trusted online casino malaysia
Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
Rooted in Christ

Love on Display

The brilliant sun of God’s love rises against the pitch black of His just wrath that engulfs us as sinners.

“In this the love of God was manifested toward us...” (1 John 4:9, NKJV) 

Think of the most impressive Christmas display you’ve ever seen. What struck you about it? Was it the huge number of lights? Perhaps those lights were programmed to keep time with the grand plan of a majestic musical score. Those lights would have been even more spectacular at night, their beauty and radiance standing out from the darkness. 

Keep that picture in mind as you read these words: “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9). 

Imagine the pitch black darkness of a world spiritually dead in sin. Death reigned everywhere you looked. But, according to plan and right on schedule, the glory of God Himself appeared. The Light of life entered the world, something history had been waiting for since the exit from Eden. John describes that in his Gospel account. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). 

Here in his first epistle, John labels that manifestation “love.” When we think of the incarnation of the only Son of God come into the darkness of this fallen world to save sinners, we have to think of it in terms of love. We would be at a loss for words to attribute it to anything else. While we were sinners, Christ came for us. While we were sinners, Christ died for us. 

This exhibition of love is one-sided. It is God-initiated, God-orchestrated, God-achieved, God-dispensed. John describes this divine love in a way that humbles us, draining any sense of pride in which we might boast. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). 

Paul explains this demonstration of the love of God in stark terms. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Rom. 5:8–10). 

The brilliant sun of God’s love rises against the pitch black of His just wrath that engulfs us as sinners. It is that wrath of which John speaks when he uses the term “propitiation.” For Jesus to be the propitiation for our sins means that the wrath of God due us fell upon Him, fully, fiercely, finally. He took from our hand the cup of wrath and exhausted its last drop on the cross of Calvary. In its place, He gives us the cup of blessing which becomes to us eternal life (4:9; John 3:16-18, 36). 

How would you describe the love of God in Christ?

Stan Gale

Stanley D. Gale (MDiv Westminster, DMin Covenant) has pastored churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He is the author of several books, including A Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ and The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith. He has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1975. They have four children and ten grandchildren. He lives in West Chester, Pa.
Books by Stan Gale

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.