1 John 4:10 – “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
I was greeted with a question on social media this week: What is your favorite Bible verse? It’s certainly a question worthy of consideration isn’t it? Many people would have trouble picking just one, but really what is your favorite Bible verse.
Some might say, “Jesus wept” because its short and easy to memorize. Others would probably tend to say John 3:16 because it is a verse that sums up the Gospel and that we learn even as little children. Others might pick not one verse but an entire passage such as Psalm 23 or Isaiah 6. And then of course there is Philippians 4:13, Jeremiah 29:11, and John 15:12 all of which people like to claim as there “life verse”.
The most quoted Bible verse in today’s society is Matthew 7:1, “judge not lest you be judged.” People love to quote that one when they say don’t judge me in my sin. What right do you have to tell me what is right or what is wrong. That however was certainly not what Jesus was teaching here, He wasn’t teaching that we shouldn’t see sin as what it is…..sin. He was saying don’t look down on other people because of their sins, because we are all sinners. And yet, sin is still sin and we desperately need to have our sins forgiven. In fact if we our sins aren’t forgiven we are under condemnation from God. Jesus shows that in Matthew 7 as well, when he says a little later on, “for the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:14).
What is easy? Continuing in sin and living life the way you want to live it. What is hard? Following Jesus, the one who offers forgiveness from our sins. And yet He goes on to say that the ones who follow Him are like people who build their houses on the rock, they can survive whatever life throws at them (Matthew 7:24-27). So in reality the verse that many people would say is their favorite because they think it excuses their sin doesn’t at all. In fact it when considered with the whole passage it points our the damaging effects of sin both in the here and now and in the life to come. After looking at this passage maybe it’s becoming one of my favorites.
My favorite ties in with this passage very well, 1 John 4:10, “In this is love not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Why is that my favorite? Because as we’ve already seen, sin is very damaging, in this life (building house on sand) and in the next (“for the gate is wide that leads to destruction and those who enter are many” Matthew 7:13). It is damaging because our sin puts us under the wrath of God. That doesn’t sound like a good place to be, does it? In fact it’s the worst place we could ever be.
But 1 John 4:10 tells me that because God loves me He sent Jesus to be the propitiation for my sins. What does that word mean? I bet you’ve never used it. It means Jesus took God’s wrath in my place. It’s one of the most important words in all of Scripture, we should know it and we should use it, but we should do so with awe, with love, and with reverence because it means Jesus took my place. We should have been on the cross and we should have had to take God’s wrath because of our sins, but Jesus willing did it for us. He is th propitiation. The Bible is filled up with many good verses, in fact all of them are good because it is the word of God, but to me my favorite is 1 John 4:10 that tells me that I don’t have to face the eternal consequences of my sins because Jesus took them for me. I am forgiven and that is the best news in this world and in the next.