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. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:10-11)
What is it that makes God’s love for us so amazing? The amazingness of God’s love can only be appreciated when we understand it in light of our depravity and utter sinfulness. So often I hear people say that we may not be perfect, but God looks at the heart. Yes, but Jesus says in Matthew 5 that those who are unjustifiably angry with their neighbor commit murder in their hearts (vv.21-26). Those who lust after another person commit adultery in their hearts (vv.27-30). In other words, our hearts have committed sins our hands have not gotten around to yet. And then we are told that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9 NKJ). The idea that God sees into our hearts is not comforting, but frightening. It’s for this reason that John writes, “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.” Why would God send his son into the world to die on the cross for such wicked sinners as ourselves? It’s a mystery that only God knows. This is what makes God’s love so amazing, that he would love such unlovable creatures. Thus, in light of this we are encouraged that “if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” If God is willing to love us, despite all our sins and flaws, should we not be willing to love each other and be forgiving and patient with one another? Of course we should.
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