The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
God’s love for His people is everlasting. If there were ever a people who deserved to be forsaken, it would have been the nation of Israel. Their rebellion was met with God’s discipline, but He reminds them in this thirty-first chapter of Jeremiah’s prophecy that though He disciplines them, He will not desert them. They are covenant people, and God will be faithful to His promise, even when His children are not. Christians in this dispensation are under the New Covenant, and the God of Israel is our God. He cannot be other than loving to us for it is His immutable nature.
Some would say that such doctrine gives a license to sin, and they want you to believe God’s love is conditional—rooted in our changeable nature rather than in God’s unchanging one. The reality is that His love will not let us go. No matter what it takes to bring us back to Himself, God will exert that pressure. He holds us in His hand and no one can extract us. Should we seek to foolishly break His grasp, He squeezes ever tighter. Picture a small child holding his father’s hands as they cross a busy street. The little fellow may want to pull away—even cry that he is being restrained—but what kind of father would let him loose? No, love squeezes tight. If we love like this, how much greater is God’s everlasting love!
God speaks of how Israel received grace (v.2). Grace is God’s unmerited favor. It is given by the decree of God based solely on His nature and having nothing to do with any merit of ours. We did not deserve grace when God gave it at the first and we cannot keep it because we deserve it at the last. From start to finish, it is all of grace and all of God!
God’s everlasting love means that it was set on us before the world was created. Before there was a man or woman formed by God, He knew you and had purposed to love you. In time, you who were chosen by Him from eternity, were regenerated by the Spirit—God’s love indwelling you and sealing you as His own. When time shall be no more, His everlasting love remains and our love for Him will be perfected.