Malcolm Smith on the Love of God

Prodigal_sonHave you ever wondered what Acts 10:44 means when it says, “the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word”? The Greek word, which is here translated, fell on, means to embrace fervently. To say the Holy Spirit fell on those who heard, is to say that He passionately embraced them. Do you know what it’s like to be hugged by God?

If that’s hard to imagine, think of how the father greeted the prodigal son. Luke uses the same word in Acts 10 as he does when telling the story of the prodigal’s return:

“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” (Lk 15:20)

The father in the story fell on the prodigal in the same way that the Holy Spirit fell on those who heard – in a passionate embrace. Jesus told us the story of the prodigal to give us a vivid insight into how God the Father relates to us. His love is not cold and distant, but passionate and close. In his excellent book The Lost Secret of the New Covenant, Malcolm Smith describes it in terms of a bear hug:

“When we say that God loves us, we must never think of that in terms of a cold statement of doctrine; we must understand that the Holy Spirit is God in the act of loving us, embracing and enfolding His arms about us. The Holy Spirit is God running to us, flinging His arms around us, and passionately loving us.” (p.195)

The most important thing you need to know about God, is that He is love (1 Jn 4:16). Love is not just an emotion that He experiences from time; He is love and His love is not like ours. The normal human expression of love, eros, is a reaction to loveliness. It is love inspired by the beauty of another. But this type of love is found nowhere in the New Testament and it is not how God loves. He loves with spontaneous agape love. This love originates within God’s heart and no one can know it without knowing Him (1 Jn 4:19).

It is entirely consistent with God’s loving nature to give bear hugs to unlovely, unworthy people! It is essential that you grasp this. If you cannot conceive of God wrapping you up in His mighty arms of love, then you will never be able to grasp His goodness, His grace, and His lovingkindness toward you.

In The Lost Secret of the New Covenant, Malcolm Smith says some wonderful things about the love of God. Here are 15 of my favorite love quotes from that book:

Top Malcolm Smith quotes on the love of God

1.    “He set His love upon us before we were born, and therefore with no reference to our behavior or works whether they were good or evil.” (p.62)

2.    “Agape is not wakened or created by the beauty of its object, but arises spontaneously from the heart of God. It is therefore a love that cannot be earned or deserved… His love for us originates in who He is, not in our being loveable.” (p.59)

3.    “‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’ (Jer 31:3)… An everlasting love is an unconditional love.” (p.62)

4.    “The declarations and promises of God’s forgiveness in the Old Testament sprang from the heart of the God who is everlasting, unconditional love. He did not begin to be a loving and forgiving God after Jesus died.” (p.183)

5.    “His covenant love is greater than the covenant. It explains when the human breaks covenant that His heart of lovingkindness still reaches after them and will not let them go.” (p.45)

6.    “You were conceived into the love of God in the womb. You were birthed into the arms of His love. You are the object of His love here and now, simply because you exist.” (p.64)

7.    “He loves you not only because you are here, but also you are here because He loved you into existence.” (p.24)

8.    “The decision to create us in the light of what we would do is God’s telling us that He would rather die than live without us.” (p.184)

9.    “Preaching the Gospel, we are announcing the news of the revelation of who God is and how He feels about us. We stand on the street corners of the world shouting the news that God is not the way we thought He was – He loves us!… This is the greatest news in the world.” (p.57)

10.    “The Gospel declares the incredible news that our relationship to God is not based on ‘if’ and ‘then’ but rather on ‘because’ and ‘therefore’.” (p.60)

11.    “He makes covenant not to create lovingkindness, but in order that we might see that His heart is lovingkindness from eternity.” (p.43)

12.    “All of our whining that He could not love us does not stop Him from loving us!” (p.72)

13.    “It is a shock to many who would settle for a life of serving God that, above all else, He fervently desires our friendship. He desires us infinitely more than we desire Him.” (p.279)

14.    “The love of God… is the magnetic north of truth by which we fix our position as we stumble lost in the wilderness of the world… To know that His love for us depends on Him and not on us is the beginning of the way out of our futile, meaningless lives and religious despair.” (p.62)

15.    “While we are in a frenzy of doing for Him, we are in grave danger of missing the whole point of the Gospel – which is being with Him… He has many servants but few friends!” (p.284)

11 Comments on Malcolm Smith on the Love of God

  1. I love that – the Holy Spirit embraced us fervently when he fell on us – and has not changed, either! Yes, I’ve felt that, and continue to, and will till He comes. Maranatha!

  2. When I think of the love of god, I think of the scripture that tells us the love of God is to keep his commandments and they are not grievous. If we are to keep ourselves in the love of God, we must keep his commandments.

