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“As Thou hast Loved Me”

John 17:23


That little word, “as,” means “just as,” “even as,” in proportion as,” “to the same degree as.” When our Lord says, “Thou hast loved them, as thou hast loved me,” he is telling us that there is a similarity of cause between God’s love for him and his love for us. — “Thou hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” The Lord God loves us for the same reason He loves His dear Son.


In Christ

God’s love is not a universal sentiment for all men. God’s love is in Christ. Apart from Christ, God is a consuming fire. This needs to be understood. These days, men everywhere are taught and universally presume that God loves them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Until you are united to Christ by faith, you have no reason to imagine that God loves you. Our faith in Christ does not cause God to love us. Our faith is the fruit and result of God’s eternal love for us. But, until a sinner trusts Christ, only the wrath of God is revealed and known to him; and the wrath of God is upon him (John 3:36). — Until you take refuge in Christ, God’s wrath is upon you!


For Christ’s Sake

God loves us for Christ’s sake. We are accepted in the beloved.” God accepts our faith, our worship, our works, and our persons only because of Christ, because we are in Christ, and because of what Christ has done for us.


Same Reason

And God the Father loves us for the same reason that he loves his Son as our Mediator. — Be sure you get this. It will help you. — God the Father does not love us for the same reason that he loves his Son as his Son. He loves his Son as his Son necessarily because his Son is one with him in perfection and praise. He cannot but love Christ as God. Else he would cease to love himself. But God’s love for Christ as our Mediator is based upon his perfect obedience unto God as our Mediator (John 10:14-17). It is a love he has won, earned, and merited by his obedience unto death as our Substitute.


Free and Deserved

Do you understand what our Lord is teaching us here? God’s love for us is free and, at the same time fully deserved! He said, “I will love them freely” (Hosea 14:4). Yet, his love, mercy, grace, and salvation flow to us upon the grounds of Christ’s obedience as our Substitute. He is merciful and gracious to us, forgiving us of all sin, and loves us “for Christ’s sake” (Ephesians 4:32-5:2). God the Father looked upon his Son from eternity as our perfect, obedient Mediator, and for the sake of his Son loved us with an everlasting love.


Same Way

That little word “as” also suggests a similarity of love. The Lord God loves his people in the same way as he loves his Son. God the Father loved Christ the God-man as “the express image of his person” (Hebrews 1:3). So he loves his people who in Christ have been (and those who yet must be) renewed “after the image of him” (Colossians 3:10; 2 Peter 1:4). He loves Christ as his only begotten Son; and he loves us in Christ as his adopted sons (1 John 3:1).




Don Fortner








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