God Is Love
The Bible declares that “God is love” (1 John 4:16). Love has been God’s dominant quality in the past and will continue to be in the future for He never changes (James 1:17). When Moses prayed, “Show me Thy glory,” the Lord answered, “I will make all My goodness pass before thee” (Exodus 33:18, 19). And the Lord passed before Moses, and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exodus 34:6, 7).
The Scriptures declare that the Lord “delights in mercy” (Jonah 4:2; Micah 7:18) and grants helpless sinners hope of eternal life (Psalms 103:8–14; 145:8; Jeremiah 29:11; 31:3). The statement that “God is love” is of infinite value in understanding the plan of salvation. Only Love could inspire the plan that would permit the Son of God to save the human race from guilt and death. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Christ’s Sacrificial Death
Satan led men to see the Father as a severe and harsh judge. It was to remove this dark image, by revealing to the world the infinite love of God, that the Son of God came to live among men (John 1:18. John 14:8, 9). The Father permitted His Son to leave heaven, the adoration of the angels, suffer shame, insult, humiliation, hatred, and death in order to save mankind. “The chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
The supreme expression of divine love is the Father’s gift of His own Son. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16), through whom it becomes possible for us to be “called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
In describing His earthly mission, Christ said, The Lord “hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18). Christ went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by Satan. He became “a Man of Sorrows,” that we might be made partakers of His glory. He, the tender, pitying Savior, was God “manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16).
“God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19). On the cross, He who had been one with God, felt in His soul the awful separation that sin makes between God and man. And He cried, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). It was the burden of sin that broke the heart of the Son of God and caused His death.
God the Father suffered with His Son. In the agony of Gethsemane, the death of Calvary, the heart of Infinite Love paid the price of man’s redemption. Jesus said, “Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again” (John 10:17). That is, “My Father has so loved you that He even loves Me more for giving My life to redeem you.
The apostle John declared, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). Through transgression the sons of man become subjects of Satan. But through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ and submission to His will, the sons of Adam become sons of God (John 1:12).
In His service,