1 John 4:9-12
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. The rest of us are adopted. I don't know about you, but that makes me feel very, very special for God to have loved me enough to adopt me as His own! In spite of everything evil I had done, He still loved me that much! I was dead in my sin. Oh, I was still walking around, but my earthly life and my future were nothing but death. Jesus Christ gave me life! Through love, He gave me an incredibly abundant life here and now, with the added bonus of eternal life through Him!
This is the whole reason for God's love. "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him." (v.9, also see Romans 5:8-10; John 3:16-17 NIV) His righteous nature demanded that a blood sacrifice be made. This is where the Law of Moses came from ... God's demand that blood sacrifice be made. At the same time, His loving nature provided the sacrifice... His only begotten Son.
God also demands sacrifices from us. No, we don't go to the temple and make blood sacrifices any more. Jesus was the final blood sacrifice... the last one ever needed. But we must sacrifice in other ways. We make a sacrifice of our lives when we give them to Him, turning away from the world and its ways. We sacrifice when we love others. Each commitment we make to love demands something from us... time, money, goods, emotions, attitudes, selfish interests, innumerable things. Read again 1 Corinthians 13 NIV. Take each verse one at a time. think about it, pray about it, meditate upon it. Examine yourself to see if the love manifested in you fits the description it gives. Then make a commitment to give God's love every day to every person you meet.
If we know God, we must love. If we love, we must sacrifice.
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