In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:10 (ESV)
God is love! He reveals His love in different ways. One of them is in His Christmas love: God became man. This is the most beautiful, most admired and most sung about love of God.
- The true reason for God’s Christmas love
The world somehow assumes that God loves us. If anything, God ought to be love. And He should love us! Man considers himself to be somewhat worthy of God’s love. “After all, most of us are not so bad that we would not deserve His love,” man is convinced. However, the Bible makes it crystal clear: the reason for God’s love is not any good on our side, it is not that we have loved God. When John 3:16 says that God so loved the world, it doesn’t mean: “World, God loves you, because you are so good and cute and lovable.” World in the Gospel of John does not mean a big place, but a bad place.1 It is a place full of people who hate God and scoff at Him and by no means want to be ruled by Him. What Christmas love points out is that God loved us anyway! Not because we deserve it, but because He is that kind of God!
- The rich content of God’s Christmas love
God sent His Son. Jesus, in His person, showed what kind of love the love of God is. Jesus loved them all: the obviously sinful and the seemingly righteous, men and women alike, and – completely unexpected – the little children! In His love He touched the untouchables, healed the sick and freed the demon possessed. He spoke words of grace and blessing. People were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well” (Mark 7:37). And they did not even know that the full measure of His love was yet to come when Jesus would give up His life! Words actually fail to describe this love and our minds are too small to grasp it. The love of Christ surpasses knowledge (Eph. 3:19)!
- The great purpose behind God’s Christmas love
Jesus did not die on a cross just to show that He loves us or to leave us an example. After all, how would that help us? God sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins! Our sin had brought God’s wrath on us. But by shedding His blood, Jesus satisfied God’s wrath and turned it into favour. God sent His Son into the world, so that we might live through Him (1 John 4:9)! What a privilege it is to proclaim this great purpose to children!
God’s Christmas love is not a sentiment.
It’s love with the purpose to save sinners!
1 D.A. Carson, The God who is there, Baker Books, 2010, p. 140. For the purpose of God’s love see p 144.