We learn from the Bible that love is what motivates us to follow Christ. Not that God will not accept us if we go to Him with impure hearts; God will accept us just as we are, but at the same time He wants to take us to an ultimate type of relationship with Him, in which whatever we think or do is because we love Him. Isn’t this wonderful? Isn’t this the ideal type of relationship? And we know that He wants to bring us to this kind of relationship because He commands us to love Him. As Jesus said:
“…, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment”. (Matthew 22:37-38)
Having seen that, how can we know about God’s love? Is there a way in which we can know how much God loves us?
The way of knowing God is through His Son Jesus Christ. The way of knowing God’s love is only through Jesus: to know, understand and acknowledge that the love of God is manifested in the fact that God sent His only begotten Son. As the beloved apostle puts it:
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him”. (1 John 4:9)
How was the love of God manifested? In that God sent His only begotten Son. Two more witnesses will make this point crystal clear:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. (John 3:16)
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
God loved the world so much that He sent His only begotten Son. God didn’t spare His own Son, and that is why we can have life from Him. It was the very own Son of God who came to us. Would God lie? Would God say that He sent His only begotten Son when He actually didn’t? Would God say that He sent His only begotten Son when He actually sent someone in the role of a Son, and then exhort us to believe the fact the He sent His Son? Would God tell us to behold his love, to know that He loves us because He gave up His only begotten Son, when He actually didn’t? Wouldn’t that be a very clever way of nullifying God’s Word and at the same time cast a shadow on His character?
The letter and the spirit both agree: God indeed loves us. God indeed sent His own only begotten Son. Is there need of any more evidence?
“Through type and promise God "preached before the gospel unto Abraham." Galatians 3:8. And the patriarch's faith was fixed upon the Redeemer to come. Said Christ to the Jews: "Your father Abraham rejoiced that he should see My day; and he saw it, and was glad." John 8:56, R.V., margin. The ram offered in the place of Isaac represented the Son of God, who was to be sacrificed in our stead. When man was doomed to death by transgression of the law of God, the Father, looking upon His Son, said to the sinner, "Live: I have found a ransom." It was to impress Abraham's mind with the reality of the gospel, as well as to test his faith, that God commanded him to slay his son. The agony which he endured during the dark days of that fearful trial was permitted that he might understand from his own experience something of the greatness of the sacrifice made by the infinite God for man's redemption. No other test could have caused Abraham such torture of soul as did the offering of his son. God gave His Son to a death of agony and shame. The angels who witnessed the humiliation and soul anguish of the Son of God were not permitted to interpose, as in the case of Isaac. There was no voice to cry, "It is enough." To save the fallen race, the King of glory yielded up His life. What stronger proof can be given of the infinite compassion and love of God? "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" Romans 8:32. ... It had been difficult even for the angels to grasp the mystery of redemption--to comprehend that the Commander of heaven, the Son of God, must die for guilty man. When the command was given to Abraham to offer up his son, the interest of all heavenly beings was enlisted. With intense earnestness they watched each step in the fulfillment of this command. When to Isaac's question, "Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" Abraham made answer, "God will provide Himself a lamb;" and when the father's hand was stayed as he was about to slay his son, and the ram which God had provided was offered in the place of Isaac--then light was shed upon the mystery of redemption, and even the angels understood more clearly the wonderful provision that God had made for man's salvation. 1 Peter 1:12.” Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 154-155, 1890
Galatians 2:20 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.
1 John 5:4-5 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?