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
This might be the most powerful sentence ever written. With all the volumes written about love, even with all the Scriptures that talk about love, this is the only place where God wrote down his definition of love for all to see. Love is not simply a feeling, or an action, or even a commitment—although all of those things are involved. Love is beyond words and has been communicated most clearly through the Father’s will and the Son’s sacrifice—when Jesus died on a cross so that our relationship with God could be restored.
No matter what angle we view it from, God’s love is always more. From the angle of the Father, he sacrificed what was dearest to him for the sake of those who needed him more. From the Son’s perspective, he sacrificed himself so that we could be restored to the Father. And from our perspective, to the extent that we can see it honestly, we were lost and without a hope in the world. Because of our sin, we were headed for destruction with no way to save ourselves. So God “sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” Why? Because he loves us.
And in the light of that love, there is more: “If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, my love is so much less than yours. How can it be that my weak love can complete yours? Help my love to grow. Amen.