We don’t do good and love others to get God to love us. We do good and love others because God loves us.
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19
It is in our nature to respond.
If I burn my hand on the stove, I respond by yanking my hand
away from the heat, shaking it, and saying, “ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch” and then quickly get my hand under some cold running water in the sink.
If someone gives me a gift, I respond with, “thank you!” or I write a thank-you note. Although, I must be honest, I sometimes forget to do this in a timely manner.
If my wife says to me, “I love you” I respond with, “I love you, too!”
That is how our lives as Christians work, as well.
We talk about doing good, good works, and loving our neighbor. Jesus taught that this is how our lives as his followers are to be lived.
But somewhere along the way, someone got the idea that this is how we get God to love us and to save us – by doing good works.
After all, if I do something good to someone, they will be appreciative, happy, and most likely will like me for it.
But that isn’t the way it works with God.
God is so different from us that we cannot do anything to earn God’s love for us.
Yet, God still loves us. He chooses to love us first.
And when God loves us, we respond to his love by doing good and loving others.
A long time ago, this is how a group of German Christians put it in words:
“Our love for God, even though it is small, cannot possibly be separated from faith. For we come to the Father through Christ. When forgiveness of sins has been received, then we are truly certain that we have a God, that is, that God cares for us. We call upon Him, we give Him thanks, we fear Him, we love Him as 1 John 4:19 teaches, ‘we love because He first loved us.’ In other words, we love Him because He gave His Son for us and forgave us our sins” (Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article V: Love and Fulfilling the Law, Book of Concord, © 2005, 2006, Concordia Publishing House, p 105).
Our salvation – God’s love for us in Christ – is a free gift.
Our response to God’s love is to love others and to share this Good News with others.
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me. I want to respond to your love by doing good and loving others. Forgive me when I fail and help me to do better. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
©2017 True Men Ministries