The Hardest Saying of Scriptures
John 3:16 (ESV) says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
I once listened to a message by elder Tom Patton, of Grace Community Church in California, where he claimed the phrase “God so loved the world” as the hardest saying of the Bible. How can this be true? God loves us, I mean, why wouldn’t He? How can God’s love be such a hard saying? Love is love; there is nothing hard about it, right? As we dig into Scripture, we begin to see the difficulty surrounding this love.
Looking at John 3:16, Patton stated, “This is the hardest thought of the Bible. This is the hardest proof of love ever conceived. The hardest extreme of all time. God’s intensely found love is proven in the fact that He gave His Son to the World to be slain. He gave His only Son to be murdered and rejected and despised and forsaken, because that was to be the razor-sharp proof that God so very much loved the World.”
If this is love, why does this ‘razor-sharp proof’ seem so jagged and twisted? How does a love like this make sense? For a human being, this notion will never be fully grasped. Although we can’t fathom it, we are commanded to actively try and imitate it. 1 John 4:9-11 (ESV) tells us, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
The love God desires for us is called Agape love. What is agape love, you may ask? Billy Graham said, “Agape love is selfless love…the love God wants us to have isn’t just an emotion but a conscious act of the will – a deliberate decision on our part to put others ahead of ourselves. This is the kind of love God has for us.” There are many lessons to be learned, digging deep into God’s love. We can fervently study, but never fully grasp its magnitude. We can make comparisons to different forms of love that we have seen, but when it comes to God’s love, we are never able to squarely hit the nail on the head.
God’s ‘proof of love’ required a sacrifice; the sacrifice of His Son. We do not love like that: So selflessly. We never have, and we never will. We may sacrifice small things in our lives, but only God gave the ultimate sacrifice. What have you sacrificed as proof of your love? Are you willing to live out God’s Agape Love?