’s really easy to sign up marriageprayerchallenge.com.

Aaron Smith: It’s completely free. And you’ll get 30 emails, 31 emails every day, reminding you and giving you prompts for what to pray for for your spouse.

Jennifer Smith: Not 31 emails a day, but-

Aaron Smith: No, not 31 emails a day. You’ll get 31…

Jennifer Smith: One email.

Aaron Smith: … emails, one a day.

Jennifer Smith: One a day for 31 days.

Aaron Smith: Yeah. And it’s pretty awesome. We’ve had hundreds and hundreds of people already sign up for it, so we just want to invite you. It’s completely free. marriageprayerchallenge.com and take the challenge.

Jennifer Smith: All right, so Aaron, you came up with this topic today. You felt inspired to talk about what God loves. Before we jump into maybe what inspired you, just off the top of your head, without looking at our notes or anything like that, what does God love?

Aaron Smith: When I was thinking about this, the first thing that came to mind was the most famous verse of all, John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever should believe in him, will not perish but everlasting life.”

Aaron Smith: So that was the first thing I thought of was like, Oh, he loves his creation. He loves his people, the ones that he made in his image. So that was the first thing I thought of-

Jennifer Smith: That’s cool.

Aaron Smith: When I was thinking about going through these verses we’re going to go through today. Which now that we’re into the topic, the idea of this episode was, it came out of some Bible reading I was doing the other day. And I was reading in Psalms chapter 37. And there was a line in there that says, and I believe it’s verse 28. And it says,” For The Lord loves justice.”

Aaron Smith: And so I was reading it, and I’ve read that a lot in the past. And I’ve read in other places where it talks about what God loves. But there was a moment that I said, “Oh, this is literally telling me one of the things that God specifically loves. It’s not just talking about in general. It’s saying, “The Lord loves this.” And I just, I thought that was a pretty impressive thing that the Bible told us something that God loves.

Aaron Smith: And so I thought to myself, I was like, “I wonder how many other places it tells us what God loves using the specific terms, The Lord loves, or God loves, or The Father loves, in regards to God The Father.” So I did that. I kind of did some research and I dug through and I found some cool verses. And I just thought this would be a fun episode to discuss the things that God loves. And I kind of also thought like, “If God loves it, maybe we should too.”

Jennifer Smith: So this reminds me of, I don’t know if our listeners read Jeremy and Audrey’s book, A Love Letter Life, but there’s a part of it that I just really love. A chapter about the principle of sharing.

Aaron Smith: Yeah, we talked about this a bit.

Jennifer Smith: And it’s this idea that if your spouse loves something, or likes something, or has a hobby of some sort, then that means that there’s something to love about it, or something to like about it. And so it kind of reminds me of this same concept. If God loves something, there’s something to love about it. And so we should be paying attention.

Aaron Smith: And probably not just something when it comes to God, it’s like the thing we should love probably.

Jennifer Smith: Right.

Aaron Smith: And I’m sure most of these as we go through them we’ll be like, “Yeah we love like that.” But I guess the question we should ask ourselves as we read through these is, do we truly love the things that God loves, and at least start a prayer journey. And it’s like, “Hey Lord, do I love these things and what does it look like to love these things and why do you love them?” And I don’t know, maybe it will cause our listeners to dig into the word of God and find out for themselves.

Jennifer Smith: Well, why do you think it would be important for us to acknowledge, or tune into what God loves? Why does it matter?

Aaron Smith: Well, I believe there’s probably a lot of Christians out there that say they love God, say they love Jesus, but oftentimes the love is this one way kind of love. Like we love the idea of God, or Jesus or the mighty power or whatever we want to call it. But as Christians, I know that there’s varying maturity levels and someone might say they love God. But it’s a much different kind of love when you love what they love. Like if I say, “I love God:, then I’m going to love the things that God loves. If I said, “I love Jesus”, Jesus even says himself, “If you love me, you will obey me.” And for us to obey Jesus is to essentially love the things he loves and hate the things he hates.

Aaron Smith: So if he loves us loving our neighbors, then he hates us hating our neighbors. Right? Though that’s a simple contrast. But I just think, if we love God, wouldn’t we want to know what he loves, who he is, what he’s about? I was just… Go ahead.

