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1 John 4:10: Not That We Have Loved God

1 John 4:10
[10] In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (ESV)

Some people think that it is a miracle that they love God. While there is truth to the concept that a miraculous event took place in their coming to faith in Christ, the real miracle is not that they love God, but that God should love them! John makes it clear in this verse that the true miracle of love is found in God's love for us, not in our love for him.

Part of our problem with fully realizing God's amazing love is the fact that we have an inaccurate view of our own sin.  If we grasp just how sinful we are we will be astonished that God could ever love us. Do you remember the response of the Prophet Isaiah when he found himself in God's presence?

Isaiah 6:5
[5] And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (ESV)

Our sin separates us from a holy God. We are so vile, so rebellious, so sinful, that just God's presence shocks us to the core and reveals just how wretched we truly are.  That is why the last part of our verse today is so important. God loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. What is propitiation? The short answer is "payment." Dr. John MacArthur defines it this way:

"The word means “appeasement” or “satisfaction.” The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross satisfied the demands of God’s holiness for the punishment of sin (cf. Rom. 1:18; 2 Cor. 5:21; Eph. 2:3). So Jesus propitiated or satisfied God."
- Dr. John MacArthur

The miracle of God's love sets us free from terror of God's wrath. Celebrate the love of God in your life today. Allow his presence and his propitiation give you a balanced perspective of who you are in Him.