Herein is Love
At the beginning of this month, a friend asked me to do a graphics design for her FaceBook banner - with love as its theme, of course. One verse immediately came to mind: "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10)
A few years back, I had visited a few blogs where the girls had one phrase in their personal profile: "I love God with all my heart." Every time I read it, I had a little sinking feeling, because I knew that I could not say that. If I loved God with ALL of my heart, then I would never do anything self-centered, stubborn, prideful . . . and the list goes on. My ability to love falls way short of God - Who IS love (1 John 4:8, 16). And then, I found this one beautiful quote: "I can't brag about my love for God because I fail Him daily. But I can brag about God's love for me because it never fails." (author unknown)
1 John 4:10 reminds us that love is not us to God but about God to us. It's not because we loved God that He sent His Son to die for our sins (as Romans 5:8 tells us, "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.") - in fact, 1 John 4:19 says, "We love Him, because He first loved us." (emphasis added) For believers, this is sometimes an easy concept to understand and accept. After all, we have accepted this love for our salvation. But what about now? Now that we have "matured in the faith" it seems as if suddenly, we have to "do something" to stay in favor of God's love. We begin to slip into the mindset that the more we obey God, the more He loves us. And the more we disobey, the more His love for us falters and fails. But what does Romans 8:35-39 say? "(35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. (37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. (38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Okay, so if you're like me, you just skimmed the above passage because it's so familiar. But I challenge you to read it again and test a few things:
1) Does it ever tell us that once saved, we are responsible for staying in God's?
2) Does it ever transfer the basis of God's love from Jesus Christ to "myself"?
You don't have to have a scholastic degree to discover that the answers for both of those questions is "no!" Instead, we see that nothing shall separate us from Christ's love! The love that He had when He came to be the propitiation for our sins is the same love that He has for us now that we are His children. Period.
So this month, as you're thinking about love, I challenge you to find three verses about God's love to you as His child. Read them, meditate upon them, and memorize them. After all, "Herein is love."
"God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures.
It is true whether we believe it or not.
Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our faith create it.
It originates in the very nature of God, who is love,
and it flows to us through our union with His beloved Son." ~ Jerry Bridges