I JOHN 4:10-11: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
OBSERVATION: What is love? This is a good question to ask. The word “love” is thrown around so freely today that it has lost its’ meaning. People cry out – “I love you man!”, but what does that mean? Without any measuring standard it really does not mean a thing. The “love” that the world portrays does not sustain a marriage, does not preserve a family, and does not survive the test of time. There must be a qualifying standard if “love” is to have any real meaning.
This Scripture does give “love” a qualifying standard. This standard is the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. It is not simply that he died for us. Paul says in Romans that a good man may sometimes even die for another man. This standard for “love” is amplified by the term “propitiation”. “Propitiation” means that Jesus not only became our substitute, but He also became our penalty and bore the wrath of God that was directed toward us because of our sin. Jesus established the true standard of “love’ when He willingly died for us – while we were His enemies, while we were under the wrath of God, while we were sentenced to eternal separation from God because of our sin. Jesus bore our sin, sickness, penalty, and punishment on the Cross. This is the true standard of “love” – unselfish, unconditional sacrifice for another.
Paul writes of this “love” in I Corinthians 13 – “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…” (I Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV)
This is the “love” we are called to. It is a love the world does not understand because it only flows from a relationship with Jesus Christ. Only the “born again” heart has the capacity to offer true “sacrificial love”. Although the world does not understand it they are seeking it. All the songs that are written about love, all the books, movies, and poems – are crying for “love”. We hold the answer to the world’s number one quest – God is Love! Jesus Christ is the manifest expression of the Love of God to mankind. Through faith in Christ we can be transformed to enter into His love. This “love” will sustain a marriage, it will preserve a family, it will survive the test of time. This love is eternal! This love never fails! This is the love of God through Christ Jesus available to all who will believe!
Lord, thank You for Your great Love! Thank You for Your Transforming Love! Thank You for Your Eternal Love! Transform me by Your Love and let me invite as many as I can to embrace it through faith in Jesus Christ! In Jesus Name!