1 John 4:9-10
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world…
"In this," it was shown, manifestly and undeniably, beyond the reach of misapprehension or comparison. It had been shown before, but how feebly, how doubtfully, compared with that strength of evidence, that display of power which attends its existence now. During that whole period which preceded the coming of our Lord, sin was thus spread over the whole of human kind; and like the fog that hangs on the surface of the earth, it intercepted those bright rays which issue externally from the great source of light in heaven. And this seems to have been the case with man previously to the dispensation of grace in the gospel. He felt the love of God in part. The love of God may be beheld in every object that we see, but they alone see this glorious attribute in its true colour, in its full development, who fix their eyes on the person of Jesus Christ, and who study the real greatness of the love of God as revealed in Him.
I. We say IT IS SHOWN IN THE NATURE OF THAT WORK WHICH HE CAME TO DO. Let us consider that work, its character, its object, in order to understand the greatness of the love which prompted it. To silence every cavil, to give an evidence of the love of God which imagination should not reach, to place it above the level of every doubt or insinuation, Christ came, not to cure our natural evils, not to teach, not to direct, though any one of these acts might well have awakened amazement; but He came to die for sinners.
II. Let us now endeavour to remark THE EVIDENCE OF THE LOVE OF GOD, WHICH IS INCLUDED IN THE MANNER IN WHICH THAT WORK WAS ACCOMPLISHED, AND THE EFFECT PRODUCED BY HIS MINISTRY.
1. Let us observe first, in the certainty of its accomplishment. Eternal life is purchased for us by Jesus Christ, and it is offered to all in Him, absolutely and universally. "This is the record," says St. John, "that God hath given to us eternal life; and this life is in His Son." He hath given it. He who is the truth itself hath given it, and hath given it in His Son. "He, therefore, that hath the Son hath life." He that hath the one is secure, absolutely secure of the other. Unlike other marks of love, where there is no positive connection between the pledge and the possession, between the means and the end; unlike the gift of riches, for instance, which does not ensure contentment; unlike the gift of health, which does not ensure joy; unlike these, the gift of Christ ensures eternal life.
2. Again, let us observe it in the largeness of its offers, in the multitude, the innumerable multitude of those who are included in the compass of this love of God. Who has ever come to Christ, and been excluded for want of room?
3. Think, finally, how much it exceeds in magnitude all that was ever before expected. Eternal life, a life of everlasting joy, of uninterrupted holiness and peace. Compared with this, what are the distinctions and circumstances of the world but the colours which adorn a shadow; the illusions of a dream which passes away and is gone?
(H. Raikes, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.