Pastor Cornelius R. Stam
Millions of people — even religious people — are afraid of God and are struggling to earn His favor. They suppose that salvation is the reward of showing enough love to Him. If only they would believe what God Himself says, that if we are ever saved it will be entirely because He loved us and graciously provided for our salvation.
The Apostle Paul, in the Bible, called God “the God of love” (II Cor. 13:11) and John declared that “God IS love” (1 John 4:8). Thus John goes on to say:
“HEREIN IS LOVE, NOT THAT WE LOVED GOD, BUT THAT HE LOVED US and sent His Son to be the propitiation [satisfaction] for our sins” (1 John 4: 10).
This is why salvation is so often called a “gift” in the Bible. It is the expression of God’s love to sinners. And so St. Paul tells us:
“[We] were by nature the children of wrath, even as others, BUT GOD, WHO IS RICH IN MERCY, FOR HIS GREAT LOVE WHEREWITH HE LOVED US, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)” (Eph. 2:3-5).]
“…after that THE KINDNESS AND LOVE OF GOD OUR SAVIOR TOWARD MAN appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to HIS MERCY He saved us…” (Tit. 3:4,5).
Does all this mean that God overlooks sin or condones it? By no means! In His love He paid for our sins on Calvary’s cross “that He might be Just, and the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). This is why we read in Rom. 5:8:
“…GOD COMMENDETH HIS LOVE TOWARD US, IN THAT WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS CHRIST DIED FOR US.”
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