Jennifer Smith: I was just going to say this is what’s already inspiring me and encouraging me about this episode is that it’s a way of getting to know God in a very specific way. And like you said, getting to know what it is he loves. And if our prayer is that our hearts are aligned with his, and we are transformed to be like him, then we will love the things that he loves.

Aaron Smith: Yeah, and I think about it… The reason it surprised me so much when it said, “The Lord loves x, or this thing.” I just kind of imagined it like if I was to sit with you Jennifer and say, “Babe, would you write down just things you love?” Which I think we should do. I think they’d be a little cool exercise. Like what do you love? And it doesn’t have to be exhaustive, like all million things that you love. But if you were just to boil down the simplest things that you love in life. And then I think like how cool is it that God did that? God kind of gave us his, not definitive list of things he loves, but he writes down-

Jennifer Smith: They’re very specific…

Aaron Smith: Very specific things that he loves and we’re going to dig into those. And of course you’ve heard one of them. We’ll talk about that in a little bit, justice. But I think that’s really cool. I was listening to a pastor talking about, going back to the idea of Christians saying they love God, but maybe not the things he loves.

Aaron Smith: He was talking about people who say they love God, Christians, but they say things like, “Oh, I don’t need doctrine and theology. I just need Jesus. I don’t need the specific words. I just need this idea.”

Aaron Smith: And he was saying, he’s like, “The problem with that is if we say we love God, don’t we want to get to know him?” And the only way to get to know him is through doctrine and theology, his word.

Jennifer Smith: His word, yeah.

Aaron Smith: The word of God. That’s the written manuscript, the written document he gave us of who He is. Which is pretty powerful to think about. And so why don’t we… We’re going to dig through, and there’s a handful of verses we’re going to talk about and then we’re just going to discuss them. I’m going to read the verse, and then we’ll talk about maybe why He loves that, just what it means to us. And how we could love those same things, maybe.

Jennifer Smith: Okay. So when I was going through our notes for this episode and you’ve been so inspired by this topic, the first thing that I thought about was Psalms 36:7. “How precious is your steadfast love, oh God.”

Aaron Smith: I love that.

Jennifer Smith: How precious is it? So even the fact that we’re studying it’s like, we’ve got to remember that it’s steadfast it endures forever. I love God’s love. Okay.

Aaron Smith: And I also want to say that that steadfast love, it’s unchanging. So the things that we’re going to bring up, when it says that He loves them, He’s unchanging. He still loves those things.

Jennifer Smith: Yeah, he still loves it.

Aaron Smith: Even though they’re maybe in the Old Testament in some of these verses. What God loves, He still loves, He doesn’t change those things. Okay, so…

Jennifer Smith: I know you already mentioned it, but let’s just start over.

Aaron Smith: Yeah. The first verse we’re going to talk about is John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

Jennifer Smith: The world meaning people, mankind.

Aaron Smith: Yeah, it’s not talking about the system of the world. Of course. It’s talking about mankind. It’s talking about God’s creation as man, in his own image. He loves mankind so much that He gave his only son. And we know this because then it says, “whoever”, meaning men or women, believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Aaron Smith: So I think first of all, if God loved the world so much to give his only son, how much do you think we should love people?

Jennifer Smith: A lot.

Aaron Smith: A lot. And I think a lot of Christians gravitate toward this a lot of saying like, “We just need to love people. We just need to love people.” Which is awesome. But I think the level of love that this is saying, even to death. Like sending his son to redeem mankind, not just to love them where they’re at, but to actually give them a way out of the trap of death and sin that we were put under bondage to because of Adam and Eve.

Aaron Smith: He sent His son to give us freedom. To save His people. Not just like, “Oh, I love you. My son’s dead now.” No, there was a purpose behind it. He loved people so much that he sent his son Jesus to die the death that his people that he created deserve. So that his people that deserve to die and be in wrath don’t have to. To preserve them, to save them, to redeem them through his son’s blood and death. And miraculously his resurrection, which then also gives his people, the world, that he loves so much, new life in him. And I think that’s really powerful.

Aaron Smith: So when we talk about how much we should love the world, is it like this superficial of just saying like, “Oh, I love you.” Or is it like it tells us in First Thessalonians that we are ministers of reconciliation. We love them so much that we’re going to tell them about Jesus.

Jennifer Smith: Right. And it’s not just that he loves Christians, because Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He loves all people.

Aaron Smith: All people.

