“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).
God’s desire is to find people who will freely love Him with everything they are and have. Jesus said, “The first of all the
commandments is…, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all
your strength’ ” (Mark 12:29-30).
In creation, God could have made a world filled with robots pre-programmed to obey and love Him, but if God had done that, those robots would have
never truly loved Him. Would you feel loved by a computer which was programmed to say nice things to you, even though it has no heart or choice?
God gave mankind the greatest gift of all, free will. Being free and naturally independent – able to think, choose and believe what we like – means
we are also able to rebel against God’s will and reject Him.
God’s will for Adam and Eve was for them to love and obey freely; instead they rebelled and sinned. Thus, mankind was stricken from God and cast
out of paradise (Genesis 3:22-24). By choosing to align themselves against the will of God they cut themselves off from His life source and all
joy. At this stage, God could have destroyed earth and started again, but if God was to find people who would love Him freely, they would also
need their liberty of heart. Therefore, God’s answer to this enigma was manifest in the sacrifice of Christ. Christ came to earth in love, to
lay down His life, which produced a response from us which God desired.
John explains how Christ’s sacrifice solved the conundrum of how to get free people to love God with all their heart. People at liberty cannot be
forced to love, but sacrificial love can lead to a response. ‘We love Him because He first loved us’ (1 John 4:19). ‘Behold what manner of love
the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!’ (1 John 3:1). ‘By this we know love, because
He laid down His life for us’ (1 John 3:16). Thus, God created a world in which free people would voluntarily love Him, in
response to His, “Greater love.”
This is an excerpt from the book ‘Jesus Today - Daily Devotional - 100 Days with Jesus Christ
’ by Paul Backholer and is used by permission.