"By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him" (1 Jno. 4:9). It is not by our goodness, greatness, loveliness, or merit that moved a holy, perfect God to work through the ages, in spite of our great failures, to reach out and rescue a race of rebels. We were dead in the vileness of sin and "without God and without hope" (Eph. 2:12). The driving force behind the dramatic plan of salvation is the loving character and initiative of God alone (Eph. 2:1-5).

Redemptive love is undefeatable goodwill. Do we marvel at it as the most powerful force in the universe? It motivates His grace toward the undeserving, which includes all of us, in offering the best and dearest He has in His Son (Jno. 3:16). This divine power is the greatest force for change in the universe. "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God" (1 Jno. 3:1).

We must marvel at the wonders of such love, such redemptive goodwill. It persists in spite of man's repeated failures and foolishness. He knows all about us, every secret sin, and, like the forgiving father in Jesus' parable of the prodigal son (Lk. 25), He still wants us back! It is an optimistic, positive love that sees great potential for anyone who turns completely to God in sincere faith. It is also a tough love that beckons us to penitently do better and reach higher in humble obedience.

In the plan of salvation, we must point people to our loving God through Christ and give Him all the glory, honor, and credit for the power to change erring lives (Rom. 5:6- 11; 11:33-36). One reason many of us are not as motivated to actively share the gospel with the lost is that we really don't love them like our heavenly Father does (see 1 Jno. 4:19). "He who does not love does not know God, for God is love" (1 Jno. 4:8). The effective soul-winner Paul exclaimed, "The love of Christ impels us" (2 Cor. 5:14).

Knowing the infinite love of God confronts us with a choice: will I be a stagnant hoarder or a transformed channel of divine love to the lost? The love of God lifts our spirits, changes our lives, and moves us to lovingly share the gospel with lost people all around us.

By W. Frank Walton in Biblical Insights, Vol. 5, No. 4, April, 2005.

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