“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
1 John 4:10 (NIVUK)
Does God begin to love us because we seek him out and worship him?
The apostle John addresses this question in various ways in his first epistle. The answer is no, that is not when God’s love begins. In fact he loved us from before the beginning of time. God initiates the love and ours is a responsive love. So great is God’s love for us that he planned to send his son to become one of us in order that he could sacrifice himself for all of humanity.
The incarnation is the fleshing out of God’s love for us. It is the starting point of how we express our response of love not only towards God, but also towards others. John continues, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (v.11). In other words, it’s not that others love us, but that we love others and are willing to sacrifice ourselves for them. Knowing that God loved us first, so we love others first. Our love to others is to be an initiating love, just as God’s love is towards us.
If the incarnation means anything to the believer, surely it’s all about initiating love, compassion and caring wherever we go.
Jesus was born so that through him, in our responsive love to God, we could begin to truly love others.
Love others: that’s what the incarnation is all about.
Father, thank you that you love us eternally, and that you loved us before we were born. Thank you for sending your Son so that in him and through him we may love others with your initiating love. In His name.
Study by James Henderson
About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.