1 John 4:9-10
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Verse 9 in this passage of Scripture has similarities to John 3:16. After looking back, I could have used this passage of Scripture to make my point in Part 2 of this series, but it was great to see the beauty of a familiar passage of Scripture like John 3:16. In this part, however, we will focus on verse 10 from this passage of Scripture which is, "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." This verse dives into the heart of the Gospel. The love of God is wrapped up so delicately in this verse that it seems like God is whispering a special secret to us-- a secret that is found in the depth of God's magnificent love. Let's dive into this passage.
The first piece of this verse is telling us, "In this is love." This statement is primarily asking a question. What is love? What is the depth of God's love? Love is what. With the verse 1 John 4:10 being a compound sentence, the depth of God's love is easily found in two places. What is love? John directs us to the first answer by showing us that God loved us first rather than us loving Him. The other answer to this simple, but profound question is displayed in the the Father's offering up of His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. This is where the majestic depth of God's love is found.
Theme: This is love
1) God loved us first.
2) He sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
So, the love factors, in 1 John 4:10, are that God loved us first and that amazing reality of the Father's provision of sending His Son to step foot on this planet to satisfy God's terrible wrath through the propitiation of His blood. These two answers to the question, what is love, provides us with the basis of the dynamics of the depth of God's redeeming love.
The first answer, "not that we have loved God but that He loved us", teaches us that the ultimate source of our salvation is based on God loving us first, not us loving God first. Think about it. If God did not love us first, Jesus would not have even stepped on this earth to die a brutal death to save us from our sins. God would have justly punished all of mankind, in this case, based on their sins and sent every single person to hell. He would have been just in doing so. We could try to love Him all we want to, but our attempts would be futile. Why? Because He is God. He is the one who created us. He has every right to punish us because we have sinned against Him, but His loving (agape) us first is what separates His terrorizing justice from destroying us in a heartbeat. This incomprehensible, redeeming love for mankind is so astounding that a question is posed in relation to this verse based on this amazing love and terrifying justice. How could God love (agape) us first and still remain just?
The answer is found in the most beautiful word relating to the atonement. Propitiation.
We will finish the depth of God's love in my next post.
Sola Deo Gloria!!!!