God Wrote the New Book on Love
Bible Reading: 1 John 3:11-17
We know what real love is because Christ gave up his life for us. And so we also ought to give up our lives for our Christian brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16
IF THE MESSAGE of God’s love is strong in the Old Testament, it’s a bone-crushing bear hug in the New Testament. God’s love is all over the New Testament. You spot it in the Bible’s most famous verse: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). John later said the same thing in slightly different words: “God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him” (1 John 4:9).
Jesus said, ‘The greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends” (John 15:13). The apostle John echoed that thought, pointing out that Jesus himself showed us how: “We know what real love is because Christ gave up his life for us. And so we also ought to give up our lives for our Christian brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16).
Paul was shocked that God would love us while we were still warring with him: “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8). The way God sacrificed his Son to save the sinful human race is the maximum expression of love. No wonder John cheers, “See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children, and we really are!” (1 John 3:1). And Romans 8:35, 38-39 lists all the things that can’t separate you from God’s love.
The love of God reverberates through the New Testament. You see God the Father’s love for his Son (see Matthew 3: 17; Mark 9 :7) and the Son’s love for his Father (see John 14:31). Jesus tells us that his love for us is modeled after the Father’s love for him (see John 15:9). We are commanded to respond to God’s love for us by lovingGod (see Matthew 22:37) and by loving others (see John 13:34-35; Romans 13:8; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 4:7), including our enemies (see Matthew 5:44). And our ability to love comes straight from God and his loving nature: “This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:10).
You can’t read the New Testament and miss God’s message of love unless you’re blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other. God’s love is everywhere.
REFLECT: What do you think of a God who heaps so much love on you?
PRAY: Pray today for your non-Christian friends who need to personally know God and his love.