This is Love
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 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 4:9-10
These verses are somewhat simple in what they proclaim. Yet, as believers we are encouraged by the continued proclamation of the gospel from others and from the Word of God. Here, we see how much love plays a central part in God’s actions toward us in sending His Son. The action of God sending His son so that we might live through Him is love. So much of the beauty of this statement lies in the second half of that statement.
Every year, around Christmas-time, we look closely at the Incarnation. God came as Emmanuel, meaning “God with Us.” We often understand the Incarnation as a means to the end, which is the crucifixion. Yet, when we read this verse from 1 John 4, we see that God sent His son so that we might live through Him, in union with Him. God sent Jesus, who is completely and fully man, and who maintains the completeness of his existence as God. The nature of God and the nature of man were joined together perfectly and fully. So the Incarnation is one unforgettable aspect of the good news of the gospel. Man has been brought into union with God through Christ, who is Himself the perfect union of the complete natures of God and man. This is the gospel.
The next verse goes on to explain that the most real and genuine definition of love is not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to atone for our sins.We see clearly here the gospel that many of us have heard for our entire lives. There was a bounty on our heads because of our sin. We were separated from God completely. Jesus, through suffering as the sacrificial lamb, poured out His blood, on the cross, in our place, to pay the bounty that we had placed on ourselves. Love is the act of God sending His Son to die on the cross. This is the gospel.
These verses from 1 John 4 give us a more holistic view of what the gospel of Jesus Christ is. When we proclaim the good news of the gospel, we must speak of the atoning work of His death on the cross, as well as the nature of His coming as fully God and fully Man. The good news is not just limited to one moment at the foot of the cross. Instead, it is the nature, the birth, the life, the works, the death, the resurrection, the ascension, and the coming return of Jesus. This is the gospel.