Jennifer Smith: Yeah.

Aaron Smith: But the love that he has is a redemptive love.

Jennifer Smith: Yeah, it’s beautiful.

Aaron Smith: It’s not a “leaving as you are love”. So our love should be the same. It should be a redemptive love of, “We love you because God created you in his image.”

Aaron Smith: And so I can’t look at any person and say, “You’re not lovable. You’re not worthy.” Like you just said in the beginning. If God loves a person, then there’s something in them to love. And if it’s the only thing that’s in them is the image of God, that’s way more than enough. Right? Because every human being bears the image of God. They’re created in his likeness. But the way we love is in truth and in spirit. And so we present in love who Christ is to people. Because that’s the most loving thing we can do.

Aaron Smith: So I just thought this one’s a powerful one to think about. God loves his people. Not just Christians, but the people he created. All the people.

Aaron Smith: (music).

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Aaron Smith: Okay. Why don’t you read the next verse and then we’ll talk about it.

Jennifer Smith: Okay. The next one is 2nd Corinthians 9:7, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly, or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Aaron Smith: Here’s another one.

Jennifer Smith: This is very specific.

Aaron Smith: God loves. What does he love?

Jennifer Smith: A cheerful giver.

Aaron Smith: A cheerful giver. So we’ve talked about this in the past in episodes on generosity.

Jennifer Smith: Or finances.

Aaron Smith: Or finances. And the Bible’s very clear about giving. We should do it. But then it’s also very clear how we should do it. Without reluctancy, without compulsion. Meaning someone’s not coming to me saying, “You must give. And if you don’t give, you are not a…” Right? No, it’s, “I have a desire in my heart to give, and I want to do it joyfully, cheerfully. I’m happy to give this portion, whatever I’m going to give. I’m so cheerful to give this, because I know where my reward lies. It’s in heaven. Not with man, not in my bank account, not in my house.”

Aaron Smith: So it even talks about this in the Old Testament when it talks about the tabernacle being built. God over and over and over again, when he was giving the instructions on what should be given, he gives this command to give, but only to those who had a heart to do so. Which is pretty powerful to think about. Now, I wouldn’t have wanted to been the only one in that community, in the Jewish community, not giving to the first tabernacle. Everyone, it sounds like everyone did. But they all gave out of a willing heart is what it says. They were wanting to give. They were willing to give. They were ready. And they gave whatever they could for the fulfillment of that tabernacle, the first tabernacle.

Aaron Smith: And so I think it’s really awesome that God loves a cheerful giver. What would you say someone could take from this who maybe is afraid of giving, or doesn’t like giving because of where they’re at financially? Like how could they be encouraged by this?

Jennifer Smith: Well, I think the first thing is just to acknowledge that it says a cheerful giver, and there’s lots of things we can give. We can give our money, our resources, our time, our energy, our effort, our love, right?

Aaron Smith: Possessions.

Jennifer Smith: Our possessions. There’s a lot of things that we can give in life. And so my question, or my challenge would be to our listeners, consider where your heart that today when it comes to giving, and the opportunities God gives you to give.

Jennifer Smith: And are you someone who has decided in his heart to be a cheerful giver? Because you know what? God loves a cheerful giver.

Aaron Smith: Loves him.

Jennifer Smith: That makes me want to stop and think, “Am I being cheerful when I give?”

Aaron Smith: Yeah. I would actually give a warning also. If you are desiring to give, but it’s out of a reluctant heart. Like, “I don’t really want to do this, but I’m going to do it anyway.” Or a compulsion like, “Oh, if I don’t do this, then so-and-so is going to judge me.” Don’t do it.

Jennifer Smith: Or you end up… Oh, I was going to say, or you end up.. you don’t give, and you’re withholding because of those feelings. That’s not going to make you feel good.

Aaron Smith: No, but what I would say, if they are feeling those things, it’d be better not to give. And pray about and say, “Okay, Lord, my heart isn’t right.”

Jennifer Smith: Change me, God.

Aaron Smith: Change me, God. And have cheerfulness. Or give at a level that you can be cheerful about it. Right. To practice giving with a cheerful attitude.

Jennifer Smith: Here’s another kind of layer to this that I want to add, because we’re a marriage podcast, consider this in light of your spouse. How do you give to them? I don’t know why I just felt super convicted in my own relationship with you, Aaron. And how I give to you, or how I don’t give to you.

