The Berean Expositor
Volume 23 - Page 205 of 207
Index | Zoom
These three phases are related, in the same sequence, to worship, to fellowship, and to
salvation. The three statements are made by John, one in the Gospel and two in the
Epistle. The third, with which we are concerned in the present paper, is repeated twice.
The word "so" draws our attention to the "manner" in which God loved the world.
The epistle of John reveals the one great "manifestation" of this love.
As we have seen in an earlier paper, "manifestation" is one of the key-words of this
epistle. The Gospel of John commences with the words, "In the beginning", and deals
with a time and work before man was created; the Epistle commences with, "That which
was from the beginning", and immediately goes on to speak of "the life" that was
"manifested" (verse 2). (See also I John 3: 10: "The children of God are manifested,
and the children of the devil"; and 3: 2, 5, 8). So when the apostle speaks in chapter 4:
of the love of God, he immediately proceeds to its one great demonstration:--
"IN THIS was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only
begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him" (I John 4: 9).
"IN THIS is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be
the propitiation for our sins" (I John 4: 10).
"God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3: 16).
The prime originating cause of salvation is the love of God. If this love is shewn to
the undeserving, as it is, it is called "grace". If it contemplates the hopeless misery of
man, it is called "mercy". If it saves many from sin and its consequences, it provides
"righteousness". Just as Christian love is sub-divided (as in I Cor. 13:) into its many
aspects, so is the love of God. Christian love is greater even than faith and hope; and so
God's love, while embracing all its outgoings in the scheme of salvation, is greater than
them all:--
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends"
(John 15: 13).
"But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us" (Rom. 5: 8).