"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
It is easy to say, "I love you." But how can you be sure if someone really does love you?
Let's learn from the original Lover, the best Lover, the source of all love - God.
God teaches us that love must be proved by a sacrificial demonstration of true commitment. And if love is anything, it is a commitment! One indication of commitment is cost. What are you willing to pay to prove your love? How did God demonstrate His?
First, through creation!
Can you view a stunning sunset and not see divine love?
Can you look at a Spring landscape and miss the message?
Can you hold a newborn and not appreciate what inspired such a miracle?
Can you stargaze into a moonlit sky and not recognize the love behind it?
Creation surely demonstrates a supernatural love. But while it is proof of His creativity it didn't cost Him anything.
Then, through Christ!
If you ever had a long-distance relationship you know it is hard to love that way. Love is better when it is up close and personal.
Through the creation of man, God demonstrated that He desired a personal relationship with him. And before that love was rejected by disobedience, Adam walked and talked with God and experienced the love of God up close and personal. But sin resulted in a long-distance relationship.
So, once again, God demonstrated His desire for a personal relationship by coming in person. Jesus, God's Son, the Word of God, put on flesh and came to dwell among us! He was "Emmanuel" - "God with us"!
Love was demonstrated by a precious gift. Jesus left the splender and security of Heaven and slipped into flesh and blood so He could get personally involved with loving us. During His brief visit to earth He demonstrated daily what the love of God looks like.
Then, Through the Cross!
The ultimate and undeniable proof of God's love was death on the cross. What higher commitment could you demonstrate than dying for one you love? What greater cost can you pay than substituting your life for the one you love?
And that is what Christ's death was! It was a substitutionary death for you! You were sentenced to die in the sin that separated you from a Holy God. But Jesus suffered death for you! Though He was innocent He assumed your guilt. He bore the guilt and the penalty for your sins. He took rejection so you could be accepted into a personal relationship with God!
There can be no doubt that God loves you! And, He loved you first! And He loved you when you were lost and unloveable!
God can do no more than He has done to demonstrate how much He loves you!
So, how can you demonstrate your love for Him?
Receive that love by faith! It is a gift purchased for you and offered to you. Jesus is God's valentine to you, how can you refuse it?