The Face of Grace


Pencil sketch by JC Chambers

Part sixteen in a study of God's grace from the book of John.

Why does God involve Himself with the world?

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17

This Bible verse is well known and oft quoted because God’s love shines so clearly from it. The profoundly simple answer to the question of why God deals with us is this: His love moves Him to do so.

At first glance, this verse seems to indicate how much God loved the world. In truth, however, it expresses not “how much” God loved the world, but “how” He loved it. It expresses not the measure of His love, but the manner in which He expressed it. We could translate this verse, “This is how God loved the world, He gave his one and only Son.”

God expressed His love by sending His Son into this world so that, “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

God the Father sent His Son to this world so that men and women could become part of His “forever family.” In visiting the planet in the person of His Son, God opened the doors of immortal existence to mortal beings. “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. . . ” John 1:12

God’s purposes were, and are, eternally paternal.

God is frequently depicted as being driven both by love for sinners and by hatred for their sin. This forces Him to conciliate the conflict within by taking out His wrath on His Son.

It’s a mistake to envision the cross of Christ as an expression of God’s wrath and hatred for sin. Quite to the contrary, ”God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” The truth is that, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. . .”

Divine love is a determination to seek the best interests of those upon whom it is poured out.

It’s important to understand that God’s love is not simply an emotion. God differs from us in that He cannot be pulled in different directions by diverse emotions. He does not express love at the expense of justice, or fairness at the expense of kindness. All God’s actions are perfectly balanced expressions of the entirety of His character.

Why is it important to believe that God’s love is at the heart of His dealings with us?

Because, “We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

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