Read verses 9-11
Q: What does “manifested” mean?
A: It describes something that has literally become “clear or obvious” by its having come out into the open. It is the opposite of “to hide” or “to make secret”.
Q: So how did God bring His love out into the open for all to clearly and obviously see it?
A: “He…sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins”. (v.10) It is not merely that He sent His Son to earth, but that His Son was sent to the cross for us.
You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.
— 1 John 3:5
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
— Romans 5:8
Q: Was it people’s love for God which prompted Him to send His “only begotten Son into the world”?
A: No, it was God’s love for us!
Observation: Babies are not sent into the world from some other place but rather born into the world. As the perfect man and “Second Adam”, Jesus was born into the world, but as the eternal and unique Son of God He was sent into the world, elegant proof of His deity.
Q: What are the two purposes herein given for Christ’s death on the cross?
- “…so that we might live through Him”. (v.9)
- “…to be the propitiation for our sins”. (v.10)
Q: What is the paradox where life and death are concerned?
A: Christ died that we might have life.
Observation: Our new life in Christ is so complete that the New Testament tells us that through the cross we live “through” Christ, “for” Christ, and “with” Christ.
By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
— 1 John 4:9
and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
— 2 Corinthians 5:15
For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
Q: What does “propitiation” mean?
A: It is something God does to make it possible for men to be forgiven.
Point: Since God is holy and righteous He must uphold His holy Law, but because He is also “love” he wants to forgive and save sinners. The sacrifice He made at the cross is something we could never accomplish on our own which God did on our behalf to meet the just demands of the holy Law.
Q: Why is it important to note in these verses that the emphasis is not on Christ’s birth but on His death?
A: The “propitiation” was not accomplished by merely sending His Son to earth, but to the cross.
Q: What is therefore supposed to be our ultimate application of what we are supposed to do with the work on the cross on our behalf?
A: Because it is the ultimate expression of God’s love for us, we are in turn to produce the ultimate expression we are capable of to “love one another”. (v.11)
Q: How does this define the kind of love we are to practice?
A: We do not love because we are first love by others but initiate love toward others first.
Q: How might this be a teaching about how we approach and practice the Lord’s Supper?
A: If we are truly remembering His death and this ultimate work of love, it should compel us to put love into practice in the life we were given through it. The deeper our understanding of the cross, the greater our love for others.
Q: Is the assertion that “God is love” simply a doctrine of Scripture?
A: It actually an eternal and historical fact demonstrated at Calvary which provided visible proof of this truth of God’s Word. It is both real, tangible and provable.
Application: The proof that someone has truly been transformed by the cross is proven by a new life which increasingly loves more and more in the character and truth of the love Christ expressed on that cross.