It was not because you are the largest of nations that the Lord set His heart on you and chose you…It was because the Lord loved you and because of His fidelity. (Deuteronomy 7:7-8)
God does not love us because we are great. God does not love us because we are successful. He does not love us because we are clever, or nice, or athletic, or talented, or generous, or hard-working. We can lay no claim to His love; we do not deserve it; we have not earned it.
But if God does not love us because we deserve it, if He does not love us because we are so wonderful, then why does He love us?
We know, of course, that He does love us. All it takes is looking at a crucifix for one moment to remember that He loves us, and how He loves us.
Why? Why did He become man and die on the Cross for us? Why did He allow His heart to be pierced by the soldier’s lance, so that every last drop of His Precious Blood flowed out?
God loves us because God is love (I John 4:16). His love is the origin of all things.
But when we say, ‘God is love,’ let’s think carefully about precisely what we are saying. It is not that we are born knowing what true love is, and then we see Jesus and expertly identify a good example of true love. It is not like we are the teacher, and He is the student, and we give Him the grade of A+ for loving us.
No—it’s the other way around. We have no idea what true love is until we fix our eyes on Jesus Christ. We can say that God is love because God has taught us what love is.
And He does more than teach us. He also gives us the grace and strength to love like Him, to return love for love. He has loved us first. Let’s love Him back with all we have.