Four times in the New Testament the expression “This is a faithful saying" is utilized as an introduction to underscore the trustworthy nature of the ensuing statement. The first time we encounter this is in regard to Christ’s singular purpose in coming to earth. Timothy 1:15 tells us: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief”. (Note: Paul was identifying himself with the phrase “of whom I am chief”, but I have no doubt that any and all of us would certainly admit we also fit the bill!). This would seem to be the most important truth that has ever reached the human ear or been entrusted by the human heart of man; that Jesus Christ, son of God, became incarnate, lived a sinless life, suffered, died, was buried, but rose again, and by His grace saves mankind from their sins.
This is the great picture, the wondrous manifestation, of God’s love in composite form. In the fourth chapter of his first letter, John emphatically declares “God is love”, not just once, but twice! For centuries, theologians have wrestled with precisely how this attribute of the divine nature is revealed in our mortal realm. Unfortunately, we often develop misperceptions regarding God’s love, tending to distort it according to our human situation. We often equate our individual well-being, whether it is wealth or a good doctor’s report, as an indication of God’s love. But the true, objective demonstration of God’s love was exhibited through Jesus Christ’s willingness to descend from the throne of deity to the depths of this world’s depravity, from heavens adoration to earth’s abomination, from heavens glory to earth’s gory. God’s love was abundantly revealed not through mere words, but through deliberate and selfless action. As one songwriter put it:
What condescension, bringing us salvation
That in the dead of night
Not one faint hope in sight
God, glorious and tender, laid aside His splendor
Stooping to woe, to win, my soul.
“God is love”, three words packed with theological ramifications. But the economy of God’s love can be distilled down to this basic formula: We are all sinners. We need a savior. Jesus Christ embodied God’s love in action, and became that Savior. It’s that simple.
See ya Sunday!