Love Is Shaped Like A Cross
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have every lasting life. John 3:16
And this is one of the most amazing verses in the entire Bible. It encompasses the entire gospel in just a few words, and it quite simply shares the depth of God’s love for us.
Digging deeper in the New Testament, though, we find dozens of passages that detail the love of Christ.
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. John 15:9
Reading Jesus’ own words, I am struck by His command of the way we are to love. His love for us and in us is to force its way outward to everyone we come into contact with. As Jesus loved us, we are to love others. This gives us no excuses or grumbling - if we love as He loves, those people will see Jesus living through us.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Romans 8:37
In the verses before this, Paul listed all the trials the early church was going through: tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril and sword. They were, in every sense of the word, sheep for the slaughter. But because of the love of Jesus Christ, they would be victorious even in the middle of the most difficult times in their lives. This truth is universal, and it resonates with us today. We are more than conquerors, not because of what we do or how we fight, but because of the deep, deep love of Jesus.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
It’s not about me. It’s never been about me. It has nothing to do with me. The Christ who lives inside me is the life worth living. I live the abundant life I’ve been blessed with because of my faith in Christ who, as Paul wrote, loved me all the way to the cross. As long as I am in this flesh, my faith in His love for me will get me through the toughest of times and celebrate in the joyous times.
And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. Ephesians 5:2
In the Old Testament, the animal sacrifices that gave temporary pardon of sin were described as giving off a sweet savor to God. As they burned these millions upon millions of bulls and goats, the smoke rose and pleased God as the people repented of their evil ways. In the New Testament, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross replaced the need for the animal sacrifices. How much more sweet must that smell have been than the sacrifice of an animal. Christ’s love was so strong and so sweet that His offering was welcomed into heaven by our well-pleased God.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10
No matter how close we are to our Heavenly Father, we will never love Him as much as He loves us. Our earthly relationships will never come close to helping us understand that divine love. When we were at our lowest, our ugliest and our most wicked, He still loved us enough to send His Son to die in our place. We deserved hell, but He gave us heaven. It should have been us dying and answering for uor sins. But God showed us that we are worthy of love and now able to live with HIm in heaven for all eternity when we accept that love and believe in Jesus’ death in our place.
I pray that, in this short time before Valentine’s Day, the great love of God for mankind will touch your heart in a new, profound way. Then let that love overflow into the lives of everyone you meet in the coming days. That is the love that should truly be celebrated today and every day.