- Not that we loved God, but that He Loved us - Love is an Attribute of God. Let’s begin by looking at why the Bible claims that God is love. In essence, God is defining love by His very character. And what is the character of the Lord Jesus Christ? We get a glimpse in 1 Cor 13:4-8. God’s love for His people is a love that is demonstrated by the work and faith of the Lord Jesus. The word “propitiation” means that the required penalty for sin has been fully paid. The individuals who have entered into the Kingdom of God, as God has drawn them to salvation, are the very ones in view in 2 The 2:13.
1 Cor 13:4-8 “Charity [Love] suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8Charity never faileth…”
1 John 4:16 “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
1 Pet 4:8 “…for charity lAgape Love] shall cover the multitude of sins.”
1 John 4:10 “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Rom 5:7-8 “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
2 Cor 5:21 “For he [God the Father] hath made him [God the Son] to be sin for us, who [God the Son] knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him [God the Son].”
2 The 2:13 “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth”
Mat 25:34 “Then shall the King [Jesus Christ] say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”
- Greater Love hath no man than this – Without looking at every other related verse in the Bible one might come to the erroneous conclusion that sacrificing one’s physical life for someone else is the greatest act of love. While this is certainly true on the physical level, it does not take into consideration the spiritual ramifications of this important verse. Jesus is asserting that this power to lay down His life and take it again is a commandment that He has received from God the Father. The reason this statement is so significant is that throughout the Bible God closely associates love with obeying the commandments, as we can see from John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”. There is also another aspect of God’s love as found in Rom 13:10, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law”. In other words, the Lord Jesus has not only forgiven the sins of every child of God by suffering the equivalent of an eternity in Hell on their behalf, but He has also fulfilled the righteousness of the law for them, by perfectly obeying the Bible in thought, word, and deed.
John 15:12-13 “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
John 10:17-18 “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
Rom 13:10 “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Heb 10:8-10 “Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I [Lord Jesus] come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
- Christ Loved the Church, and Gave Himself for It – God likens the salvation of His children to marriage. The word “church” here refers to the eternal body of “born-again” believers, the Bride of Christ. We must remember that Christ loved His people while they were “without strength” (meaning spiritually dead) and were ungodly, sinners, and enemies in total rebellion against Him. God frequently uses “to know” as a synonym for “to love” in the Bible; and it indicates an experiential, intimate knowledge that is typified by the physical intimacy of a man for his wife. This intimacy typifies Christ’s love for His eternal church, the body of true believers which is the Bride of Christ.
Ephesians 5:29-32 “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
Col 1:18-20 “And he [Jesus Christ] is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
Ephesians 5:25-27 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Rev 19:7-8 “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen [robe of Christ'r Righteousness], clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”
Rev 21:9-11 “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. 10And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;”
Rom 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- The Good Shepherd Giveth His Life for the Sheep – God demonstrates the fact that He is “Love” through His Salvation program by becoming the Good Shepherd and the Sacrificial Lamb. Although we cannot fully comprehend the scope and magnitude of God’s love, we can see from the Scriptures that God’s Everlasting Love is a very important aspect of His salvation plan for His chosen people (the Elect). In principle, God’s love for His elect began before the foundation of the world and continued to eternity.Those who are the recipients of God’s gift of salvation were in total rebellion against God before He saved them. The Bible says that true believers were “dead in trespasses and sins” and were “children of wrath”. Yet Rom 5:8 makes this wonderful statement, “But God commendeth [exhibits] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”.
John 10:11,15,17-18 “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 15As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 17Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
Rev 13:8 “… the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world [from everlasting].”
Eph 1:4-6 “According as he hath chosen us [the elect] in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
Jer 31:3 “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
Eph 2:1-5 “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)”
Rev 1:5 “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”
Eph 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,”
Tit 3:4-7 “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration [born of Water, the Word], and renewing of the Holy Ghost [born of Spirit]; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
- LORD thy God will Circumcise thine Heart to Love the LORD thy God with all thine Heart – The First and great command is “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”. Unsaved Heart is incapable of Loving God this manneer. God’s intervention is necessary in regenerating man’s Heart to Love Him with all their Heart. The Second great command is “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”. The ten commandments are covered in “loving God” and “Loving your neighbor” (Rom 13:9). How do I love myself and my neighbor in the same manner? The Bible explains that this really means that to love oneself and others is to desire the greatest good or blessing possible, which is Eternal Life in Christ. The greatest blessing that could benefit any person is to have their sins forgiven and, as a result, to be qualified to enter the kingdom of Heaven and have Eternal Life. We love our neighbor by proclaiming the Gospel to them. Obedience is the Evidence of Love.
Matt 22:36-40 “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
1 John 3:16 “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren ”
Rom 13:8-10 “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Gal 2:20“ I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Heb 9:14 “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
1 John 3:18 “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”
1 John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”
John 14:21,23 “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 23Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him [This the Kingdom of Christ].”