We can see that God loved us first by creating, preserving, and sacrificing Himself for us. How shall we respond?
God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)
What a wonderful gift it is to be on the receiving end of love.
We talk about the joys of being in love. The blessing of being in loving relationships, and giving love to others. But there is something almost overwhelming about being given love and appreciation that is unasked for and unearned.
When someone takes the time to take an unexpected, caring interest in my personal well-being or identity, it means the world to me. Just as I’m sure it does to anyone reading these words.
People that are given love will in turn become more loving people.
So it should make sense that if God, the Creator and Sustainer of our universe, shows love to us, it will result in empowering us to love others, including Him.
And God did show love to us. He showed the ultimate love to us. God loved us first, enabling us to become His loving people.
God Loved Us First in Creating Us
The first chapters of the book of Genesis give us but a glimpse of the care and detail that went into God creating everything. We see 5 times where Genesis 1 says God saw that His creation was good.
When gather in the totality of God’s creation, we can certainly agree how wonderfully imaginative and complex it is.
But then God took it a step further. He culminated His work by creating a being that was in God’s image (Genesis 1:26), which is us. We were His “final act”, before declaring everything He had created “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
God loved us first by giving us life itself. By creating us in His image, God created beings who could understand His existence, communicate with and worship Him. And yet, God did not force us to love Him. God left that choice up to us. And on that front, we failed Him.
When humankind chose its own way over God’s way, the consequences were incalculable, bringing sin and death into this universe. Fortunately for us, God wasn’t ready to give up on us just yet.
God Loved Us First in Preserving Us
There are many ways that God has preserved us throughout history.
Starting in the garden, right after the first sin, God ensured that Adam and Eve would not eat from the tree of life and be forever sustained in a sinful state (Genesis 3:22-24).
God preserved the human race through the universal flood, guiding Noah to build an ark for him, his wife, 3 sons, and daughters-in-law (Genesis 6:17-18).
Further, God delivered the Israelites from genocide at the hands of the Egyptians, preserving His covenant with Abraham and the lineage of Christ (Exodus 3:7-10). God continued to preserve the Israelites even when they turned from the Lord, which happened countless times in the Bible.
It’s one thing to say God loved us first. It’s another to say that He gave the human race and His people chance after chance after chance. And yet, that’s how strong God’s love for us is. He will continue to be patient with us because He wants everyone to have every opportunity to turn to Him (2 Peter 3:9).
God is so patient with us, He will even leave the door open for us to repent and turn to Him again even if we have fallen away.
God Loved Us First in Dying for us
Of course, the ultimate proof that God loved us first is that Christ died for us while we were still in our sinful state (Romans 5:8).
God knew that there was no way we could ever be good enough or right enough to overcome the state of sin that we were born in because of the original curse. Therefore, He provided the promise of His Son. The promise of future deliverance was prophesied almost immediately after the first sin (Genesis 3:15).
The promised one, the Messiah would one day come to earth. Through His unblemished sacrifice He would pay the ransom of sin and death for all those who would put their trust in Him. Christ offered Himself so that we may enjoy the hope of living eternally with God.
Our Response to God’s Love
We said earlier how wonderful it is to receive love. Jesus gives us unearned, unmerited, undeserved love that only He can give us.
Because God loved us first, we can be empowered to live transformed lives, walking in His love and giving love back to Him and to the world.
But are we living like we are loved people? Do we live and breathe day to day, moment to moment in the realization of how much God, in all His grandeur and glory, loves us enough to go through so much effort throughout history? And then ultimately putting on the lowly rags of human flesh and putting that perfectly innocent life to death?
God loved us first, and He loves us best. Even though He is sufficient in Himself, God wants us to return His love. God wants Heaven to be bursting at the seams with people who said yes to Him.
So how do we do that? Once we have repented and submitted our lives to Christ, we need to abide with Him. We need to do devote ourselves to abiding with Christ in prayer, in reading His word, and in fellowship with other believers.
As we grow closer to God, our hearts will become more attuned to His great love for us. Then we will begin to respond to His love. The fruits of the spirit will start to become alive in us and then we will bear fruit in Christ’s name.
What happens when we see the power of Christ evident in our lives? Our love for Him and for others will be bursting at the seams. Because God loved us first, we can spread His love into the world.
More Bible verses that show God loved us first:
Psalm 8:4-8; John 15:16; 1 Corinthians 15:10-11; Ephesians 1:3-8; Philippians 2:12-13; James 1:16-18; Revelation 3:20