The Gospel in One Word: Part 8
As we continue to look at the absolute essential nature of propitiation when we share the gospel, today we will look at another aspect of this wonderful truth, that being God's love.
Look at Eph. 3:18-19 for one example of Paul expressing our need to rightly grasp God's love. For indeed God's love for us is inexpressibly great and beyond our imagination, and yet at the same time it is important and helpful for us to seek to grasp just how great God's love is for us, even though we will never completely grasp this in all reality.
Look at 1 John 3:1 to start helping us understand just why we will never fully grasp just how great God's love is. The word here points to God's love being of a foreign nature to us. God loves in a way that is foreign, unusual to us. His love is not like the way that we love others.
And yet we ought to try to learn of God's love, as it will undoubtedly have a huge impact on us as believers. And this again is where propitiation comes into play. God's offer of Christ as our propitiation is at the center of everything regarding our redemption and the remission of our sins. Of God bringing near sinners who were far off. Of God's love.
The point we learn from propitiation which is so important to our right understanding of God's love is that God's love for sinners in offering Christ as our substitute was done FREELY. What this means, more than than the fact that it was done on our behalf and did not cost us anything per say, is that it was not due anything good in us or anything in us that deserved or warranted God's love being poured out for us. In this sense, God offered Jesus as a propitiation freely. He didn't have to and we didn't deserve for Him to.
In our world today, a world in which we think primarily of ourselves, in a world that is entrenched deeply in "self", with many of our words and phrases beginning with "self", in a world where most people think less of their sin than is true and more highly of themselves than is true, this truth runs so counter cultural. This too makes grasping God's love for us in totality even more difficult. It even makes hearing the gospel difficult at times because the truth of the gospel destroys our pride which thinks we deserve or can earn God's favor or love.
The thought of us not deserving to be loved by God, the thought we could never earn nor merit God's love, the thought that in this sense, God's love for us was totally free, runs so opposite to how we are programmed to think or even love others. And yet the truth remains that God's love for us was free.
God could have done nothing for our sin problem except judge us with death and eternal condemnation and He would have been no less God. Grasp this and why it was free. And yet God loved us and offered up Jesus Christ as our propitiation, substitute and satisfactory payment for our sin, that whosoever would call upon the name of the Lord would be saved.
Grasp the greatness of God's love for us this morning. Grasp the eternal security this ought to bring to our lives. If we didn't earn it and yet God freely chose to offer it, then we cant lose what God has freely given, undeservedly given.
Meditate on what Paul says in conclusion to these wonderful truths in Romans 8:31-39 for one example. Verses 31-32 state the following: "What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all (PROPITIATION), how will He not also with Him FREELY give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God's elect (freely chosen). God is the one who justifies, who is the one who condemns?" In Romans 8:35 Paul poses the obvious question to this of "Who will separate us from the LOVE of Christ?", a question he answers for us in Romans 8:35-39 where Paul explicitly states that NOTHINIG CAN SEPARATE US FROM GOD'S LOVE.
WHY? Because it was offered freely.
That is the beauty of propitiation. May we make much of this wonderful and essential truth as we share the gospel rightly. This truth indeed is our sure and certain foundation for everything we face, including God's love for us.