God doesn’t love us because Christ died for us; Christ died for us because God loved us. The atonement of Christ was not offered to persuade the Father to love those whom He otherwise hated. The death of Christ did not bring forth a love that was not already in existence. Rather, it was a manifestation of the love that was eternally in God’s heart. Jesus never had to persuade the Father to love us.
The death that God endured on the cross is the price His love pays for taking sin seriously while still loving sinners.
When Adam and Eve sinned, God announced to them the Plan of Redemption that originated in Heaven long before God created them. (Genesis 3:15). The Old Testament prophets repeatedly declared that Good News — the Gospel — to their audience. While sin is an intruder, God is the Redeemer!
Jesus’ message very much focused on the message that He “came to seek and save that which was lost — restoring in man the character of God. Redemption is much more than saving men and women from their sins. It is complete restoration of the condition and context that existed in the Garden of Eden. That is the background to this week’s Scriptural Pursuit.
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Lesson 3 for January 14-20