v 10. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
Which came first? The chicken or the egg; the towering sunflower or the seed that produced it; that’s not the kind of issue we are thinking about here. John is absolutely clear – God loved me an eternity before I considered responding to that love. My love for God, tainted by selfishness and sin, pales into insignificance when compared to the extraordinary, outrageous, unchanging love of God for me. Before my life was conceived in my mother’s womb – 2000 years before that in fact – God demonstrated his love for me by sending Jesus to die for the sin that was going to spoil my life and wreck my relationship with Him. God’s response to my sin and disobedience to Him was not to unleash His anger against me, but rather to love me and send His Son to die as a sacrifice for that sin. That’s real love!
A parent’s love for a child is not demonstrated in any gifts that are given at birthdays and Christmas, but rather in the daily care and protection that shouts, ‘I will love you today, come what may.’ The loving mother and father give themselves even when the dirty nappies pile up or the teenage tantrums seem endless. They want the best for the child – just as God wants the best for His children.
To love is to give oneself to bless another, and that is exactly what God did in Christ at Calvary. There is nothing good in me that makes God love me, but in His incomprehensible and utterly amazing grace He has chosen to love me.
If that isn’t one of the most extraordinary facts of life, I don’t know what is!