Summary: Two character traits of God that should be prevalent in our lives.
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Men, have you ever looked in the mirror and saw your father looking back at you. Ladies, have you ever done or said something then paused and said to yourself, “Oh no, I am turning into my mother!”
The reason for this is because we emulate those who are influential in our lives. We take on traits of those who we want to be like, especially those who have had a lasting impact on our lives.
This Christmas season, we as Christians recognize that Christmas is not about Santa Claus or elves, presents and ornaments. Rather it is about the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
With that thought in mind, I want us to look at two very distinctive characteristics of God that we should have in our lives, not just at Christmas, but everyday of our lives.
Let’s look at a very familiar passage of scripture, known by most Christians and non-Christians alike. One that has found itself plastered in the stands of most major sporting events. One that in just 19 words surmises God’s heart for the redemption of man. In short, this verse is the gospel. In our complimentary Bibles, this verse can be found on page 738. This verse is John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that He gave” and I want to stop right there for now.
In the opening passages of this text we find two profound characteristics of God that we should have in our lives. Since we are His children, we should emulate these traits just like most of us emulate the traits of our earthly parents.
1. The first trait found here is that God is a loving God.
“For God so loved”
We could talk about this for weeks on end because the Bible teaches us that God is love. Many evangelist have painted God as a divine ogre that would love nothing more than to fry you to a crispy critter. Now, don’t get me wrong, God will punish the unjust. Even in our verse here this morning we see where there is a punishment by the use of the word “perish”. But God is love.
John in his first epistle says that God manifest His love by giving us His Son to be the only suitable sacrifice for the sins of humanity. Look at John 3:16 again. It says, “God so loved the world”. The word for “world” here in the Greek is Kosmos. Kosmos means “the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated”. So in essence, God loved the world that included both those who loved Him, but also those who despised Him. Now, let’s think about this a minute. I have heard it said time and time again, “if God knew that man was going to sin, why did he create them anyway?” That’s a good question. But I have a theory. I believe that God created man, despite the foreknowledge that they would fall into sin, because He wanted to display His character of love. If man wouldn’t have sinned, then a divine sacrifice wouldn’t have been necessary. Would you truly know that God loved you if He hadn’t manifested His love by giving His only Son for us? Probably not. But Paul says, “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners”. God demonstrated His love by giving His all while I was at my worst.
If we are God’s children, then we should love others. Jesus even said that our love for one another would be a testimony to the world that we are His disciples (John 13:35). And note one thing, this kind of love is one that produces something. The Apostle John encourages us to not just “love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” Talk is cheap. But this kind of agapeo love described here in this text is not an emotion, but an action. God demonstrates His love by giving.
2. The second trait is that God is a giving God.
“For God so loved the world that He gave”
This giving is a result of God’s divine love. The word for gave here in the Greek is “didomi” which can be translated, “to give one’s self; to reach out; to pay wages or reward”. God gave of Himself, His Son to pay the wages of sin for me that I can reap the reward of eternal life.