God Loved Us First and Most
Sunday, February 13, 2011
In this the love of God was made manifest (displayed) where we are concerned: in that God sent His Son, the only begotten or unique [Son], into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10 AMP
In giving up His only begotten Son, God proved the infinite love He has for us and that His mercy is available to ALL. God did not send Jesus to die because we loved Him – He sent Him because He loved us! He was not motivated to sacrifice Jesus because of our merits – because we had no redeeming qualities to deserve such love – but He did it because of His own goodness and graciousness. In this is love: not that we loved God first, but that HE loved US first! And He wants to make it abundantly clear – we did not seek Him out – He sought us first – we are simply responding to the love He has shown to us.
Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die. 8 But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us. Romans 5:7-8 AMP
God clearly proved His love for us by sending Jesus to die on that cross for us while we were yet sinners. Never, in the history of the world, has there been such an unselfish sacrifice as this. People might be willing to give their lives for those who love them, but only God’s love gives His life for those who do not yet love Him. Love took a huge risk – love gave it all, holding nothing back – with the confident expectation that men could not resist such a great love, and indeed they could not! Thank God that we can find mercy and forgiveness, wholeness and restoration through His love!
See what [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! 1 John 3:1a AMP
The Wuest translation says: “Behold what exotic [foreign to the human heart] love the Father has permanently bestowed upon us.” This is a love beyond human experience or comprehension. A great love; a marvelous love; an incredible quality of love! Through Jesus, God introduced us to a new kind of love – His agape love. He sees us valuable and precious. We are His precious treasure. His love gives us our value.
Human love is limited, flawed and often selfish. Because of manipulation and control and a lack of demonstrated love in their formative years, many people have grown up to be emotionally unhealthy. They have a negative self-worth. This results in negative and destructive patterns of behavior, which in turn cause more heartache and pain for all concerned. However, as they grow in their knowledge of the Father and the love He has for them, they begin to be restored and made whole. As Christians, our sense of self-worth comes from knowing how much God loves us. He is not just our God – He is our Father, Abba, Daddy – and He calls us his children! The Father loves each and every one of us with the exact same infinite love, but the depth (or shallowness) of our understanding of His love determines the level of our confidence in His love and our responses to Him.
Your concept of yourself affects ALL your relationships. As you grow in your knowledge and understanding of how much the Father loves and accepts you, you will also begin to act and respond in a healthier, more constructive way in your interactions with others, which will have a positive effect on their lives as well. We must have a revelation of the Father’s nature and character. He does not merely show love – He IS love! We must realize and understand how much He loves us. We must learn to see ourselves through His eyes – as valuable and precious. We must learn to love, accept and forgive ourselves. Then we will be able to see others as He sees them and we will be able to love them as He does.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:4-10 NKJV
God is SO rich in mercy, and because of His great love, He reached out to us to bring us from our fallen, sinful, alienated state into His Kingdom and into His family. Not only are we adopted as sons and daughters, but we are also given an inheritance together with Jesus. We are seated in heavenly places with Jesus, at the Father’s right hand! None of it is because of our merits, but purely because of the greatness of His love, grace and kindness! We are created by Him and prepared to live and walk in His ways. By accepting His love, through Jesus, we step into this wonderful inheritance that He has prepared for us! How boundless, endless, fathomless, exhaustless and measureless is His love for us and how rich is His mercy!