“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 (NIV).
In a recent devotional I read in Billy Graham’s book titled Hope for Each Day: Words of Wisdom and Faith, Graham opened that day’s devotional with the following words: “God’s love did not begin at Calvary.”
The opening paragraph continued. “Before the morning stars sang together, before the world was baptized with the first light, before the first blades of tender grass peeped out, God was love.”
God loved us before the creation of the universe. How do we know? Because God is love. Ephesians 1:4 tells us “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes” (NLT).
He Chose Us Before Creation
Do you ever think about how much God loves you? Have you ever considered you don’t deserve the fullness of His love? Sometimes, I do.
But then, I recall scriptures. Scriptures about how much He loves us. During Holy Week, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday, we experience how powerful God’s love is. And we wonder: How could Jesus withstand being beaten, receiving lashes, being spit upon, and then nailed to a cross? A cross He was forced to carry part of the way until His human body gave out.
Then, we read in Luke 23:34: “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’” Forgive them? What? How could He forgive the ones who had done this? Forgive those in the crowd who had waved palm branches when He entered Jerusalem the previous Sunday. That’s love.
How Much Does He Love Us?
God didn’t make a snap decision to sacrifice His Son for our sins. It wasn’t a last-minute, “My people need a Redeemer” decision. No, from the beginning of time, God knew we would need a Savior. Even then, God showed His love.
John is one of my favorite gospels because it reveals part of God’s plan for His sinful people. John 1:1-5 reads: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (NIV).
Even before creation, God loved us that much. He knew all about us. Knowing our sins would require a sacrifice—a sacrifice so unbelievable He hoped we could grasp how much He loves us. Ephesians 3:18 says, may we have the “power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ (NIV).
How Deep is His Love?
Scripture tells us that God knit us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). He wanted us. Loved us enough to create us. It’s not about our love for Him, but His love for us. We aren’t worthy, but He is.
While we have nothing to give Him but our love and praise, we can gaze at the cross and understand how much He loves us. Look at His outstretched arms on the old rugged cross. Gaze on His countenance and you’ll see His amazing grace and unconditional love.
“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).
After a 30-year teaching career, Carol Round found redirection as a Christian columnist, author and inspirational speaker. She is the author of nine books, all available at Amazon.com. See her website at www.carolaround.com for more information.