“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (Jn. 3:16)
No line in scripture is so well known or so often recited. Because we’re so used to these words, I sometimes think we don’t fully realize just how incredible they are. They come so quickly out of our mouths that I wonder if we fully appreciate their importance.
How can God, given who and what God is, love us, given who and what we are? How can the perfect, holy, and awesome God love imperfect, unholy, petty, ungrateful, and disobedient us? That’s a love we can’t really fathom or fully describe.
We need to be clear that God doesn’t love us because we’re loveable. God loves us because God is God. If God’s love were contingent upon what we do or how we live, none of us would be loved.
Love for God isn’t a feeling. Love is God’s nature. If God didn’t love, God would no longer be God. If God stopped loving, all life would vanish, and the sun, the planets, and the whole universe would cease to exist. God’s love is unconditional, limitless, and forever.
Love is always costly. Nothing gives such meaning and joy to our lives as love, and nothing costs like love.
Love not only costs us, but love also costs God. Giving His Son cost God’s heart. Giving his Son cost God his Son’s life. How can the cost of such love not melt our resistance and break our pride? How can such love not bring us to our knees in gratitude and awe?
Today I encourage us to trust that God wants only one thing from us. God wants us to believe in Jesus, who came to share God’s love with us. God gave his Son to live with us and to die for us so that we would see and trust how much we are loved. God raised His Son from death so that the Son, with the Father and the Spirit, would someday raise us, sharing love forever. Sharing love forever with God is what we call eternal life.
- What does today’s scripture mean to you?
- Do you really trust that God loves you totally, completely, unconditionally, and eternally? Or, do you feel like you need to earn and merit and deserve it?
- As you think, consider, and pray about what loving us cost God and cost Jesus, how do you respond?