He First Loved Us

As the Body of Christ we have a command from our heavenly Father.

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40, KJV)

Today I have been studying the topic of covenant for a class I am teaching. One important aspect of covenant that I have studied is that in covenant one partner cannot ask another partner to do something that he himself is not also willing to do.

Remember Abraham and his son Isaac in Genesis chapter 22? God says to Abraham, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest… and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of” (KJV). As they travel Isaac asks his father, “where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham’s response,”God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.”

Just as Abraham is about to sacrifice his son Isaac the angel of the Lord stops him. He says, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me” (KJV). Abraham then looks up and sees a ram caught in a thicket. He offered this ram, as the Bible says, “instead of his son” (Amplified).

“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son…” (John 3:16, Amplified). “He did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?” (Romans 8:32, Amplified).

God’s sacrifice of His beloved and only begotten Son demonstrates a very important point. The Bible says that we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). The sacrifice of His Son in our place demonstrates to us that He first loved us with all His heart, with all His soul, with all His mind.

We love Him because He first loved us. His love is the cause of our love. “Love begets love” (Henry Drummond, The Greatest Thing in the World ). We cannot love until we know we are loved. We can only love Him and our neighbor because He first loved us. Spend time today thinking about how deeply He must love you that He freely gave His Son to die in your place. “Contemplate the love of Christ, and you will love” (Henry Drummond, The Greatest Thing in the World ).

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