By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this 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 4:9-10
What a powerful and remarkable verse. We are told in scripture that we are to love God and to love others because God showed us love first; but many, including myself, struggle to turn this truth into action. I think that this is the case because we miss one of the most important things that this verse is really talking about…how much God loved His own Son.
How Much God Loves His Son
When reading through scripture, it is helpful to read through it slowly and sometimes even read other translations. In verse 9, there is a word that many Bibles translate as only begotten as a description of Jesus’ relationship with God the Father, but earlier we are told that we are all considered children of God. So how can this be?
A helpful way to understand this would be to go all the way back to Gen. 22. In this passage, God calls for Abraham to sacrifice his only begotten son. Sound familiar? Sound Wrong?? At this point in Abraham’s life he didn’t have only one child but two, but Issac is called by this term because he was his “one of a kind” son, his special and beloved son, by whom the covenant promises would flow. So this particular word in Greek can mean that you only have one child, but it can also mean, as it does in the Abraham story, the special one child.
Why the Love Matters to Us
So why does that matter for us? When we begin to ponder the love that God has for us, scripture says that it was God who loved first and God who loved the most. He sent his special Son, the one and unique one, to take away the sins of humanity. To understand how much God loves mankind, we first have to understand how much He loves his own Son, and He loves His own Son a lot!
So as we consider why we need to obey and follow God’s commands, we are told that we should do so because of an outflow of love for what Christ has done for us; and, in order to really understand how much has been done for us, we really need to understand how intimate, how special, how powerful the love is between the Father and the Son.
That is what makes sin so awful. God not only loved us so much that He would take care of our sin, He loved us so much that He would sacrifice His special Son, knowing that we would still, at times, choose to disobey and not take His sacrifice seriously.
The Call For Obedience
So I would encourage you today to take time to focus on the love that the Father has for the Son, and to consider how much He loves us since He made His Son a sacrifice for our sins. Then, out of the overflow of love and gratitude that you have for what He has done, you should go forth and accomplish His will, and stop sinning.