“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
I John 4:9-10
The word “manifest” means to make obvious, plain, or clear. God has made his love obvious to us by sending his only begotten Son into the world to die so that we might have life through him.
Love always gives - the greater the love the greater the gift. The greatest gift that God could ever have given was his Son. He gave him so that we might have life through him. Someone might say, “I already have life. It was given to me by my parents.” But God is not speaking of mere physical life. He is speaking of spiritual life that you cannot have without receiving his Son. The following verses explain that we are “dead” in a spiritual sense and need this life that God gives.
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:”
II Corinthians 5:14
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ,
(by grace ye are saved;)”
The phrase “only begotten” tells us that Jesus, his Son, has a unique relationship with the father. He is his son in a way that no one else can ever be. You and I can become sons of God through the new birth…
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us,
that we should be called the sons of God:
therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”
I John 3:1
…but this is a different kind of “sonship”. Simply put, Jesus is uniquely God’s son because he is God. We can be God’s sons because we believe on his Son. Angels worship the Son, angels don’t worship us (there is a big difference here!):
“For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.”
We are told in the scripture passage at the top of this page that the kind of love that God has does not begin with us because we don’t naturally have this kind of love. It begins with God. We are also told in this passage that God in love sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins. What does “propitiation” mean? It means a covering or atonement, forgiveness or mercy. Christ made an atonement for our sins by his death on the cross, and this he did once for all.
“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
There is no greater love than for someone to give their life for another:
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
But God’s love surpasses the best of human love because Christ died for us when we were without strength, ungodly, and sinners:
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”