(1 John 4:10) “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 want you to understand the word for “love” that is used in this verse. The word in Greek is agapē. It is a noun. The Greek word agapaō is the verb that means the same as agapē.
In Kenneth Wuest’s book “GOLDEN NUGGETS” his first sentence read; “‘AGAPAO’ speaks of a love which is awakened by a sense of value in an object which causes one to prize it.”
When I read this, it gave me a clearer understanding of the word agapaō or agapē. I had read that this word did not mean a feeling but it was an act of the will. When we love with human love we start with a feeling in our heart first and then act lovingly. This is not the way God starts loving the world. The word agapē is used in (John 3:16) ” 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.” It would not be wrong to say, “For God so valued the world that He gave his only begotten son…”
God acted because he put a very high value on man so that he was willing to give the greatest thing that he had which was His only begotten Son.
You may say that is God. He can act in love out of His will, but I, being a man, cannot. Being a man, I need feeling in my heart before I can act in love.
I believe it can be done for Jesus commanded us to do it. (John 13:34) “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
Jesus uses the AGAPAO in this commandment so that is saying that we should put a high value on other believers. Jesus put a very high value on you. He died for you so you can have everlasting life. This is the way we are to love one another. Other believers should be so valuable to you that you should be willing to give yourself for another believer. This is the way Jesus loves us.
The only way we know how to love like God is to act the way God loves us. He put the highest possible value on us that could be on anyone. (John 15:13) “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Or we could say there is no greater value one could be put on another than that he lay down his life for his friends.
When the Bible says, (John 3:16) “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.”
It is saying that God put the highest value on us that could be put on anything. The reason that God valued us so much is a mystery for there is no real good in man that God should value him so much. The fact is man is an enemy of God but even so, God still valued man so much that gave “his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
I want you to look at God. When you do what do you see?
Do you see the wrath of God? You can, for God has wrath that “is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” When we look at God we must remember that God has every right to have a righteous wrath toward the sinfulness of man. This fact should cause us to repent of our sins.
When you look at God, you can see God’s love-which is the greatest love that is known to man. Even though God, in his wrath, has condemned all of mankind, He has put a very high value on mankind. So, he made a way that man can be saved from His wrath. The way that God has made to save man is that He gave his Son so that He could put man’s punishment on His son.
This is what our text is saying. The word propitiation means covering. God sent his Son to cover our sins. God will cover your sins only if you will believe in His Son.
I have talked about the love of God and how our love should be like the love of God. I want to talk about the love man should have in Christ, but I do not have time now, so I will do it next time.
*Devotional written by Ralph Williams, retired pastor and member of One Hope Mobile.