Is your heart affected by God’s love? 1 John 4:10 says, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
In this great gift is the highest possible expression of love. It is a love that is unmatched. We were not in any state that the Savior should have come and sacrificed Himself for us. It was quite the opposite, in fact. If we had loved Him, if we had obeyed Him, we might be able to assume that He would reciprocate such a love to us. But the truth is that we were completely alienated from Him. We were His enemies. It was in that state that God showed His love by sending His only Son to save His enemies. Romans 5:6-8 say, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
1 John 4:10 continues to say “that He loved us“. This doesn’t mean that He approved of our character, but rather the He cared for our eternal welfare. His love is not complacent; it is benevolent. So benevolent that He “sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Romans 3:25 says, “God put forward [Jesus] as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.” 1 John 2:2 says, “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”
In order for sinful men to enjoy eternal life and happiness, they need to have their sins atoned for. This is the concept of propitiation. The perfect justice of God was satisfied in Jesus Christ. God’s righteous wrath was poured out on the sinless Savior. And it’s not as if God’s love was purchased by Jesus Christ, but rather it was displayed through Him.
It was not our love that caused God to love. In fact, it’s the opposite. 1 John 4:19 tells us, “We love because he first loved us.”
Is your heart and your life affected by this love, Christian? Is everything you say and do driven by this love? If your heart has grown cold–or even if it hasn’t–remind yourself constantly of the gospel by which you have been saved. Know this love inside and out. And then, in light of it, show love to God, to your brothers and sisters, and to the world.
Today’s reading: 1 John 4-5