Jesus told the world the source and blessing of divine love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
The Father initiated love for the world. Jesus said that the “rain falls on the just and the unjust,”(Matthew 5:45). The fact that anyone exists is a testimony to the Father’s love. God chose to extend common grace to mankind even though all deserve death (Genesis 2:16-17). Jesus revealed God’s saving grace which proceeds out of His love. Those who believe in Jesus will not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus focused God’s intense love on those who believe in Jesus. He declared that God doesn’t love everyone the same. Some will perish. But those who believe in Jesus will have eternal life.
One of the most poignant verses of Scripture is Romans 5:8: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” When we hear and read that God is love, may we understand the depth of His love in contrast to the blackness of our hearts. May this understanding be made personal and intimate by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Apostle John called those who have been loved by God in this saving way to respond by being people of love. He called believers to love one another and obey God.
God’s love is truly understood from our personal and intimate relationship with Him in Christ.
Before we are able to love our brothers, we must know God’s love for us in Christ. Those who have been loved by God are continually loved by Him. We know it because God continues to change us from the inside out. Every day He makes His people more and more like Christ. The believers’ position before God and his intimacy with Him is all because of the Father’s initiating love.
Lou Tiscione is pastor of Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA).