1 John 3:16 “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
Designed for love
Mankind by nature has a desire to be loved. Our creator built this desire into our DNA. God created us with both the ability to experience being loved and to express love to others.
The fact that we’re built to love and be loved is no surprise to those who have come to know the God of the Bible. John the Apostle in 1 John 4:8b tells his readers: “for God is love.” Because love is one of God’s core attributes, love flows naturally from Him.
Then why isn’t there more?
If the Bible presents truth about who God is as the loving creator, then why does there seem to be a lack of love? Why do things like selfishness and hatred seem to pervade our society? Why is there a need for legislation to be written that orders us to act in a loving way? At times why do we question God’s love for us?
The simple answer to these questions is sin. If we turn to our Bibles, we will read the “Greatest Love Story” of all time. This love story includes the creation of mankind by the God of Love. If we take a moment to look at how God started all of this, we’ll learn something important about our nature, our choices, and God’s nature and His choices.
Our nature by choice
In the book of Genesis, we read how God placed Adam and Eve into the Garden of Eden. This was a place where God’s love was felt and known. The splendor of all that God created testified boldly of God’s love.
Not only did Adam and Eve experience God’s love through creation, they also were able to commune in a real personal way with God Himself. God had given them all that they needed and so much more.
True love, though, is an act of the will. True love cannot just be confessed; it must also be demonstrated.
In this garden, along with all that God had given them, was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This tree was off limits to Adam and Eve. This tree was the only thing that they could not have, and as it turns out, this tree would be a true test of love. Not a test of God’s love for His creation, but rather, a test of Adam and Eve’s love for God.
In their free will, they made a clear, conscious choice to love something more than they loved God. Some would say that they chose the fruit of the tree over God, but truly they chose themselves over God.
Romans 5:12 ”Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"
God’s choice by nature
This choice to love self over God would change many things, but one thing that it did not change is the fact that God is Love! In what I have identified as the “Greatest Love Story” we don’t just read of how Adam and Eve demonstrated their lack of love for God; we also read of God’s loyal, faithful love, something that keeps coming up throughout the pages of scripture. As much as sin has done in a negative way to us, God has chosen to move in a positive way for us.
Because sin by nature is against God, sin separated us from God. Some may conclude then, that God must not love us. And this is where the question may arise: Does God really love me? How could God love me?
This, my friend, is where Jesus comes in. 1 John 3:16 does more than tell us about God’s love. It shows us how God demonstrated His love, how He chose to express it to us. Jesus, the Son of God, left all that heaven offered to Him and entered into time and space. He lived so that He could die. He died so that we could live. What else could that be but love?
The next time the circumstances of life drive you to ask the question “Does God really love me?,” simply turn your gaze to the cross and remind yourself, yes, Jesus loves even me! And when we remember how we have been loved, we are ready to love like Jesus!