And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. (1 John 4:16)
Tom Hanks uttered a line in the movie Forrest Gump that surely resonates with all of us: “I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.” Is this not true of each and every one of us? Do we not all know, regardless of our age or station in life, what love is? And why do we all know this? Because God is love, and the entire story line of the Bible is God’s unfolding plan of redemption—in a word, His love for us!
This love is unlike any other kind of love. God’s love is a saving love. God’s love is a sacrificial love. God’s love is a supernatural love. And there is no better picture of this love than the one we find in our Lord Jesus Christ, who said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Is this not what our Lord did for you and me? Did He not come into this world to lay down His life so that we could have eternal life in Him?
Here is something we must remember regarding the love God has for His people: it is a love that is ready, willing, and able to afflict both the One who is demonstrating the love and the object of its affection in order to work a greater good that could be accomplished in no other way. We should draw great comfort from this truth. God does indeed love us just the way He found us (dead in our trespasses and sins), but He loves us too much to leave us in that condition. God is at work, both in and through us, to make us alive in Christ and to change and conform us into the image of His beloved Son, and He will stop at nothing to complete the good work He has begun in us.
So regardless of where this message finds you today, remember the wisdom of Forrest Gump and keep the love your Savior has for you in constant view. He bore the unimaginable cosmic punishment for your sin in order to have a personal relationship with you forever and ever. He took your condemnation. He took your scourging. He took your crown of thorns. He took your nine-inch nails. He took your cross. And He took your death. Why? Because He loves you enough to die for you! He knows what love is.
Perhaps committing the following verse to memory will prove profitable during those times that will inevitably come when you feel a bit unloved or unlovable:
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16)
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!