By: Brian Chilton | February 14, 2017
Not much is known about the mysterious saint known as Saint Valentine of Rome. According to the best sources available, Valentine proclaimed his Christian faith to those in and around Rome. The governor placed Valentine on trial. Valentine pleaded the case for Christianity (using apologetics). Judge Asterius put Valentine’s Christian faith to the ultimate test. He had a blind daughter. If Valentine could heal his daughter, he would release him. Valentine prayed over the girl in Jesus’ name. The girl’s sight was restored. Valentine was released. In addition, Judge Asterius became a Christian.
While it is believed that Valentine had a good working relationship with Emperor Claudius II, Valentine had officiated many Christian weddings which was against the law of Rome. Valentine had also helped many Christians who had been persecuted by the king. Claudius called Valentine into his throne room at which point Valentine tried to convince the king to become a Christian. Claudius was so enraged that he sentenced Valentine to be beaten with clubs and to be beheaded unless Valentine was willing to renounce his faith in Christ. Valentine refused to recant. Thus, Valentine was executed on February 14, 269. According to some sources, Valentine left a letter to a young girl with the words “Your Valentine.”
Valentine’s Day commemorates the love that Valentine had for God. While we often think about the love we have for one another—and we should—we should also think about the love that God has for us. What do we know about God’s love?
- God is love.
The apostle John notes that “The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8). Love only exists because God exists. Love is not God, but God is love. Love is an attribute of God’s nature. Because God is love, love can be experienced by God’s people. Different forms of love exist. There is the love that exists between couples. Parental love exists between parents and their children. Romantic love is experienced with couples. However, all forms of love pale in comparison to the level of love that God has for us.
- God loves us before we are “good” people.
Paul notes that “God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Christ did not die for us while we were lovable and good. He died for us while we were steeped in sin. Many times we are inclined to only love those who are good and moral. However, God’s love reaches past our sins, to the point of our very need.
- God’s love is sacrificial.
Jesus told his disciples, “No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Often, modern lovers are only seeking what can be given back to them. They ask, “What can my beloved do for me today?” “What am I getting out of this relationship?” “If I’m not getting anything, I should just leave.” Yet, God’s love is completely different. There is nothing that we can offer God that he does not already possess. God is self-sufficient, self-sustaining, and exists in an eternal relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Yet, despite this, God chose to love us knowing that we could offer nothing in return. If anything, we are liabilities to God and not assets. We goof things up consistently. Yet despite that, God still loves us. Now that, my friend, is ultimate love.
- God’s love will never fail.
Paul eloquently states, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39). Jesus reminded the disciples, as he does all of us, that “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Nearly all of us experience rejection from time to time. Some who claim to love us will cease loving. Marriages fail. Families fall apart. Despite our moral and loving failures, God’s love never ceases. Let the losses of love in your life remind you of the steadfastness and eternal love that God holds for you.
Many reading this article may not have a partner with whom they can share their life. Perhaps death has taken their loved one away. For such individuals, Valentine’s Day is a reminder of their loneliness. Yet for the believer, Valentine’s Day should be a reminder of the great love that God has for us. May we be reminded of the amazing love of God demonstrated through Jesus Christ and applied by the Holy Spirit.
Brian Chilton is the founder of BellatorChristi.com and is the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University, his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University, received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University, and hopes to work on doctorate studies soon. Brian is the pastor of Huntsville Baptist Church in Yadkinville, North Carolina.
 Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture comes from the Christian Standard Bible (Nashville: Holman, 2017).
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