This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
1 John 3.16
The Bible sets out the perfect standard in everything from beginning to end. It is a standard which we simply cannot achieve in our own strength which would demoralising except for the glorious truth that by his death Jesus has declared his people righteous.
There is of course a danger in this in that we might think all is now OK and we don’t need to do anything because Jesus has done it all. But here in 1 John 3 we are brought face to face with the truth that if we have passed from death to life, that is turned from our sin and accepted what Jesus has done for us, we are immediately under obligation to
‘love one another’.
It is an obligation for two reasons. The first as we have seen is because ‘This is the message we have heard from the beginning’ and the second is that anyone who does not love remains in death’. So love is of the utmost importance.
So if we are going to love we need to know what love is, and the standard is very high!
Love is that ‘Jesus Christ laid down his life for us’.
How far removed this is from the ‘Love is Cartoons’ of the 1960’s if you are old enough to remember those! They were quite sweet and touching yet so far removed from what Jesus has done. Then even further away, as far away as could be is the current ITV Game Show ‘Love Island’ which totally debases love and could even be described as ‘hating ones brother’!
In such a world how vital is loving as Christ loved us. Loving as we shall see later (v.18) with actions and in truth.
God’s standard displayed in Jesus is the Gold standard.
Here is love vast as the ocean,
Loving kindness as a flood
When the prince of life our ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood
Who his love will not remember,
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout heavn’s eternal days
On the mount of crucifixion,
Fountains opened deep and wide
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy,
Flowed a vast and gracious tide
Grace and love like mighty rivers,
Flowed incessant from above
Heavens peace and perfect justice,
Kissed a guilty world with love