“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9
“God is love” was the great truth Jesus came to make known. Hence God’s love is clearly a revelation to man, rather than a discovery by man. Divine love was the last perfection of Deity to baffle the research of human wisdom. Other attributes might be dimly traced in creation.
Some faint glimmerings of God’s wisdom, power, and goodness might be seen in the “things which are made;” but how God could love sinners, could redeem and save sinners, was a question to which nature’s oracle returned no response. In the exercise of the vast powers with which his Creator has endowed him, man may discover everything, but this. He sweeps the firmament above him with his telescope, and a new constellation of surpassing glory arises before his view. He delves into the earth beneath him, and an ancient and long-lost city is untombed. He works a problem, and science develops some new and startling wonder.
But there is one discovery he cannot make–one wonder surpassing all wonders, the most marvelous and stupendous, he cannot unravel. Nature, aiding him in all other researches, affords him no clue to this. The sunbeam paints it not upon the brilliant cloud; the glacier reflects it not from its dazzling brow; the valley’s stream murmurs it not in its gentle music; it thunders not in the roar of ocean’s billow; it sighs not in the evening’s zephyr; it exhales not the opening flower; all nature is profoundly silent upon a theme so divine and strange, so vast and tender, as God’s redeeming love to man.
But the Son, leaving the bosom of the Father, in which from eternity He had reposed, and which in the “fullness of time” He relinquished, has descended to our world to correct our apprehensions and to dislodge our doubts, to calm our fears, and to reassure our hopes with the certainty of the wondrous fact, that God is still mindful of man, and takes delight in man; that no revolt or alienation, no enmity or ingratitude, has turned away His heart from man; that He loves him still, and that loving, He “so loved him that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Thus did He come, His Father’s representative, to declare Him to man. And as He wrought His brilliant miracles of stupendous power–thus attesting the fact of His Godhead; and as He pronounced His discourses of infinite wisdom–thus unlocking the treasures of His grace; and as He traveled all laden with our sins to the cross–thus unsealing the fountain of His compassion, He could say to all who challenged the Divinity of His mission, or who asked at His hands a vision of the Father, “He that has seen me has seen the Father,”–”I and my Father are one.”
Behold the mission of the Savior to our world! He has come to uplift the veil, and reveal the heart of God–that heart all throbbing with a love as infinite as His nature, as deathless as His being. He came not to inspire, but to reveal, the love of God. The atonement did not originate, it expounded the Father’s love–the love was already there. Sin had but clouded its existence; rebellion had but arrested its flow. Struggling and panting for a full, unrestrained expression, it could find no adequate outlet, no appropriate channel in its course to man, save in the surrender and sacrifice of its most costly and precious treasure.
The Son of the Father must bleed and die, before the love of the Father could embrace its object. And now, O child of God, the veil is withdrawn, the thick cloud is blotted out, and your God stands before you all arrayed in ineffable love, His heart your divine pavilion, His bosom your sacred home. “The only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”