We come now to the virtue of love as it fits into God’s blueprints for the city of God. Of course we could say much on this virtue, but we’ll limit ourselves to the vision of the city of God as being the family of God, bound together by the self-giving, sacrificial love of the Trinity.
Better Than a House
David desires to build a house for God, but God responds by saying: Sure, your son can build one (2 Sam. 7:13). But what God really wants to do is build David an even better sort of house, a kingdom and dynasty that will never end (2 Sam. 7:11-13, 16). God will do this by adopting David’s son as His own, disciplining him such that His mercies never leave him (2 Sam. 7:14-15). God will exalt David’s name just as He had promised Abraham: “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great and you shall be a blessing” (Gen. 12:2). Whereas the builders of Babel sought to make their own name great (Gen. 11:4), God promises to make Abram’s name great and make his family into a great nation, a city with permanent foundations. God is fulfilling that promise in David’s family.
A Love that Cannot be Stopped
Solomon’s glory fades and the Kingdom of Israel ultimately crumbles under the weight of idolatry and selfishness and greed. But the New Testament opens with a volley of names, normal human people with broken lives and sin and failures, but the generations echo like drum beats, insisting that the promises of God cannot be stopped (Mt. 1:1-17). God’s love cannot be stopped. God took a nobody Chaldean and sent him homeless and friendless on a lifelong camping trip in Canaan so that as God blessed him and raised him up (inexplicably), He might display His love to the world. And the 84 generations from Abraham to Jesus are the vast, multi-volume set of God’s covenant love for His people.
Faith, Hope, Joy, and Love
Faith is looking for the city of God in the future and obeying in the present. Hope leans into the promises of God, thirsting for the word of God, looking for the signs of the Kingdom emerging. Joy is the necessary response to the announcement that the city is coming. We are the watchmen who have heard and seen God’s own self-announcement in His Son: Your God reigns! The city is coming down like a bride adorned for her husband, the city is coming like a wedding, and we rejoice and call the world and one another to prepare for the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. Love is the sum of all these virtues and more. Love is full of faith, hope, and joy, and yet it is a fierce, unbroken, undaunted, unshaken clinging to the One we trust, the One we hope in, the One we rejoice in. But this love flows not out of some personal reserve, out of some personality trait. This love is not a special gift like being good at math or basketball or public speaking. This love is the necessary response to seeing and understanding the love of God for us and this world.
God’s Unshakeable Love
David looked at his family at the end of his life just as Abraham looked at his son with a raised knife and the widow looked at her two mites and Paul looked at his chains and the Philippian church, like the watchmen in the city ruins, and he said: you can’t stop His love (2 Sam. 23:5). You can’t stop His love because He is love. Because that is Who He is. That is What He is. The Trinity is love, and He is love forever, and He is love as fierce as death. You cannot stop His love. God’s love cannot be broken, cannot be hindered, cannot be forced out, cannot be undone, cannot be cancelled, cannot be pushed away. His love cannot and will not fail (Rom. 8:31-39, 1 Cor. 13:13).
Conclusions & Applications
This is the love of God: that when we were enemies of this love and when we raised every excuse imaginable against the love of God, GOD BROKE THROUGH. In the incarnation and finally in the death and resurrection of Jesus, God’s love overcame every obstacle (Jn. 3:16-17). God displayed finally and forever that His love cannot be broken, that it cannot be stopped.
Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness for Israel, so too Jesus was lifted up on the cross to save the world (Jn. 3:14-15). Jesus is the son of David, the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham and to David (Rom. 1:2-3). Jesus is the King who sits on David’s throne forever and who has been given a name that is above every name. And it is in His name and by His name, that God is giving the human race a new name, a family dynasty and Kingdom that will never end (Rom. 1:4-7).
And so the question is: Who are you? There are only two ways, only two answers. You are either a son of God or a son of the Devil, a child of the light or a child of the darkness (Jn. 3:19-21). But the good news for all of us and for the whole world is that you cannot stop the love of God. And when God saves, He not only gives the grace to believe, He not only gives the grace of forgiveness, He also gives the grace “for obedience to the faith among all the nations for His name” (Rom. 1:5). This is the city project that TRC is a part of, and we want to strive more and more to see this city come. We want to work and pray together as a family, trusting God for the grace to see the power of the gospel (God’s love) displayed in Moscow and to the ends of the earth.