The Daily Devotion is taking from the updated edition of Morning by Morning.

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October 22

I will . . . love them freely.
Hosea 14:4

By the pen of Charles Spurgeon:

This verse is the complete doctrine of God in miniature. Whoever understands its meaning is a true theologian, and he who can fully plumb its depths is a true master of Israel. The verse is a summary of the glorious message of salvation that was delivered to us through Christ Jesus our Redeemer, but its meaning hinges on the word freely.

Freely is the glorious, fitting, and divine way by which God’s love flows from heaven to earth. It is a spontaneous love freely flowing to those who neither deserve it, purchase it, nor seek after it. Indeed, this is the only way in which God can love people such as we are. Today’s verse — “I will . . . love them freely” — is a deathblow to any sense of His love being deserved by us, for if there were any deservedness in us, His love would not be “freely” given. Any merit whatsoever would be, at the very least, a dilution and a drawback to the freeness of it. Thus, the verse will stand: “I will . . . love them freely.”

We complain, “Lord, my heart is so hard.” He answers, “I will . . . love [you] freely.” We continue, “But I don’t even feel my need for Christ as much as I should.” He responds, “I don’t love you because you feel a need for Me. ‘I will . . . love [you] freely.’ ” We argue, “I don’t even feel a softening of my spirit that I should desire.” Remember, a softening of your spirit is not a condition to your experiencing God’s covenant of grace, for He has attached no conditions whatsoever. Thus, without any merit or conditions, we may trust this promise from God given to us through Christ
Jesus: “Whoever believes in him is not condemned” (John 3:18).

What a blessing to know the grace of God is always free to us — without preparation or merit on our part and totally without a price for us to pay! “I will . . . love them freely.” These words are an invitation for backsliders to return. In fact, the first phrase of Hosea 14:4 reads: “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely.”

Dear backslider! Surely the gracious generosity of this promise will break your heart, yet at the same time cause you to return, and as you do, to seek your dishonored Father’s face.

By the pen of Jim Reimann:

God’s love is indeed free to us and He loves us freely. Yet this does not mean He extends His love without cost, for it cost God His Son. Redemption is defined as: freedom obtained through a price paid. And God’s Word tells us the Lord determined before creation He would send His Son to die to pay the price for our freedom. Here is how Peter stated it:

You know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

1 Peter 1:18 – 20

Thus, because of God’s great love for us, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Rev. 22:17).

Morning by Morning: The Devotions of Charles Spurgeon
Copyright © by James G. Reimann

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