Aaron Smith: And are you a cheerful giver in marriage? That’s a good question for us to ask.

Jennifer Smith: I should be-

Aaron Smith: Don’t answer it. That’s a great question. I think in their marriage…

Jennifer Smith: Consider the way you-

Aaron Smith: Are you a cheerful giver to your spouse?

Jennifer Smith: Well, and consider the different ways you give to your spouse on a daily basis and what that looks like. And just spend some time thinking about it.

Aaron Smith: Yeah. And if you’re ever concerned about like, “Well if I give, what does that mean? How’s God going to help me, or take care of me or these things.” Right?

Jennifer Smith: Don’t give with expectations.

Aaron Smith: Well, what I was going to say is at least know this. God loves it when you do it cheerfully.

Jennifer Smith: Oh man.

Aaron Smith: Right?

Jennifer Smith: That’s good.

Aaron Smith: So I would say dig into the word of God and find out what he says about it more. But yeah, minimum. God loves it when we give out of a cheerful heart. Okay. Number three. Psalm 37, verse 28.

Jennifer Smith: This is kind of what kick-started this whole thing.

Aaron Smith: This is what kick-started the whole thing. It says this, “For the Lord loves justice. He will not forsake his saints”, which by itself is a really powerful part of the verse. “They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.”

Aaron Smith: I think that’s awesome. So it was God’s justice. I want to talk about it, because I’m sure people were like, “Oh justice, like social justice?” No. I just want to say right now, this is not the same thing as social justice. There’s only one kind of justice in the Bible and it’s justice. God’s justice is so good and it’s so complete. And if we believe in God, and we believe in what he says about justice, we will have a fuller picture of what justice looks like in the world. So I just wanted to say that first.

Aaron Smith: But think about this. It was God’s justice that put Jesus to death. Because remember when we just talked about this. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.” We deserve justly to die for our sin. That’s the beginning of the gospel, is recognizing who we are in this world. We are sinners, deserving wrath from God because he is a perfectly just, perfectly Holy God, and we are not holy, and we have missed the mark, or sinned. And we have fallen short of the Glory of God. So it’s God’s justice that put Jesus to death.

Aaron Smith: So think about this. He loved his son, and we’re going to learn about that in a little bit. Put him to death for his people he also loved, and then Jesus was resurrected and now he has his son in glory and his people in glory, which is awesome. So his justice in perfect fulfillment brings salvation to the whole world for those who believe. That’s incredible. So that’s full, complete justice. That all men deserve death. But because of what Jesus did, all men can have life. We don’t deserve life because there’s nothing in us that we’ve done that would give us justly, freedom.

Aaron Smith: Only Christ did that, because the only way we could be justified is if the penalty of our transgression was paid for. The requirement of the law must be fulfilled, and it was fulfilled in Jesus. So shouldn’t we love justice too? Like thank God. He’s completely just, and justified us in Jesus Christ. That he didn’t just pretend sin didn’t exist. He didn’t just say like, “Oh, I’m not even going to think about all those sinful things you did. And I’m not going to think about the wrath that you deserve.” That would not be a just God. That would be a unjust God. Him just pretending like nothing happened. Think about a judge who sees a case and there’s a murderer on the trial and the judge just says, “You know what? I’m just going to forget about the murder. It’s not a big deal.”

Aaron Smith: What about the family that… That’s not justice. There has to be punishment and payment for the crime. Instead, what happens is, and we’ve heard the story before, the lawyer says, “I’ll take the punishment”, right? So this is what we see. God loves justice and he fulfilled his justice and Jesus Christ, so that we can be justified. And if that doesn’t make you love justice, and just love God even more.

Aaron Smith: Okay. So I just want to dig into this idea of of God loving justice, and how good it is that he fulfilled his justice in Christ. Because listen to what happens if we don’t receive the gift that God gave us in his son Jesus. If we don’t let Jesus take God’s wrath on himself. In second Thessalonians 1:8-9, it says this, “Dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus, these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.”

