"In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:9-10)
God loves us. He loves us so dearly, that even while we were so tarnished by sin, He sent His only Son to redeem us. Jesus humbled Himself and took on the form of servant, so that by His sacrificial work we may be renewed to righteousness.
It's all too common for us to get caught up in the aspect of works. We often believe that we're not good enough to be loved by a perfect God. This makes me wonder if we have forgotten the monumental promises of God. Have we lost sight of the reality that God IS Love?
"And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him." (1 John 4:16)
At times we may be tempted to hang our heads, gape at the sad condition of our brokenness, and ask, "How could God love this mess? Does God really still love me? Even though I've fallen this far, again?"
I'm reminded of Romans 5:8 which reads, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
This verse got me to thinking deeper about what this word "sinners" means. What I discovered was that this word is the Greek word ἁμαρτωλός (hamartōlos). This word depicts a devout sinner or an earnest dedication to sin. It's also used to describe one who conspicuously sins and prevalently commits evil deeds.
Now think about that for just a moment. God loved us while we were still preeminent sinners stained with atrocities. Not a bone in our bodies was righteous. We deserved none of what He did for us. And, really, do we ever deserve His grace?
"I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew 9:13)
The word "sinners" here in Matthew is also ἁμαρτωλός. Jesus is telling us that He came to ransom those who were habitually living in abominable sinfulness. He came to redeem those who held infamous statuses, and give them new names.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Out of the treasury of God's heart flows His magnificent love. It cascades down from heaven as a mighty rushing river of grace that drenches our dried and cracked souls. Formerly thirsty and parched, we're now refreshed and reinvigorated.
This is Love. This is the Love that transforms cold and bitter hearts, gives new life and new purpose, and washes away the rubbish of the past with pure and holy righteousness.
"I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them." (Hosea 14:4)
Oh what a beautiful truth this is! We need not fear that God will ever remove His love from us. God IS Love. He sent Jesus to heal our rebelliousness and bring us back to Him and His love. Now God's love is a barrelling waterfall that drowns away our sorrows and fills us to overflowing with favour, grace, and mercies anew each morning.
Proclaim His great love, and receive it with a thankful heart today. There is nothing that can displace you from His grace and love. He delights over us! When He looks at us, He sees us covered in Jesus Christ's sacrifice. Our atonement in the Messiah is a robe of redemption. Be freed by the truth and certainty of His unfailing love today and every day.
-The Introverted Evangelist