God Demonstrates His Love
In my prior post I addressed the question concerning the way in which God loves. I had said that without some clarification as to what God’s love is really all about, we are pretty much left in the dark. I also contended that the message of God’s love and peace apart from God’s own definition of His love is an empty promise. We must understand the truth concerning God’s love and how it is that we know he loves us. God’s love is more than just a sentimental notion. It is clearly defined in Scripture.
Before giving further supporting passages from the New Testament, I would like to remind you of some of the verses that I quoted in the former post. These verses are vital to our understanding of God’s great love.
“’God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Romans 5:8). Did you see that? ‘God shows his love,’ how? Christ died for us while we were ‘still sinners.’” God demonstrated his love through the cross of Jesus Christ.
John’s Gospel 3:16 says: “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (HCSB). We see in this passage the way in which God loves us.
Jesus declares that He is “the good shepherd” and “the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Then Jesus says “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Toward the end of the first century when John the apostle was aged he wrote a letter to a church in which he places great emphasis on God’s love. He is crystal clear as to how God demonstrated His great love toward us. In chapter three of this letter he says “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us.” The wording he uses is striking, “By this we know love.” How? “He laid down his life for us.” Once again we are confronted with the love of God as demonstrated in the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross must be central to our understanding of God’s love. God has chosen to reveal His heart of love to the world in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In the next chapter John again exhorts believers to love one another in their communities of worship. He does this by expounding on God’s love. He says “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 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” (Emphasis mine).
Let’s tell people everywhere “God loves you,” but then tell them how He loves. God’s love is vast. His love and grace are infinite. But we must remember that His justice and holiness are also vast and infinite. That is why the cross of Jesus Christ is so vital to our message of God’s love. We all have “sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Paul the apostle says that all mankind is “dead in trespasses and sin” (Ephesians 2:1). We were not just “sick,” we were “dead.”
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – everyone – to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:4 – 6).
We desperately need the One who said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25 – 26).
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Romans 10:9 – 13).