In last week’s newsletter, we began part 1 of Growing with Jesus, and we started by talking about God’s Love for Us. Over the next few weeks, I will be taking, modernizing, and adapting a classic book Steps To Christ that was written over 100 years ago. So without further delay, let’s continue where we left off:
Jesus lived, suffered, and died because His mission in life is to redeem us. God permitted His dearly loved Son, full of grace and truth, to come from a world of indescribable glory, to a world that has been flawed and ruined with sin and darkened with the shadow of death. Jesus chose to be “pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) When we look at Jesus’ time spent in the wilderness, in Gethsemane, and upon the cross, the spotless Son of God took upon Himself the burden of sin. He had been one with God, and now felt in His soul the heart-crushing separation that sin tears between God and man. This forced from His lips the anguished cry, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 27:46) The weight of sin, the awareness of its terrible extent, and the separation it ripped between Jesus and the Father—these were the things that broke the heart of the Son of God.
This amazing sacrifice, while it shows us Jesus’ perfect love, was not an act intended to create love from the Father for us, or cause Him to become interested in saving us. In other words, Jesus dying on the cross was not something that needed to happen in order for the Father to now be able to love us or desire to save us. Instead, “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Jesus’ sacrifice was not to create love for us in the Father, but the Father sent Jesus because He loves us so much. Christ is the way that God (the Father) demonstrates how much He really does love us. God (the Father) suffered with His Son throughout Jesus’ trial, torture, and crucifixion.
Jesus said, “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again.” (John 10:17) In other words, ‘My Father has loved you [the person reading this sentence] so much that He even loves Me more for giving My life to redeem you from sin. In becoming your Substitute and Collateral, by surrendering My life, and by taking the charges present against you because of your disobedience, I am loved and accepted by My Father, and because of My sacrifice, God can be just, and also the Defender of everyone who trusts in Jesus.’
Only the Son of God is able to pay the price necessary to redeem us. Only someone who understood the awesome love of God could make it clear to us. Nothing less than the sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf could communicate the Father’s love for our fallen world.
“God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son.” He gave Him not only to live among men, but also to take their sins upon Himself and die the death they deserved. He gave Him to the fallen race. Christ was to identify Himself with the interests and needs of humanity. He who was one with God has linked Himself with the children of men with a connection that will never be broken. “Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.” (Hebrews 2:11) All this happened to give humanity the choice to be rescued from the ruin and humiliation of sin, so that we can reflect the love of God and share the joy of holiness.
The price Jesus paid to save us should not only show us how much God loves us, but also how much we can become through Christ. How amazing is it that now we can now be called children of God. Now we are all sons and daughters of the King of the universe. With Christ taking on humanity, He elevated it, and because of this, fallen people, through a connection with Jesus, may become worthy of the title “sons [or children] of God.”
There is no equal display of love that has ever been shown. God showed His love to a world that consistently rejected Him and did not love Him back. He displayed the ultimate sacrifice while we were still in heated opposition to Him. This thought alone has the power to change our lives.
The more we study God’s love for us, and His character in light of what Jesus did for us, we will begin to see mercy and forgiveness blended with fairness and justness.
As we begin or strengthen our walk with Jesus, we learn that we are only able to grow our love and adoration for Him when we begin to understand how He first loved us—before we took Him seriously and before we even became aware of our need.
Next week we will pick up where we left off and begin discussing why Jesus needs to be important in our lives!
P.S. As always, if I missed something, or if you would like to respond on this topic, join the conversation below!