Aaron Smith: That’s what we deserve. But because of Christ, we don’t receive that. If we believe in Jesus Christ, that he is Lord, and that God raised him from the dead, we will be saved from that punishment that every man and woman on earth deserves. That’s the gospel. So we should love that God, because he’s just. We don’t want to love an unjust God. We want a God that is fully just, and fully good. Otherwise, he’s a corrupt God. But he can’t be corrupt because he’s fully just. So we got to love justice. We got to love wrongs being righted, penalties being paid, punishment being dealt. Those things sound bad, but they’re good, because that’s what a good God, a good judge, a good system does. Because there are things that are wrong that need to be dealt with. Thank God he dealt with them.

Aaron Smith: God doesn’t just let our sin go undealt with. He actually deals with our sin and that’s just incredible. So we should love that justice, because it’s the right way and it’s the way God has dealt with everything. So he’s not just forgetting about it, pretending it didn’t happen. He’s dealing with it completely, utterly sending it into oblivion.

Aaron Smith: Last verse in this idea of justice. Revelations 21 verse four. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more. Neither shall there be mourning nor crying, nor pain anymore. For the former things have passed away.”

Jennifer Smith: So this is the hope we have to look forward to.

Aaron Smith: This is the hope.

Jennifer Smith: Because of what Jesus did.

Aaron Smith: Because of the justice that God dealt out on his son, Jesus. That he paid for our sins. And we put our belief in him as it tells us in John 3:16. This is where our hope lies. No longer in the eternal destruction, but in eternal healing, eternal paradise. Peace. Okay. Why don’t you read the next one?

Jennifer Smith: Okay. Psalm 11:7. “For the Lord is righteous. He loves righteous deeds. The upright shall behold his face.” That’s good.

Aaron Smith: Yeah. This is probably like-

Jennifer Smith: God loves righteousness.

Aaron Smith: He loves righteousness. He loves right living. He loves righteous deeds, specifically. So it says the Lord is righteous. So he can’t love the opposite of that, wickedness. And we actually know this, because he says he hates the wicked, but he loves righteous deeds. So he likes it when… Not likes it. He loves it when we walk in the good deeds that we see Jesus walk in. When we love people, when we’re compassionate, when we’re caring, when we’re generous, when we’re these things that the Bible directs believers to do, in the power of the Holy Spirit of course, he loves it. He loves those things.

Aaron Smith: So that one probably goes without much description, but do we love righteousness? Do we love righteous deeds? When you think of righteous deeds, what do you think of, Jennifer?

Jennifer Smith: I just think of doing the right thing. I think of being a moral person. I think of obeying God, and all that he’s commanded in his word.

Aaron Smith: So, just if you look at your own life, now this isn’t like a works thing. So we’re like going to do all these righteous things and that’s going to make us righteous. But in Christ, through the Holy spirit, when we walk the way God calls us to walk, with each other, with our spouse, with our children, with the other believers in the body of Christ, with our neighbors, with unbelievers. God loves it. He loves it when he sees his children walking out the things that he’s prepared for us to walk out in. Those good deeds, the righteousness that he’s given us.

Aaron Smith: And we should love it too. We should love righteousness. We should cheer on when we see someone walking in righteousness.

Jennifer Smith: Yeah. Our kids, our spouse, friends.

Aaron Smith: And we should let them and know and be like, “Praise God. God loves the way you’re walking right now. God loves that thing you did.” And not get jealous of it. Not critique it. Maybe critique is necessary, it depends on what it is. But I’m just saying like if you see someone walking, somebody say, “God loves what you’re doing, God loves that.”

Jennifer Smith: That’s cool. And I would say that it’s his love for us and within us that motivates us to want to be righteous.

Aaron Smith: Absolutely. And the Holy Spirit that empowers us to even do it. Because we can’t do it in the flesh.

Jennifer Smith: And that Psalm that I read, it’s not the only place that says this. Another Psalm would 146:8. It says, “The Lord loves the righteous.” Proverbs 15:9. “The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but he loves him who pursues righteousness.”

Aaron Smith: Yeah. And I think about on that Proverbs verse, 1st John says, “He who practices righteousness is righteous.” And he uses this idea of practicing it. Are we getting better at becoming righteous like Christ? Is it something that we’re over time learning tricks of the trade, or I should say like, we’re getting better at it. Practice constitutes getting better at something.

Jennifer Smith: Yeah. Don’t get hung up on your imperfection because I’m someone who does this too. If something’s not done perfectly, I want to throw my hands up in the air and get frustrated. But like what you’re saying is practicing that righteousness, you will get better over time, because you’re making a choice every day.

