The apostle Paul described the Christians in Rome as “beloved of God” (Rom.1:7). He described the Thessalonian Christians as “beloved by God” (1Thess.1:4) and as “beloved by the Lord” (2Thess.2:13). In all three instances it is proper to say that Christians are God’s beloved people.
In Rom.1:7 “beloved” is a verbal adjective with a passive sense. Firstly, the adjective says Christians are described as God’s beloved. Secondly, the passive says Christians are the recipients of God’s love. They are dearly loved by God. Leon Morris wrote, “That Christians are loved by God is not a truism but a truth to be received with awe and wonder.” The Old Testament emphasized that God loved the patriarchs of Israel and God loved Israel. In the New Testament the emphasis is on God’s love for those who are saved in Christ, the new Israel of God.
In the Thessalonian passages the word “beloved” is a passive verb in the perfect tense. We have already seen the implication of the passive. The perfect tense emphasizes the permanence of God’s love for the Christian, a love that began in past time, is active and unchanging in the present and will most certainly continue in the future. The assurance you have is this – God who began to love you in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, will never cease loving you. Hallelujah!!
In Rom.8:39 Paul’s contextual emphasis is that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The awe and wonder must increase. God loves you, a sinner and enemy, and in Christ He has graciously saved you and made you His child. And His promise is that He will never cease loving you and nothing will be able to separate you from His love. In other words, you will never lose your salvation in Christ. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.”
In 1Thess.1:4 Paul wrote, “knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you.” In 2Thess.2:13 Paul wrote, “brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation.” Note two important words : choice & chosen. God’s love for you is based on His sovereign uninfluenced choice of you. God’s choice of you, a totally depraved sinner, was not based on any merit in you. God’s choice of you was an eternal decision rooted in God’s secret counsels.
God chose to love you and in love He chose you “from the beginning” or from “before the foundation of the world.” (Eph.1:4). God’s purpose for loving you and choosing you is salvation in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Divine love that chose us began in eternity. That Divine love worked itself out in time in the death of Christ and in our salvation in Christ. That Divine love secures our relationship with God now and forever. The awe and the wonder of this Divine love stretch from eternity past into eternity future. Contemplate that! Be comforted! “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Phil.4:4).
Pastor Amresh Semurath