“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
I John 4:10
We will never fully comprehend God and all of His attributes, but we benefit from meditating on various aspects of His character, including His love. In understanding and appreciating the love of God, we begin to relate to many of His other qualities. His condescension, mercy, longsuffering, compassion, etc., are all various expressions of His love. John put it so simply, and yet powerfully, when he said, “God is love” (I John 4:8). Many have no concept of the great love that God has for each of us. He does not love us because we have earned it or deserve it. Instead, He loved us while we were still in our sin.
The most vivid expression of God’s love is the offering of His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (I John 3:16). When we look at the cross, we see the love of God for mankind. He loves us so much that He gave His Son to die for our sins.
There are many reasons why it is imperative that we begin to lay hold of this great love God has for us. If we do not begin to grasp His love for us, we will not develop the love that we should have for God. “We love him, because he first loved us” (I John 4:19). The more we experience and appreciate God’s great love for us, the more our love for God will grow. We are commanded to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The more real His love for us becomes, the more we will naturally respond by loving Him.
The more we love Him, the more we will obey Him. Obedience to Christ is a response to His love. “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). His love for us is a pattern for the way we are to love others. We love others because He loves us, and in the way He loves us. We love others in spite of the way they treat us because He loved us when we were still in our sin. Jesus charged us in this way, “…as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34). His love for us was and is undeserved, and we are challenged to love others in the same way.
God’s love for us meets our greatest need. All of us long to be loved. Nothing provides security like knowing that we are sincerely loved, and we find that comfort and confidence in His love.