THE EXPRESSION OF GOD'S LOVE
Updated: Mar 13, 2021
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV)
After the events of the Fall (Genesis 3), Adam's sin has infected the human race.
Now, when we talk about sin, it is not solely murder but also mockery, lust, robbery, fornication, lying, pridefulness, gossiping, blasphemy, adultery, love of money, jealousy and so on.
The Punishment for Sin
God is holy. Sin conflicts with His nature. This means that He cannot overlook it; sin needs to be punished. The Bible mentions that the punishment for sin is DEATH, (Romans 6:23).
Sin has infected us that even our "Good works" cannot make up for all our wrongs against God. "We have all fallen short of His glorious standards," (Romans 3: 23). Compared to His holiness, “all our righteous acts are filthy rags,” (Isaiah 64:6).
But, in His mercy, God, has devised a plan to save the human race from eternal death. Our forefathers Adam and Eve were the firsts to know, (Genesis 3:15).
Punishment requires an Innocent Death
Until the hope of salvation was to come, God required the people to sacrifice lambs to make atonement for their sins. The animal involved must be “without blemish,” otherwise the sacrifice will not be accepted. Several chapters in the book of Leviticus read that the sacrifice of an animal produces a pleasing aroma for God (Leviticus 1-7). The sacrifice of an animal, appeased God’s anger at human sin.
Centuries later, the promised of the hope of salvation was fulfilled (Genesis 3:15) in the Person of Jesus Christ who became incarnate of the Virgin Mary (Matthew 1:23) - The God of the entire universe took on flesh and bones to become the sacrificial Lamb. He came to take the punishment for sin- death. And on seeing Jesus, the prophet John the Baptist exclaimed, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).
Jesus was "The Lamb without defect and blemish” (1 Peter 1:19) who was needed to appease God’s righteous wrath, to forgive our sin, and to reconcile us with Him.
God is love, merciful, and compassionate. His love binds Himself to whom He loves. So He brings forgiveness.
God Expressed His love at the cross
When Jesus sacrificed Himself at the cross, He shows the substantiality and depth of His love or the expression of His love for humanity.
The cross also shows the fullness of God’s justice and mercy. Jesus Christ not only became our atonement and advocate but also our Mediator. Jesus became sin for us so we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
But since The Father had to sacrifice His only begotten Son on the Cross to be the propitiation for the sins of humanity; it is of the uttermost importance to observe that His love requires certain conditions - Genuine love requires conditions.
The conditions can be read in John 3, verses 16-18: “Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life, for God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
So what are these conditions? Faith and Repentance - One must believe in Jesus Christ and the price He paid by shedding His precious blood on a Roman Cross for the sin of humanity. He must also believe that God raised Him from the dead. Anyone who fails to follow these conditions cannot be part of God’s holy family.
Sadly, many Christians quote: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” overlooking the word, “perish.” John 3:16 presents the expression and conditions of God’s love for the unrepentant sinners. God set clear conditions for the unrepentant sinners to be justified through His one and only Son, (1 John 4:9). If those conditions are not met, the same loving God will not relent and will allow men to perish in eternal hell fires.
It may be true that God is love, but His love is not unconditional. God’s ultimate desire is the salvation of humanity, but if they reject His Son, Jesus Christ, He cannot welcome them in His family.