I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Yodit Kifle Smith
"For God so loved the world that He gave is only begotten Son..."
John 3:16 is one of the most well-known passages in the Bible. Why? Because it’s one of the greatest examples of God’s most known attribute: His love.
Scripture tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8). And we love to talk about His love. It’s reassuring. It’s compassionate. It’s merciful. It’s gracious. It’s steadfast. It’s faithful. It’s giving. And the list goes on.
However, when we talk about God’s love, we hardly ever hear messages that help us understand why God’s love is profound. Why it’s unlike any other. Perhaps it’s because it gets into a part of God that we are uncomfortable talking about: His wrath and judgement.
We think speaking of His wrath and judgement villainizes God as if those two things couldn’t co-exist with His love.
God is love. But Scripture doesn’t say God is wrath. However, His wrath is a function of His Holiness (Isaiah 43:15). God can’t be in the midst of sin (Deuteronomy 23:14) which is why His love towards us proves to be amazing because in order for us to be reconciled to Him and know His love, His wrath had to be satisfied (Romans 5:9).
Here’s what we have to rehearse more in our lives as believers. When we read that “God loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life: (John 3:16), He wasn’t sending His Son to have this fun-filled adventure or vacation here on Earth. He sent His Son to die. Why? Because God is Holy. God’s holiness couldn’t allow sinful people to be in right standing with Him. Sin demanded death. This is why in the Old Testament, under the Old Covenant, priests would have to make sacrifices each year as an atonement for their sins and the sins of the people so God’s presence could continue being with them (Hebrews 10:11).
Now in the new covenant of Christ, when we remember and celebrate the death of Christ, we aren’t celebrating just the act of death, we are also rejoicing in that fact that we sinful and undeserving people received God’s grace instead of His wrath- a wrath that we deserved for choosing sin over our Creator. For exchanging His glory for sin. How? Because of Jesus- the only one blameless and perfect stood condemned. Not us. Jesus took on God's wrath. Not us. Jesus was judged. Not us—so that when we believe,
we will be saved (John 3:15).
We will be forgiven (Ephesians 1:7)
We will be reconciled (2 Cor.5:18).
We will be redeemed (Galatians 3:13).
We will be free from the bondage of sin (Galatians 2:20).
We will be in God’s love (Jude 1:21).
So, you want to know how much God loves you? look at the cross and see the sacrifice that had to take place so you can know and live in His love. (Romans 3:25)
You want to know how much God hates sin? Look at the cross and let it remind you that God is Holy and His wrath had to be satisfied in Christ for us to be in Christ.
God’s deep love for us doesn't exist without His deep hate of sin—the very thing that separates His images bearers from Him. And His deep hate of sin doesn't exist without someone taking our place to die and bear His wrath so we could be free to be in His love.
This is amazing love.
Sisters, rejoice! In Christ, we are no longer under the wrath of God but are secure in His love. On that glorious day, we will stand before Jesus as our Savior and not our Judge because we believe. We don't have to be afraid of talking to people about God's wrath because it gives us an amazing opportunity to talk about His love. So, may this give us a heart to tell others about Christ.
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
1 John 4:8
2 Corinthians 5:18
Questions to Reflect on: