This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4, verse 10.
So, verse 8 says that God is love, then verse 9 talked about how God showed Himself among us. Now comes another description of what love is.
Love is selfless, so selfless that you’re willing to give up everything you have for your enemy. Enemy? You and I are enemies of God? Read that again and let it sink in. Without the blood of Christ, you and I are still enemies of God. He didn’t create us that way, but we became that way. We’re disposed to sin in our inmost being, but we only sin out of an element of choice. Nobody forces us, yet we do it anyway. We are opposed to Jesus, in conflict with love, at war with good. We are enemies who choose sin over light.
When we do it, we separate ourselves from Jesus. He’s the same Jesus, who is still holy yet who lived here among unholy people not so different from ourselves. Nobody forced Him to remain holy but He did it anyway, proving that it could be done. He, who was God yet fully man, put aside His Godly side and resisted all temptation to choose what we did.
Yet God didn’t just show us what love looked like. He demonstrated what love IS by putting Himself in the breach. The triune God gave up the one so that the three might be understood as complete. He lived and died and lives again so that we might live with Him, stand in front of the three in One, and not be crushed by our unholiness. Jesus, who lived perfectly died perfectly too. He endured spiritual, emotional, physical, torture yet submitted everything He was to the will of God the Father. In doing so, He wiped out the power of unholy sin and overcame the inevitable trap of sinful death.
That’s love. It’s selfless Jesus.
If you had just one child, who you loved so sweetly that your heart felt the beat of their own, would you let that child die so others might live? If someone needed that child’s heart to transplant into another, would you allow it? That’s what God did. My heart was rotten, worn out by all my bad decisions and choices, and all the ways I haven’t resisted temptation the way He did. So God offered up the heart of His son to transplant into me that I might live again. He did it for you too. And your neighbor, your mother in law, whoever set off those bombs in Boston, and for the three people who were murdered there. It was selfless, designed to give us peace so that we would no longer be enemies of God.
Selfless Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice, for committing all You are to the life that is your love.