Aaron Smith: Yeah. And God loves it. He loves those things that we’re practicing, and growing in, and moving forward towards, and walking in. Okay. So move on to number five. Again, we’re talking about things that God loves. Hosea 3:1. Okay. “And the Lord said to me, go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulterous. Even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turned to their gods and love cakes of raisins.”

Jennifer Smith: That’s kind of random.

Aaron Smith: Yeah, but what Hosea’s talking about, Hosea was a prophet, and God’s using Hosea to show the people of Israel how they’ve committed adultery on God. How they’ve abandoned his relationship with them, their covenants, like a marriage. And he uses Hosea to do that. But in this verse he’s saying, “Go again and love a woman who has loved another man.”

Aaron Smith: So he’s saying, “What I’m going to do is I’m going to go love Israel, even though Israel has cheated on me, left me, turned their face away from me, worshiped other gods”, right? And he’s saying, “Go love a woman like that, because that’s what I’m going to do.” God has always loved Israel, and he’s not going to stop. That hasn’t changed. I don’t care what anyone says. God still loves Israel. Okay?

Aaron Smith: Now he loves the whole world, right? He said that. So this isn’t to say like, “Oh, he loves Israel more”, but for anyone to say that God doesn’t love Israel, they haven’t read the word of God. Because right here it says, “The Lord loves the children of Israel.” And he has not changed his mind on this. And so at minimum, we should also love the children of Israel. We should look at Israel, the Jews, and say, “Man, I love those people.”

Aaron Smith: Because think about this. Jennifer, you sent me a video of these Christian… What were they? They were a Messianic Jews. They were Christian Jews. So they were Christians, but they were Jewish. So they love Jesus, and they’re just talking about what their faith means and how they fit into the picture. And they talked about how Jesus was a Jew. All the apostles were Jews. The first Christians, guess who they were. Jews. And that’s an incredible thing. We can not forget that. As people of of Christ, we can not just throw that out and be like, “Nope, it’s always been Gentiles only.” No, actually the first church started with Jews. Jesus himself was one. All of the apostles, Paul included, Jew.

Aaron Smith: And so when I think about it saying, “God loves Israel”, I think we should have a heart for Israel. And babe, I’ve loved seeing you because you love learning about Israel and history.

Jennifer Smith: I find it fascinating. Yeah.

Aaron Smith: And reading about what’s going on in Israel and the people and the language even.

Jennifer Smith: I pay attention to them headlines in the news for recent discoveries and stuff, because they have unearthered-

Aaron Smith: You’re talking about excavations and…

Jennifer Smith: Yeah. So much history and things that support the Bible, and the history of the Bible. And so, I have a love for Israel.

Aaron Smith: So at minimum,, friends we should love Israel also. I don’t know if that means, but we should love those people just like we love everyone. But we should look at it and say, “Man, God loves Israel.” I pray that there’s a mass revival in Israel. That the Jewish Nation would come to know the Lord in droves.

Aaron Smith: That they would recognize that the God that they worship sent his son Jesus to be the Messiah. He was the Messiah. He was the anointed one. He was the Christ, theirs and ours.

Jennifer Smith: Yeah. All right, let’s jump into the next one.

Aaron Smith: Okay. So number six is John 16:27. This is Jesus talking and he says, “For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me. And I believe that I came from God.” And guess who he’s talking to?

Jennifer Smith: The disciples.

Aaron Smith: He’s talking to his disciples. So he’s saying, “For the Father himself loves you disciples because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” And what’s awesome about this is because the disciples believed before everyone else did, before Jesus even died on the cross, or ascended into heaven, or showed himself to them after he resurrected, they believed. And I think that’s an incredible thing,, because we believe and get to have the Holy Spirit right now. They believed amidst him being alive and walking with them as a man.

Aaron Smith: Imagine if a man was standing right next to you right now. He’s like, “I’m Jesus, I’m the Messiah.”

Aaron Smith: And you’re like, “Excuse me? Are you sure about that?” So they believed then. They were some of the first to believe, and he’s just pointing out, he’s like, “God, my Father loves you, because you have believed that he sent me, and you love me.”

Aaron Smith: And so God loved the disciples.

Jennifer Smith: They had a big job to do.

