God Loved Us
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
1 John 3:1
You might wonder what love has to do with forgiveness, if so don’t feel bad, it’s a common question. What you will discover as this study moves forward however is that love has everything to do with forgiveness, and forgiveness has everything to do with love. The truth is that we really can’t separate one from the other.
In the Bible, the story of forgiveness and the story of love go hand-in-hand. Why did God send Jesus to die for forgiveness of sins? Because He so loved the world! (John 3:16) Think about your own life, don’t you find it easier to forgive your loved ones than you do a complete stranger… or someone you really don’t like very much? I think you would agree that this is the case. Yes, maybe love has quite a lot to do with forgiveness after all.
In the verse above, John is telling us that God has so much love for all of us that He considers us His own children; that’s a lot of love. Look at the next sentence. It isn’t just that God “considers” us to be like His own children, in Christ we really are His own children because we have been born again of His Spirit; yes, His love for us is very great indeed.
Having been reborn of God, those of this world can’t always figure us out. Some might think we are just crazy people always talking about loving others, following Jesus and forgiving people who have hurt us, and by the standards of this world we probably really are crazy. But for us, having been reborn into God’s household, these kinds of things become second nature as we grow in our faith.
The whole reason for this study of forgiveness is to foster growth in each of us. It is a journey of sorts, more than just the accumulation of knowledge. It is a journey of discovery and understanding, a journey of insight, faith and freedom. When we reach the end of this journey, we might even discover that forgiveness is not merely a teaching, a doctrine or a moral value, for it is a release of things that bind us, hold us back and weigh us down. In fact, I think we will discover that forgiving others will release us from bondage to our pasts that has held us back far more than we ever suspected.
God loved us first
From the very beginning, God loved Mankind. He created a beautiful environment for us, He breathed His own life into us and He gave us dominion over the earth. Yet as we know, something happened; Adam and Eve rebelled against God and from that point forward they were at odds with Him. In the fullness of time, God sent His Son Jesus to repair that relationship that had been so badly damaged by rebellion in the Garden. God’s love was so great; He was willing for His only Son to die for the redemption of humanity.
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
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. John 13:1
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13
With this sampling of verses it becomes clear that God loved us first, before humanity had any cause to love God.