"He Hath Loved Us!"
I John 4:10
We rejoice to know that "God is love" (I John 4:8, 16).Love is an attribute of God. But that does not mean that God loves all men.Any reasonable person,whose mind is not perverted by the influence of Arminian,free-will religion, must recognize that fact. Did God love those multitudes whom he swept off the earth in the flood? Did God love the degenerate Sodomites, upon whom he rained fire from heaven? Did God love Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their followers whom he swallowed up into hell? Anyone who imagines that God loved those multitudes might well pray to be forever hidden and excluded from the love of God! But the Scriptures nowhere assert,or even imply,that God's love is universal,that it extends to all men. The Scriptures say ,"He loved us!" And the "us" whom he loves are all believers, past, present, and future. "He loved us," who are chosen, redeemed, and called by his almighty grace. John tells us four things about the love of God in this text.
1. God loves sovereignly. "Herein is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us." There is nothing that compels God to love any of his creatures. But in his infinite goodness, God says, "Jacob have I loved." Our God is infinite, immutable, and sovereign, and so is his love. He loves whom he will, because he will, and he loves them eternally.
2. God loves sinners. "He loved us." I preach fully, without reservation, unlimited love, unbounded mercy to the vilest of men.We have nothing in us worthy of consideration. We deserve the utmost extremity of God's wrath. But "he loved us!" Who can express the infinite magnitude and fulness of these words?
3. God loves sacrificially. He "sent his Son." God gave his darling Son to suffer and die upon the cursed tree to save the multitudes of his elect, whom he loved with an everlasting love.
4. God loves savingly. God loved his elect before the world began. But in order for us to be reconciled to God,justice had to be satisfied. Therefore, our loving heavenly Father made his Son to be the sin-atoning, justice-satisfying "propitiation for our sins." Through the substitutionary death of Christ, all the sins of God's elect were washed away. "Herein is love!" The love of God is more than a helpless passion. It is his saving commitment and determination toward his elect.