I John 3.16, 4.10
2 Samuel 24.24
In this world in which we find ourselves, we must be more careful than at any time in the past to define words. Everyone has their own reality now, and of course their own definition of words. For example what does leisure mean to you, what about joy, how do you define happiness, or hatred. The word I want to look at today is love, what does it mean to you?
Love today is defined often as a sentimental feeling, a romantic concept of kindness, offering affection to someone, and sweetness. The picture painted in song and poetry often describes love as a flower, perhaps a rose, often self centered or at least self interested. The scriptures however give us a different view of true love.
The scriptures tell us that God is love, but how do we know what that means without the full explanation from scripture? I John 3.16 says, ” In this we have come to know what love is, that He ( Jesus) laid down His life for us.” God is love, a conclusion from the fact that He provided in Christ a propitiation for our sins. Webster defines propitiate as, “to appease or satisfy.” The Apostle John conveys no idea of love to anyone except by pointing to this propitiation. In essence Love is : God has made atonement for the sins of the world.
David alludes to the fact that love is costly, that nothing of value is free. In 2 Samuel 24.24 Araunah the Jebusite offered his threshing floor, the yokes of the oxen, the threshing sledges, (for fire wood,) and the oxen for the sacrifice God had demanded of David, to King David. “Everything, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” But king David replies, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God which cost me nothing.” David found favor with God because of his broken and contrite heart, his sacrifices to God were of value because of No. 1 God appointed through Moses for Israel to offer sacrifices, without said appointment their is no value in the sacrifices spiritually, and No.2 the whole system was established to be of cost to the worshipper, in both time and money. David understood that, thus his plea to pay.
Jesus also told of our part in the worship of God as being costly. In Mark 12.43, the widows mite, she gave out of her poverty. John 15.13, greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for another. Luke 15.11 the prodigal son, The loving father humiliates himself in welcoming his wayward son home, and restoring him into sonship. Luke 10.30 the good samaritan, expends great time and effort to take the injured to get help, and then pays for extended care. Each of these examples show great cost in service to others and worship of God.
For John to say “God is love” is exactly the same as to say “God has paid the debt He did not owe .” He atoned for our sin through His Son, Jesus Christ, this then is love. This “love” means that which is deeper than sin, deeper than sorrow, deeper than adoration, deeper than wonder, deeper than joy, and deeper than purity. If we then say that we love God, how is it shown without cost to us. If we say that we worship God, how is it shown without cost to us. This free gift of salvation comes to us through costly love, what is our due response?