For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:11,12).
That’s the forgiveness God offers. And think of it! It became yours the moment you believed in Jesus Christ as your Savior and as an act of your will received Him by faith into your life as your Lord and Master.
The Greatest Commandment and Our Response to it
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. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:9-12
What an amazing story this is on so many levels; that God loved us so much He sent His Son to die for us. I wonder how often any of us slow down enough to just let that sink in. We weren’t deserving, we hadn’t earned His favor; far from it! We were living in open rebellion against God, and yet He loved us that much. That wasn’t the end of the story, not by a long shot.
Through his great love for us, He forgave our sins, setting them aside entirely and entered into an intimate relationship with us. The real question here is how we should respond to his love. For those of us who really grasp the significance of what He has done for us, it is only natural that we would develop a deep love for God, yet even that isn’t the end of the story! We “ought to love one another” is John’s conclusion. Still, there is more at work than we might think at first: when we love one another, God is living in us, and in our love for one another, God’s love is made complete. How is this so? It really isn’t very complicate, for God loves us and in response we love Him back. God also loves our brother and sister, and when we do the same for His sake, His love dwells within each of us and throughout the entire Body of believers, completing to cycle of His great love.
We love God because He first loved us John states this about as clearly as it can be stated in 1 John 4:19: “We love because he first loved us.” Paul puts it slightly differently: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 That our love for God comes from His love for us would seem to be an established fact in Scripture. Therefore, it is the greatest of all the commandments: Love God.