Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.… (Col. 3:12)
The Bible is clear that believers are dearly loved by God. This is a foundational truth that all Christians need to receive for their spiritual well-being. Love is a pre-eminent topic in God’s Word and has application to each of our daily lives. As Christians, we are to excel in love toward God and man, but first, we must understand the truth that God loves us. Everything else flows from that.
Let’s test your knowledge with a little Bible trivia quiz. What chapter in the New Testament speaks the most strongly about love? Did you say 1 Corinthians 13? Good guess, but I want to show you a chapter that has nearly double the references to love like that one. Ready? It’s 1 John, Chapter 4. This is really the love chapter.
Let me run through some truths in 1 John 4 so you can see what the Word says about God’s love toward us.
Love comes from God. (v. 7)
God is love. (v. 8)
This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. (v. 9)
Not that we loved God, but that He loved us. (v. 10)
Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (v. 11)
If we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. (v. 12)
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. (v. 16)
We love because He first loved us. (v. 19)
This chapter in 1 John continues to expand on the many facets of love and clearly shows that we can only love because of God. His loving initiative toward us opened the door for us to love also. We can only love—truly
love—because He loved us first.
The Greatest Love
We know from Jesus that “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus demonstrated this great love by His willingness to lay down His life at Calvary for you and me. God didn’t wait for mankind to get it together before He suffered and died to save us from our sins. He made this sacrifice while the man was in the depth of his depravity. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). In Romans 8:32, it also says, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” The heart of love is sacrifice and a giving spirit. God is the originator of love, and Jesus is His personal example.