“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”–1 John 3:16
It is true, John says, that genuine love, perfect love is seen in the death of Jesus Christ for us. From this, however, we are meant to learn that genuine love is a sacrificial love.
You see, John explains, not only did the Father give His Son for us, but the Son gave Himself for us! He laid down his life for us. This was not cosmic or divine child abuse, as some have suggested. The cross of Christ is the ultimate display of the perfect and united love of both the Father and the Son.
Such love, though, is meant, not only to save us from hell in the future, but also to deliver us from selfishness and vanity right now. As we look at Jesus on the cross, His sacrificial love for us should lead us to lay down our lives for each other. In fact, John says, the cross makes us indebted (“we ought”) to love each other.
How has Jesus’ love affected you? Does it lead you to more self-absorption or to sacrificial service? Christ’s love for us includes His love for others, and so our love for Him must include a love for others, as well. (Baptist Bible Hour)