“And love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
1 John 4:10
God is love. We are not.
The only reason we love God, is because He loved us first. The soul is dead in sin, before the call of God awakens us and He shows us what His love is like. He showed us true love on the cross at Calvary, when Jesus suffered and died to pay the awful punishment for our despicable sins.
Many think they have no sin, because we all get used to our sins and accept them so readily. We fall into sin and hardly notice and talk about “little white lies” or “mistakes” we have made. In our natural state we have no realisation about the holiness of God, and the purity of His majesty. We think He will ignore our sin and accept us anyway.
God will never accept sin or sinners. It is impossible for us to stand in His presence, even holy people in the Scripture could not stand… Daniel, Ezekiel, John the Apostle.
“When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. He laid his right hand on me, saying, “Don’t be afraid. I am the first and the last, and the Living one. I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. I have the keys of Death and of Hades.”
The Words God speaks show us His majesty and power and why we cannot stand in His presence. Jesus is the risen and glorious Lord, the Living one. He has always been and forever will be. He alone decides who inhabits heaven and hell, since He holds the keys of hell and of death. We don’t revere Him or worship Him, because our view of Him is too low. We are sinful and don’t appreciate His holiness and glory… what are we to do?
“Jesus said, “I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
We are saved from our sin and kept right with God, through the mercy of the Lord. Salvation is of the Lord, for we will never seek Him in our own desire or strength. There is nothing we can do to contribute to our salvation and nothing we can do to endear ourselves to a holy God.
“For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence…”
If God did not chose us, we would never chose Him. This is a very humbling and sober truth. It leaves us no room to manoeuvre or imagine any goodness in us at all. God is the author of our faith and only He can bring us safely to heaven. We are totally dependant on Him and who He is. He is love, and is not willing that anyone should perish, so He has provided a way of escape for us.
As helpless, sinful people, we can do nothing to save ourselves, but God has intervened in time and space, and taken upon Himself a human body, and become a man. The Lord Jesus has become like us to save us. He was born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, expressed the love of God perfectly, and died on a criminals cross to pay the awful price of our sin. He did so willingly, it was His will and the Fathers will that He should do so. This is love. That the holy God should lay down His life for sinful people.
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends..”
The wonder is that the Lord Jesus laid down His life for us, and the amazement that He calls us His friends. Such compassion and love should bring tears to our eyes, but it does not. We take it all for granted and somehow imagine we are worth it!
“Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;”
1 Peter 3:18
The holy God was put to death to save sinners like us. How can this be?
This is the cost of sin. This is how serious it is to do, say, think wrong. We cost Jesus His life, and He gave it willingly, so that we might never have to suffer the punishment of our sin. This is true love.
We accept it and place our trust and hope in what Jesus did on the cross. It is the only way. We can never earn it, because we are sinful. He became the sacrifice because He is perfect. He is acceptable, we are not, but He can make us acceptable, when we believe. What an amazing salvation!
All we do is repent and turn away from our sin, and believe in Jesus – put our whole confidence in the work He did on the cross, and we are saved. Saved from living lives of sin and saved from eternal hell.
This is the love of God made manifest. We see it in the death of our Saviour, Jesus, and we see it in the work of salvation in our lives when we believe. It is a work of God that no one else can do for us.
The holy God was willing to do that for you and I. Why do we not love Him back?
We are so hardened in sin that we will never love or accept Him, until He softens our hearts. Our situation is that bad. We must seek Him until we find Him. We must not be put off or distracted by the things of this mortal life, but earnestly seek eternal life. God will lead us and show us the way. We find it clearly set out for us in the Holy Scripture, the Bible, where the message is most clear. The Holy Spirit will open our inner eyes to see the truth and give us the faith to believe.
When we repent and believe, we receive a new life, spiritual life and find we are loving God and trusting in Him. His love for us is real, and we can really love Him back. What started off as a one way street, is now a double lane. We have the love too and we can love other people as well.
“This commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should also love his brother.”
1 John 4:21
The whole book of 1 John is a good place to start to see the love and provision of the Lord for us and how He can change us and make us righteous people. We must have the desire to be righteous if we are to enter into the kingdom.
God loves you. Do you love Him?
To love Him brings extraordinary privileges and blessings that only the people of God can enjoy.
“And by this we know that we are of the truth, and persuade our hearts before him, because if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our hearts don’t condemn us, we have boldness toward God; and whatever we ask, we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do the things that are pleasing in his sight.”
1 John 3:19-27
We have the truth in our hands and hearts; God does not condemn us; we have confidence to come to God with all things; we can ask Him for what we need and require and He hears us; we have the ability to keep His commands. These are only a few of the blessings we receive at His hand when we come to Jesus Christ in repentance and faith…
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. The one who fears has not been perfected in love. We love because He first loved us.
1 John 4:18
When we trust in Christ He takes away our fear, fear of punishment, hell and death, and gives us a sure and certain hope of heaven. It is a deep spiritual work and not dependant on us or anything in this life. We do not have craven fear of Him either, for now we are dearly beloved children of the living God. He will perfect our love, so that it grows in Him and for Him and therefore other people, as well, especially our sisters and brothers in Christ. We have a new family and a new, fresh start. We find we do now love the Lord and want to please Him and serve Him.
“And this is that testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
1 John 5:11