  3. Wow. Thanks for sharing this Paul (I have just purchased his book). “While we are in a frenzy of doing for Him, we are in grave danger of missing the whole point of the Gospel – which is being with Him… He has many servants but few friends!” – I wonder what would happen if there was a revolution in the body of christ about being rather then doing…oh there already is a revolution!

  4. Hi Paul, enjoyed this older post. I have a large collection of Malcolm Smith teaching tapes from years ago. He has such a revelation of the covenant love of God and the New Birth. Loved this book too. So happy to find someone else who appreciates his teachings!

  5. Tom NeSmith // April 14, 2011 at 4:56 pm // Reply

    Warning!!! Look out for the Holy Spirit! Just spending time with Him feels so absolutely great. Spending a lot of time with Him feels even better. Staying with Him? Oh the feeling His love gives you it just feels so good… and you just want to spend your whole life in his love. Yes, feels so good. Ahh… so good. Then, “What’s this?” (you get a sense of shock). You realize that what you’ve felt up to now was a trickle. The earth has shaken and you see a flood, no, a monster tsunami of His Spirit coming at you. Then it hits you! You didn’t read the fine print and now it’s too late! It’s not “love” anymore. It’s His awesome power invading your private spaces and you realize the “you” you have known is gone and you are a totally different you but you aren’t familiar with your new you. His power overwhelms you. If you don’t dissipate it somehow, you feel like you’ll explode. So you act, not to please God, but to dissipate that power because it feels uncomfortable if you don’t. And you scream “I didn’t sign up for this!” (It’s the last vestige of your old you in his death throws!) Good works??? LOL! Hardly! You’re frantically looking for a way to dissipate His awesome power in you! It’s not about pleasing God. It’s about finding a quiet place to rest… and the only way to find that quiet place now is to do something to dissipate the power of the Holy Spirit in you! God’s love? No. I AM WHO I AM being WHO HE IS… in you!

    • Wish I could feel that awesome joy of the Holy Spirit. I’ve bern saved for many years but only rarely feel that Presence though I pray for it all the time! I envy you! Don’t know what’s wrong but I so long for that experience you described. Bless you, brother.

  6. I hadn’t seen this post, Paul. It’s great! And I love your comment, Tom! Too many in the grace camp have decided that when we have the Holy Spirit, we have all of it and there is no more. Some don’t even believe the baptism is for today. Or if they do, they don’t believe we should ask for more or that the unusual manifestations are not from God. All I know is that we can’t contain it all, and sometimes we have to cry, “Have mercy, Lord!” from the weight of it. And then we indeed need to spill it out onto others! 😀

    • I found the “Joy of the Lord”… and decided to make it a habit to stay in that place (recognizing my utter inability to please God and finding He was crazy about me anyway)! It was a very comfortable place to be… and then… the “uh-oh” moment. And then… this isn’t “Friede, Freude, Eierkuchen” (German…literally “Peace, Joy and Pancakes”). It’s serious business. God in us isn’t about us, it’s about God… and we have to learn to let Him be who He is… in us. I know it’s in the Bible, but it never jumped off the pages. Well, He’s leaped out of the pages and has wrestled me to the ground! It’s supposed to be something you read and contemplate… right?
      The Joy of the Lord is strength. Nice. They forgot to mention the part where the Joy becomes Power. Where are the instructions about how to get out of His way?
      Philippians 3:12-14

    • Tom NeSmith // April 16, 2011 at 4:19 am // Reply

      To be honest, I don’t think it’s so much a matter of whether one believes in this or that. It’s more a matter of developing a gut understanding of one’s inability to please God combined with giving up on the matter… and simply accepting God’s unlimited unmerited favor. The gut understanding comes from the Mosaic Law. Break one law and you’ve broken ALL the Law and you are guilty, guilty, guilty ad infinitum! Giving up is accepting Jesus’ death on the cross as absolute nullification of the effect of Law on oneself. The first time, it’s being reborn as a child of God. The problem is… we naturally want to “seal the deal” by works… and don’t understand that this puts us under the power of the Law (even if it doesn’t put us under the judgment of the Law). The biggest problem is that this is Sin with a big “S”, because it blocks the power of the Holy Spirit to change us. This is the power of the flesh! Romans 8:1-7.

      “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. In other words… there is therefore now no correlation between the Law’s abilty to condemn and the Laws authority to judge (condemn). The Law has lost it’s authority, because Jesus has fulfilled the Law. The secret to removing the Law’s abilty to condemn is to understand one’s total inability to “fulfill” the Law (in other words, please God) combined with fully accepting the fact that Jesus has fulfilled it and just plain give up and receive His Amazing Grace! Now, the door has been opened for the Holy Spirit to indwell. “Indwell”… that the fine print… basically means to take over. Look out!


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