Valentine’s Day is a time when we share gifts, cards, and roses with those we love and hold dear to our hearts. As Valentine’s Day approaches let us not forget the holy-love of our God, who when He gave us Christ gave us His heart. As John 3:16 so clearly declares our Lord’s love is like no other.
When we think of the awesome love of God, we must not separate His eternal love from His eternal holiness. The Bible teaches that God is holy, a concept we have lost today. God as holy does what is right and never does what is wrong. God as holy is uncompromising with sin. God as holy always acts in a righteous manner. Holiness has to do with God’s perfect nature, His moral purity and perfection. Holiness is love morally perfect.
Because God is holy sin must be opposed and judged; therefore, man is in a predicament since he is a sinner by nature and choice. What is man to do since he cannot in his own good works and deeds comply with the holy demands of God?
In Jesus Christ that which God’s holiness demands loving grace has provided. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19). On the cross Christ became the bridge between a holy God and sinful man. While the cross reveals a holy God who opposes and refuses to accept sin, it is where Jesus dealt with sin so man could know the peace of forgiveness. Now that is love, a love like no other!
In the perfect life of Christ and at the cross we find God personally acting in holy-love to provide for man what he cannot provide for himself. Christ is our bridge to a restored relationship with the Father. Sinful man is guilty before a holy God, needing not aid but deliverance; needing not reform but redemption. God’s holiness makes two demands: answering holiness in obedient love and judgment upon sins defiance to holiness. On the cross Jesus met both demands. Christ, as our Substitute, presented loving and holy obedience to the Father, and then in love willingly yielded to the suffering of judgment upon sin. Christ was no martyr on the cross, but He willingly went to the cross in loving obedience to the Father. His sacrifice must always be linked to His holy-love for you and me.
Christ, as the God-man, lived the life we could never live and then took our deserved punishment upon sin and in so doing acted in loving grace to offer forgiveness to humanity. Only a sinless Christ could pay for our sins, for only He could see the true nature of our sin and be our Redeemer. The Sinless One was judged but it was not His own judgment He bore, but ours. Christ did for us what we could not do for ourselves. Christ, in His living satisfied the holy demands of God and in his death willingly suffered the judgment for our sin. Christ assumed our judgment; He became our Substitute.
Now that is grace; loving, amazing grace! The marvel of the Christ of the cross is not that He won grace, but the grace of God was revealed. On the cross Jesus did not purchase grace; the offering of Himself was an act of grace. The cross is the result of God’s loving grace for you and me. Our God was not only the Giver of the Offering, but in Christ He was the Offering. God in Christ dealt with the world’s sin on the cross. What love!
At the cross Christ, who offered Himself to God, was also eternally offered by God. Our redeemer was both the Giver and God’s Gift. P.T. Forsyth succinctly states, “Only He who had lost us could find us, only He who was wronged could forgive; only the Holy one could satisfy His own holiness…Only the Creator knew the creature so as to redeem. And to know mankind He must live in mankind.” John, the apostle of love, writes, “The Word [God] became flesh [in Jesus] and dwelt among us“(John 1:14). Christ became one with humanity in His identification with us, taking the curse of our sin upon Himself (2 Peter 2:23-24).
When one’s eyes are opened to what happened on Calvary, what happened on the cross, the words, love, grace, forgiveness, mercy and redemption take on new meaning. For those beautiful words have little meaning until we understand that our sinful nature and actions are an affront to a holy God who must judge that which is unholy. But the grace found in divine love is that God in Jesus Christ met both the demands of holiness in the face of sin and on the cross assumed our just judgment upon sin. Jesus didn’t just preach Good News, He is the Good News. He didn’t just speak of sacrifice, He was our Sacrifice. He was not a victim but the Victor, and by faith in Him we share in His victory. What grace, what love! It is a love like no other.
This Valentine’s Day the greatest love gift we have been given is the Gift of a redeeming Savior!