The Love of God to Us
By "Us" We Mean His People. Although we read of the love "which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:39), Holy Writ knows nothing of a love of God outside of Christ. "The LORD is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all his works" (Ps. 145:9), so that He provides the ravens with food. "He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil" (Luke 6:35), and His providence ministers unto the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). But His love is reserved for His elect. That is unequivocally established by its characteristics, for the attributes of His love are identical with Himself. Necessarily so, for "God is love." In making that postulate it is but another way to say God’s love is like Himself, from everlasting to everlasting, immutable. Nothing is more absurd than to imagine that anyone beloved of God can eternally perish or shall ever experience His everlasting vengeance. Since the love of God is "in Christ Jesus," it was attracted by nothing in its objects, nor can it be repelled by anything in, of, or by them. "Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end" (John 13:1). The "world" in John 3:16 is a general term used in contrast with the Jews, and the verse must be interpreted so as not to contradict Psalm 5:5; 6:7; John 3:36; Romans 9:13.
The chief design of God is to commend the love of God in Christ, for He is the sole channel through which it flows. The Son has not induced the Father to love His people, but rather was it His love for them which moved Him to give His Son for them. Ralph Erskine said:
God hath taken a marvelous way to manifest His love. When He would show His power, He makes a world. When He would display His wisdom, He puts it in a frame and form that discovers its vastness. When He would manifest the grandeur and glory of His name, He makes a heaven, and puts angels and archangels, principalities and powers therein. And when He would manifest His love, what will He not do? God hath taken a great and marvelous way of manifesting it in Christ: His person, His blood, His death, His righteousness.