Scripture Reading: Daniel 11:2-35 / 1 John 4:7-21 / Psalm 138:1-8
Thousands upon thousands of songs, novels, poems and movies have been written about love. Man desperately searches for love but inevitably it is the thing man most often misunderstands, misconstrues and misuses. The world looks for love in many unusual places but those experiences only leave them empty and wounded. John clearly defines and portrays love in this letter by mentioning “love” 46 times in these 135 verses. John defines love and tells us where it can be found, “God is love.” (1 John 4:16)
John uses the word “agape” to describe love. This love is not a love founded upon family, friendship, romance or physical attractiveness but on “self-sacrifice”. All types of love are important but “agape” love trumps all of them as the deepest, strongest and most committed of all loves.
The love that we display is usually conditional and mostly selfish. We are attracted to things and people that are like us, with the hopes that the relationship will profit us. We don’t stay in relationships or embrace things that cost us something or require sacrifice on our part. This is why relationships are often discarded. Agape love is not selfish but self-sacrificing.
God initiated His love to us, “This is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (vs.10) God loved us before we first loved Him, while we were sinners. Sin is not just a mistake or a failure but an act of rebellion against God. Sin is defying God’s way and will. In His great merciful and gracious love, Christ gave His life while we were rebellious, sinful and enemies.
There was nothing appealing about us yet God desired to reunite with fallen and sinful man. Before this could happen, there was the issue of restitution. Sin so damaged and destroyed our relationship with God that restitution and payment was required. God loved us so much that He paid the penalty for our sin and made it possible for us to fellowship with Him. The loving and atoning sacrifice of Christ’s cross; satisfied the just wrath of a Holy God. Until we see the darkness and destructiveness of our sin, we will not be able to comprehend the depth of God’s love for us.
God is love… that statement doesn’t completely describe God, but God does completely describe love. If we want to know what true love is, we need to look at God because His character defines love as holy, pure, perfect and self-sacrificing.
His love fulfilled the requirement for atonement that we could never pay. Embrace His love…you will discover the wonderful depth of His sacrificial and embracing love!
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!