God's Love for Us
1 John 4:16 is a great consolation for any believer anytime, anywhere, in any situation. I pray the Spirit will use this verse to fill your heart with the strong comfort of God.
"So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." (1 John 4:16)
First, "So we have come to know" "the love that God has for us."
Stop right there. I need nothing else. This is my peace. This is my hope. This is my only strength, assurance, rest, and joy: GOD LOVES ME.
Before Jesus saved me because of His great mercy and love, I did not know God's love for me. I knew sin. I knew corruption. I knew despair. I knew greed, selfishness, and manipulation. I knew anger, lawlessness, and immorality. I had no clue, no inkling of God's compassionate love for me.
Brethren, make sure your anchor is dropped here: THE LOVE OF GOD FOUND THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS. Don't rest in works, morality, religion, or anything else. The well of salvation springs the water of God's love. Drink freely and go nowhere else for life and rest.
Second, John writes that we have come "to believe the love that God has for us."
This tells us immediately that knowing God's love is not merely intellectual. This is not merely mechanical head-knowledge. Rather, it is personal, spiritual, relational, experiential knowledge. It is not like our knowledge of our favorite athletes, actors, or historical figures; it is like our knowledge of our immediate family and closest friends.
"And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." (John 17:3)
As sinners, we come to KNOW God's love THROUGH faith.
As a result, we then walk by FAITH by resting and rejoicing IN God's love.
The only reason I am saved and you are saved is because we have BELIEVED the love that God has for us. What love? How has God loved us? Love expresses itself through action, right? How has God expressed His love for us? Well, I hope you know and love the answer; it is the story of the whole Bible, all of history, and all of Christian living: IN CHRIST.
"In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.  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 4:9-10)
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God," (Ephesians 2:4-8)
God has loved us in and through Jesus -- i.e., by sending Jesus to live, die, and rise again to purchase our souls for the Ancient of Days. God has loved us by forgiving us, saving us, and giving us the gift of eternal life (and all other spiritual blessings) in Christ.
Praise God for His immeasurable love expressed in kindness through Christ -- through His righteous life, His sacrificial and substitutionary death, and His glorious resurrection, heavenly ascension, and generous gifting of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
I'm tempted to go on and on because this is the greatest storyline in the world and the brightest star in the universe: SINNERS CAN KNOW GOD'S LOVE THROUGH FAITH IN GOD'S LOVE; GOD'S LOVE IS EXPRESSED IN CHRIST AND THEREFORE FOUND IN CHRIST.
For the love of God, would you put your faith in Christ? Would you come to know and believe the love that God has for you?
Next week we will look at the next part of that verse, "God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."