These are the grandest words in the Bible—the central theme of Christianity. It is the truth upon which the Great Plan of Salvation and of Redemption is built, and it is the foundation in the structure of the Word of God.
It is truth, the truth, as God is true. It is the principle behind all other truths so that, if something does not agree with that one truth, then it must be false. "God is love," eternal and unchangeable. All His entire character is moved and controlled by love.
"God is love." Many people feel, maybe as a result of their experiences in this world, that God hates them, but that Jesus loves them. Others believe that Jesus purchased the Father's love. Both are answered by his words: "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…" (John 3:16).
Jesus' work was not to buy the Father's love, but to show it. Therefore, even though theologians might not teach it, Christ's words are true: "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30) – they are one in purpose and in work.
Jesus also prayed to the Father that the disciples might be one, "even as we are one" which he prayed in John 17:22: "As thou, Father, art in me and I in thee; that they may be one in us." Therefore, he could be called "Immanuel" which means "God with us" (Matthew 1:23). God gave His Son to the world and the Son "gave himself for us" (Titus 2:14). Truly they are in close harmony but very much distinct from one another.
The love of the infinite God could neither be created nor purchased, but it could be shown. This is one part of the work of the Son of God – to reveal the Father by revealing and showing His love, for "God is love." Without Christ, the love of God and God Himself cannot be known. The Father does not reveal the Son, but the Son reveals the Father, "For no man knoweth who the Son is but the Father, and no man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him" (Matthew 11:27).
No Bible scholar needs to try to explain the Divine Sonship of Jesus. "But it pleased the Father that in Christ should all fullness dwell" (Colossians 1:19). Jesus is the Word of God, the Truth, the personal embodiment of all that is good and true, and emphatically the Revelation of God. We are told in John 1:14 that "The Word was made flesh." Jesus took on the human nature, the "form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:7). He left the glory he had with the Father before the foundation of the world (John 17:5) and was made "a little lower than the angels" (Hebrews 2:7; Psalm 8:5).
The purpose of God sending His Son Jesus to the world as a human was to suffer and die on the cross, to eventually save all of mankind from sin and death (Hebrews 2:9).
What glorious love of both the Father and the Son. "God so loved… that He gave His only begotten Son…" (John 3:16). The love caused the gift. "God commendeth His love to us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
"All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them" (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
Man is lost and God works through Christ to win the wanderer back. God hates sin, but loves man. One reason why He hates sin is because He loves mankind. Sin ultimately destroys man's happiness, and if man continues to sin, he will eventually destroy himself. "'Thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thy help found,' saith the Lord" (Hosea 13:9). Grace is demonstrated by the love and favor of God. God, in Christ, brings salvation to all men in a truly absolute sense because God will restore all that was lost when Adam sinned (Acts 3:21).
"As in Adam all died, so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22). Therefore, "We trust in the living
God, who is the Savior of ALL MEN, especially of them that believe." (1 Timothy 4:10)
God not only redeemed mankind, but will restore all that was lost in Adam, AND He has made even higher rewards possible. He brought salvation within reach of all men, and will give eternal salvation to all those who have truly obeyed and followed Him (Hebrews 5:9).
Jesus gave himself a ransom for all, to buy mankind back from death. He will have all men to be saved from the curse put upon Adam spoken of in Genesis 3:17-19, and will also help all mankind come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4-6). By this we know that he is the true light, the one and only source of truth and life (John 1:9). All who have died without knowing the true light will be educated about that light in the future kingdom, and the words of the angel will be verified: "Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people" (Luke 2:10).
This salvation will be from the curse of death, as we are told in Hosea 13:14, because Jesus died as a ransom price to pay for the original sin of Adam (1 Timothy 2:6). This was all made possible by the Father's love, through His Son Jesus, who is our Redeemer. He will restore that which was lost to all of mankind, and provide a special reward to those who receive and obey the truth in this present time (James 2:5; Galatians 1:4).
1 John 4:8 tells us, "He that loveth not, knoweth not God for God is love." If we are really trying to know and follow God, then we are required to love one another. For Christians, it is easy to love God because He loved us first, which was demonstrated when He sent Jesus to the world so that we may be saved (1 John 4: 9,19). We have the opportunity to show God just how much we love Him by truly loving our friends, family and brethren.
When we see such testimony, there can be no doubt that the Father is love and that His love was NOT purchased by Christ's death. His love was and is always there. Jesus' sacrifice on the cross was only to redeem [purchase] mankind from sin and death, not to purchase the Father's love. And this Ransom was arranged by God to show His great love for mankind.
Knowing this, that our sinful lives were purchased by Jesus to save us out of sin and death when He suffered and died on the cross, let us glorify God as we are told to do in 1 Corinthians 6:20.
We love the Giver and we love the Gift. "Whom having not seen, we love" (1 Peter 1:8). Who would not want to join in an angelic choir in praise to God singing, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14).