Biblical Christian love is more than a feeling; it is an active gracious meeting of a need in another simply for no other reason than that the person requires it. This means that God’s love is not dependent upon any person’s striving toward him. Rather, God’s love is based solely upon his free choice to show mercy to whomever he wants to show mercy. It is an astounding phrase that we have here in Holy Scripture: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God doesn’t wait until we look good enough, act good enough, or make a good enough effort toward good until he steps in and acts. No, when we are at our worst; when we have no thought toward looking to God for answers; when we are going along our merry way with no intention of being a Christian; then, God shows his love for us by doing the improbable and the impossible: he saves, justifies, and reconciles us to himself.
This is some really robust truth that needs to sink deep down into our spiritual bones. We do not save ourselves – God does. We do not have a leg to stand on in making ourselves righteous – God does that. We do not gin-up faith and love from within ourselves – God gives it to us. In other words, all of Christianity is a precious and wonderful gift to us from the very heart of God, who delights in showing grace to the ungracious.
So, then, the appropriate response to all this is to rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ! Rather than grumping our way through most days like a believer baptized in pickle juice, we can contemplate the mercies of God, which are new every morning. We can take some time each day to stop and think about the great love of God in Christ that saved a wretch like me. And, we can live our lives being gracious and loving even toward those who disagree with us or are different from us, because that is exactly what God did for us.
Gracious God, your love is unfathomable and beyond description. Even a glimpse of your mercy is enough to change my life forever. Let your enduring love be with me always so that I might show that same love toward others, just as Jesus did. Amen.