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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God."—1 John 4:9–10 (MSG)
I love G.K. Chesterton. The manner in which he conveyed his fascinating ideas was just so clever. In my opinion, he is one of the most quotable/Tweetable men ever. One of my favorite Chesterton quotes comes from Orthodoxy: “Stated baldly, charity certainly means one of two things–pardoning unpardonable acts, or loving unlovable people.”
I personally like to think this idea was inspired by today’s verse. If you back it up to 1 John 4:8 (MSG), we’re told, “The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love.” To put the ultimate exclamation point on this idea that he’s been driving home for four chapters, the apostle tells us how God showed His love for us: “God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him.”
And in verse 10 (NIV) we see what I believe inspired the two Chesterton thoughts to come into play: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” You see, as sinners, we were, according to Paul, “God’s enemies” (Romans 5:10). The word used for enemies speaks of hateful, odious, repulsive, disgusting people . . . and that’s what we were.
And yet God still loved us . . . so much so that He sent His only Son Jesus so that we who were dead in our sins might live in Him! And how did Jesus make us alive? By “pardoning unpardonable acts” through His death, by dying in our place, by becoming the atoning sacrifice for our “sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.” When we “believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29 NIV), when we put our faith in Christ, He clears away our sins, washes us clean, and gives us the right and privilege to be called children of God (John 1:12).
Knowing intimately this great love that goes far beyond anything we could ever imagine, how do we respond? Well, we should respond by telling the world about it! Having been transformed by the marvelous light and overwhelming love of Christ Jesus, we should be so overflowing with love that we can’t help but share it and speak it to everyone we encounter. We should be excited to preach the gospel, to love others deeply, to serve the people around us, to show compassion to the hurting and broken, and to die to ourselves for the sake of the gospel.
DIG: How has the love of Jesus changed you?
DISCOVER: How are you showing the love of Jesus to the people around you today?
DO: Is there a difficult person in your life right now? Perhaps someone who is hard to love? Be intentional about loving them well this week. Is there someone you haven’t forgiven? Pray and ask the Lord to soften your heart so you may forgive them. That doesn’t mean you have to become best friends with them or even see them or talk to them, but in your heart genuinely forgive them as He has forgiven you.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.