The essence of God’s love in Jesus Christ is an active, sacrificial love that secures the eternal well being of those He has chosen. All of God’s saving purposes in Christ are the outworking not only of His sovereign love for the elect, but His love for Jesus Christ (John 17:20-26). Those who have tasted God’s transcendent love through faith in Christ have done so because God did something. Of His own initiative and design, God acted. And in a way that fully reflected His holy, righteous, just, and loving character, He acted to do that which alone could bring permanent salvation to those He loves – He gave His own Son. Hear how the New Testament writers speak of this:
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:16)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.(1 Peter 1:3)
As those who have received God’s love in Christ, Christians now have the privilege and responsibility of sacrificially loving others by His power and for His glory. Thus our love is radically distinct from the world’s ideas of love, because it is a love that is grounded in and flowing from the truth of all that God has given us in Jesus Christ.
This is what John goes on to speak of in 1 John 3:
16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. (1 John 3:16-18)
The point is clear: if you claim to be a Christian – if you testify that you’ve been born again – are you showing evidence of this by laying down your life for the brethren? Are you opening your heart to the needs of those around you, and seeking to meet those needs with the resources God has given you? Do you actively strive to love others in deed and truth?
Very practically, and with reference to Christ’s body at RCG (though our love for others should certainly extend beyond our church family), are you prayerfully seeking to notice the needs of others with the intent of actively responding to those needs? Think about when we gather on the Lord’s Day. Are you reaching out to others, lovingly taking the initiative to learn of and respond to their needs for the glory of Christ? There are myriads of needs: physical needs, spiritual needs, relational needs, etc. We only have to look!
I thank God that there is distinct and everincreasing evidence of the love of God in Christ wonderfully at work in and through so many at RCG. May it continue to increase – all for God’s glory. To that end, let me encourage you to be continually praying that God will give you and others greater apprehension of His immeasurable love in Christ (see Eph. 3:14-21). Pray also that God will give you greater sensitivity and strength for how you can actively love others for His glory.
What a joy to share life in Him with you!