Aaron Smith: They had a huge job. They literally were starting the church, and giving the full revelation of Jesus Christ to the world. Through the epistles, through Paul, through the letters that we were going to receive after Jesus ascended into heaven. And so-

Jennifer Smith: If they weren’t fully convinced of God’s love, none of that would’ve happened.

Aaron Smith: Nothing. Yeah. And so I want to point out something. If there’s any of the disciples writings in the Bible that you have a qualm with for some reason, just know this. God loves the disciples, and he loves the things that they wrote, and he loves their epistles. And so when we read the New Testament, and we read letters from the disciples, and we read their gospel accounts, we can know that they are true. And we should, right? So I just wanted to give a little bit of credibility, extra credibility. If you’ve had any doubt before, do not doubt that the word of God is inerrant, and perfect, and breathed and inspired by God.

Jennifer Smith: All right, so the last one we’re going to share with you guys. Maybe we should have started with, because he’s been from the beginning, but God loves his son. They are one, and in love.

Aaron Smith: So John 10:17. “For this reason, the Father loves me”, again, this is Jesus talking. “Because I lay down my life that I might take it up again.”

Jennifer Smith: He loves his son. Another one is John 15:9. “As the father has loved me. So I have loved you.” And then he tells us very specifically, “Abide in my love.”

Aaron Smith: So God loves his son, Jesus. Therefore we should too. It’s a simple one, but these are the handful of verses that I found that specifically say something that God loves. And I think they should… Apparently they’re notable like, Oh these are specific. It’s almost like the gospel story. There’s justice, there’s his word, there’s righteousness.

Jennifer Smith: Righteousness.

Aaron Smith: There’s his disciples. There’s…

Jennifer Smith: Being a cheerful giver.

Aaron Smith: … the world. There’s… Yeah. Giving. Because for God so loved the world he gave [crosstalk 00:34:50], cheerfully his son. Think about it. All of these things have something to do with each other.

Jennifer Smith: That’s cool.

Aaron Smith: So it just makes this one big picture of the gospel, right? The good news of Jesus Christ, and the salvation we receive in him because we’ve believed in him. And so fun little episode. Talking about-

Jennifer Smith: I liked it.

Aaron Smith: It’s essentially like a little study that I went through. And I want to encourage our listeners to dig in themselves, as a couple. Figure out how these can apply to your life. What deeper meaning can you find in them? Follow the rabbit trails. When you see those little letters next to the words in some of these verses. Those are called footnotes. You look at that letter and it relates to another scripture. And go find that other scripture and follow those little trails and see what you come up with.

Jennifer Smith: We also just want to encourage you to consider how God’s love is truly transformational. Like Aaron said, all of these verses that we shared today have to do with each other, have to do with the gospel. And that is what has changed us as believers, and has transformed our lives. And also as transformed our marriages. And I would hope you guys would be a testament of that same power. And so look at your life, look at your marriage, look at your spouse and see how God’s love has transformed you guys. Talk about it.

Aaron Smith: Yeah, and let it continue to transform you.

Jennifer Smith: Yeah.

Aaron Smith: I feel like the more I learn about God, his word, his son, Jesus, the gospel, his love for me. The more I want to change, the more humble I become, the more I want to give up anything that’s of myself. And it’s a slow process at times, but when I think about how much he’s forgiven in me, how much he’s justified me, what he’s given me for something I could never pay for. It makes me want more of him.

Aaron Smith: And so that’s our prayer for you. And speaking of prayer, we like to end our episodes in prayer and so we’re going to do that right now. Would you join us?

Aaron Smith: Dear Lord, thank you for your steadfast love. Thank you for loving us even yet, while we were still sinners. Thank you for showing us in your word what you love. We pray that we would abide in your love every day. We pray your love would manifest in our hearts and pour into our relationships with others. May your love change us and transform us. Ma your love radically impact our marriages by the way we love our spouse. Help us to understand even more deeply your love for us and receive it with a humble heart. We pray we would show you our love by obeying your word and keeping it. In Jesus name, amen.

Aaron Smith: Guys, thank you for so much for joining us on this episode. As usual, we just want to remind you, please leave us a review and a rating, and also we look forward to having you next week.

Aaron Smith: Did you enjoy today’s show? If you did, it would mean the world to us. If you could leave us a review on iTunes. Also, if you’re interested, you can find many more encouraging stories and resources at marriageaftergod.com and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

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