Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Gospel Devotion: This Is Love - 1 John 4:10

1 John 4:10    This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

            I like to read what the Apostle John has written about faith. Whether it comes from his Gospel writing, his letters, or even the Book of Revelation, John had the gift of writing something succinctly and directly. He was usually not confrontational like Paul; he just wanted people to receive Christ’s message through the power of love.

            His description of love in today’s verse shows us what God did to prove that He truly loved us: God sacrificed His own Son to atone for our sins. Think about it: the Creator of the Universe gave up what was the most precious thing to Him – His own Son – in order to rescue the vilest sinners in the Universe – human beings. I cannot fully fathom why God would do such an awful thing to save us; it just doesn’t make sense. Instead of sacrificing Jesus, God could have destroyed everything that He made, and then have started again, making sure that sin never came into the equation at all. That would have been the easy way out, but God has never been One for taking things easy.

            The hardest thing that God could do in order to save us and restore creation, was to sacrifice His loving, precious, and dearest Son. Only a God who was loving and just could have done that; a capricious demiurge would have backed away from such a terrible sacrifice. True love is not just about embracing, accepting, and encouraging – true love always includes sacrifice, selflessness, and surrender. For love of us, God surrendered His Son to our demented depravity in order to deliver us from ourselves, our sins, and our deaths. For love of His Father, Jesus gave up His life to ensure our salvation, to overcome evil, and to honor God. It sounds crazy to us, but there is a deeper love involved here than we could ever imagine, know, or experience for ourselves.

            As John wrote long ago: This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

What more could God ever do to show that He loves us completely?

Prayer:                        Lord God, we can never fathom the depths of Your amazing and almighty love. To sacrifice Your sinless Son for despicable sinners like us is incomprehensible for us to fully understand. All that we can simply do is gratefully and humbly accept Your remarkable grace and unequalled love. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to make a comment or ask questions about today’s devotion, please send him an email to traqair@aol.com.

Today’s image is John’s latest drawing called “Surfing Style.” To view a larger version, click on the following link: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3670/14082073517_ceeae46cc7_b.jpg

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