Thursday, June 23, 2011

Because He first loved us.

"We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19 ESV

What is our motivation or reasons behind our love and acts of love? Are we accustomed to being patient with our little ones, forgiving our wronged spouses or helping feed the poor because that's the right thing to do? Have we, as Christians, tried to display our love to others to conform to some standard of human good? If we're honest a lot of times this is the case.

In 1 John we see a different motivator behind good works, the Gospel. Why does John simplify our love for others due to the fact that God first loved us? The reasoning is profound, because the Cross is where the ultimate display of love has been laid out before us.

At the Cross we see how God first loved us. He poured out the wrath we deserve on Christ, because of love. He canceled our record of sin debt. Due to the cross we have grace {unmerited favor} and mercy {not getting what we deserve}.

Reflecting on the Gospel shouldn't merely consist of thinking how Jesus died on a cross for our sins and rose three days later, the end. We should see, think and breathe all that the Cross displays: grace, mercy, forgiveness and the ultimate display of love. When we meditate in each moment, each action on the Gospel we will be rooted in the Gospel.

When the Gospel is at the root of our hearts, when we consider the love that God had first for us, then from us can freely flow love. Then I will glorify God and display the treasure of Jesus because my heart is rooted in Christ.

Two ways we can dishonor God even in 'good things' or loving acts is by either performing those things because it's our duty and we believe we have to do them or because we do them to be a better Christian. May we be free from both of these wrong motives. May God continue to teach our hearts that the Gospel is our core, that at the Cross we see God truly loved us, despite our sinful state and may acts of love flow freely from that rooted Gospel heart.

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