Read John 3:16 and 1 John 3:16 together, and you immediately see how the first Scripture flows naturally right into the next. “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). This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16, NIV).
God loved us so
much that He gave His only Son for our good. Jesus suffered, died, and
sacrificed all of himself because of such a great and amazing love. This
is how we know what love is. He showed us. Jesus died for everyone‒not
just a few. This sacrificial love is for everyone so they might know the
grace‒the mercy‒the forgiveness of Jesus. His love is given and
revealed through me. I must also give my life for others. Their life's
need should be greater than my own. I choose to love with His love,
because He loved me so much with His. “We love, because He first loved
us” (1 John 4:19, NASB) becomes my life's story.
is agape–sacrificial and unconditional. It does not come from what
another person is or what they do. It has its origin in God and not in
me. Agape love in my life knows who and what God is, and realizes its
cost. Because of its deliberate desire for the highest good of the one
who is loved, it is shown in personal sacrifice for that person. That is
what God did for us (John 3:16). That is what he wants us to do for
others(1 John 3:16). “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5. NIV).
His love was offered without any condition, and we should give it
freely and without hesitation.
The Apostle Paul writes of
agape love as the most important Christian virtue. “But now faith, hope,
love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1
Corinthians 13:13, NASB). When we love sacrificially and unconditionally
with the love of God–no matter who someone might be or in spite of what
they have done–we offer God's grace and forgiveness, so that they might
also come to know the love of Jesus Christ.