"We love because he first loved us"
It is Christ's obedience, unto death, which has justified us, through whom alone we have been declared righteous before God. We have died with him to our old self, the old me in my sin under guilt has been already judged, the person I was before I knew Christ. So the guilt for our sin was put on Christ our human representative, and it was judged on Jesus on the cross.
This is how he loved us that he gave his whole life for us, obeyed in our place, died in our place, and has risen from the dead in our place, and he has united us with him in all these aspects, through faith in him. This is how God sees us, always!
But since we have been raised to life from our death in sin with Christ, we have the Spirit of Christ, and he shows us the love of Jesus for us every day, so we may love him back, and love each other and others.
Loving others, which is the righteous thing to do, is the fruit of being justified - declared perfectly righteous like God himself, with the perfect righteousness of Jesus. Loving others is the true and visible mark that we belong to God, and he is our Father.
We will never love perfectly here on earth, and since God accepts and expects only perfection, our love and obedience for God could never measure up to his holy standard and justify us through it. That is why God's Son became a man to represent us sinful humans before God, and has fulfilled God's righteous law perfectly for us. Jesus perfectly obeyed God in our place in his life. Jesus died in our place the death we deserved for our sins. And Jesus has risen from the dead because God has accepted his life and death as perfect and worthy of God's acceptance. So now God can declare perfectly righteous those who have put their sole trust in Jesus, because of "the finished work of Christ".
But God joyfully accepts the love and obedience of his kids for him and others, not as our justification or righteousness that we are worthy of him, but as a good Father accepts his kids' love and obedience, because it's genuine and real from the heart, though imperfect. When we love God, and others we are starting to gradually resemble our heavenly Father; we are growing up as kids. So, those who truly see his amazing and unchanging love for them cannot help but love him back, and others as well, though imperfectly. We are fickle and change often, but he never changes his mind and love for us his children, because he is God, and we are still human, though redeemed.
So, in all our loving let's focus on "first love', him loving you first. For that is how you will be able to love God, and others, with a love that resembles more and more his own.
Matthew 5:48; Matthew 5:17, 20; Matthew 3:13-15; Mark 1:1; John 6:28-29; John 17:4; John 19:30; Luke 23:44; Acts 4:12; Romans 1:5; Romans 1:16-17; Romans 3:9-20; Romans 3:21-24; Romans 4:23-24; Romans 4:25; Romans 5:6-8; Romans 5:17; Romans 6:5-7; Romans 6:17-18; Romans 7:4-6; Romans 7:21; Romans 8:3-4; Romans 8:14-16; Romans 9:30-33; Romans 10:3-4; Romans 10:6-10; Romans 10:17; Romans 11:5-6; 1 John 4:19-21; Romans 11:33-36.
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