We have never experienced true love.
“In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
1 John 4:10 (ESV)
What is love? I think this is a question we often ask, but the answer usually comes through experience, whether from family or friendships or even romantic relationships. Some of us have experienced love that has lasted our whole lives and some have never experienced true love. One thing everyone has in common: we have never experienced true, pure, unconditional love from our earthly relationships. We may experience good love or even great love, but never pure love. This is why the love that God has lavished upon us is so amazing and special. Notice the order of love in the verses above. We did not love God first, but rather He first loved us. When God sent His son to this earth to die for us, he demonstrated that His love was so great, He was willing to give us a piece of Himself. Jesus was sent to be the propitiation for our sins. Propitiation simply means that the wrath of God was satisfied in the death of Christ. Paul Washer, a modern preacher and pastor, has a great way of describing this amazing concept. When Christ was on the cross, He didn’t just take upon Himself our sins, He was treated as if He were sinful. The perfect One took the punishment for us. Then, God took Christ’s righteousness and applied it to us and then treated us as righteous. How amazing is that?
This is the love that Christ demonstrated. He took upon Himself all the curses that the Bible places upon sinners. He took the punishment. He took upon Himself the wrath of God. He did this so that His righteousness could be applied to us. He lived the life that we could never live and He died the death that we should have died. All of it was applied to us. We are now counted as righteous. What love is this? For those of us who are saved, we know this love. This is lavished upon us now and will be for all eternity. If you do not have a relationship with Christ, this love is available to you. Christ came and died to take upon Himself your sins. If you bow the knee in repentance and acceptance of this gift, all that Christ has done will be applied to you and you will be loved for all of eternity, perfectly.