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1 John 4:10

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Not that we loved God - And that he was thereby induced to give his Son to be a propitiation for our sins. No: we were enemies to God, and yet Christ died for our ungodly souls. (See Romans 5:6-11, and the notes there.) So it was God's love, not our merit, that induced him to devise means that his banished might not be expelled from him.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Herein is love - In this great gift is the highest expression of love, as if it had done all that it can do.

Not that we loved God - Not that we were in such a state that we might suppose he would make such a sacrifice for us, but just the opposite. If we had loved and obeyed him, we might have had reason to believe that he would be willing to show his love to us in a corresponding manner. But we were alienated from him. We had even no desire for his friendship and favor. In This state he showed the greatness of his love for us by giving his Son to die for his enemies. See the notes at Romans 5:7-8.

But that he loved us - Not that he approved our character, but that he desired our welfare. Hc loved us not with the love of complacency, but with the love of benevolence.

And sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins - On the meaning of the word “propitiation,” see the notes at Romans 3:25. Compare the notes at 1 John 2:2.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The Spirit of God is the Spirit of love. He that does not love the image of God in his people, has no saving knowledge of God. For it is God's nature to be kind, and to give happiness. The law of God is love; and all would have been perfectly happy, had all obeyed it. The provision of the gospel, for the forgiveness of sin, and the salvation of sinners, consistently with God's glory and justice, shows that God is love. Mystery and darkness rest upon many things yet. God has so shown himself to be love, that we cannot come short of eternal happiness, unless through unbelief and impenitence, although strict justice would condemn us to hopeless misery, because we break our Creator's laws. None of our words or thoughts can do justice to the free, astonishing love of a holy God towards sinners, who could not profit or harm him, whom he might justly crush in a moment, and whose deserving of his vengeance was shown in the method by which they were saved, though he could by his almighty Word have created other worlds, with more perfect beings, if he had seen fit. Search we the whole universe for love in its most glorious displays? It is to be found in the person and the cross of Christ. Does love exist between God and sinners? Here was the origin, not that we loved God, but that he freely loved us. His love could not be designed to be fruitless upon us, and when its proper end and issue are gained and produced, it may be said to be perfected. So faith is perfected by its works. Thus it will appear that God dwells in us by his new-creating Spirit. A loving Christian is a perfect Christian; set him to any good duty, and he is perfect to it, he is expert at it. Love oils the wheels of his affections, and sets him on that which is helpful to his brethren. A man that goes about a business with ill will, always does it badly. That God dwells in us and we in him, were words too high for mortals to use, had not God put them before us. But how may it be known whether the testimony to this does proceed from the Holy Ghost? Those who are truly persuaded that they are the sons of God, cannot but call him Abba, Father. From love to him, they hate sin, and whatever disagrees with his will, and they have a sound and hearty desire to do his will. Such testimony is the testimony of the Holy Ghost.
Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 1, 384

In the love of God has been opened the most marvelous vein of precious truth, and the treasures of the grace of Christ are laid open before the church and the world. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16). What love is this—what marvelous, unfathomable love—that would lead Christ to die for us while we were yet sinners! What a loss it is to the soul who understands the strong claims of the law, and who yet fails to understand the grace of Christ which doth much more abound! It is true that the law of God reveals the love of God when it is preached as the truth in Jesus; for the gift of Christ to this guilty world must be largely dwelt upon in every discourse. It is no wonder that hearts have not been melted by the truth, when it has been presented in a cold and lifeless manner. No wonder faith has staggered at the promises of God, when ministers and workers have failed to present Jesus in His relation to the law of God. How often should they have assured the people that “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). 1SM 384.1

Satan is determined that men shall not see the love of God, which led Him to give His only-begotten Son to save the lost race; for it is the goodness of God that leads men to repentance. Oh, how shall we succeed in setting forth before the world the deep, precious love of God? In no other way can we compass it than by exclaiming, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1)! Let us say to sinners, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)! By presenting Jesus as the representative of the Father, we shall be able to dispel the shadow that Satan has cast upon our pathway, in order that we shall not see the mercy and love of God's inexpressible love as manifested in Jesus Christ. 1SM 384.2

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 334

In every true disciple this love, like sacred fire, burns on the altar of the heart. It was on the earth that the love of God was revealed through Christ. It is on the earth that His children are to reflect this love through blameless lives. Thus sinners will be led to the cross to behold the Lamb of God. AA 334.1

In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul gave the believers instruction regarding the general principles underlying the support of God's work in the earth. Writing of his apostolic labors in their behalf, he inquired: AA 335.1

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 283

When all hope was excluded from Adam and Eve in consequence of transgression and sin, when justice demanded the death of the sinner, Christ gave Himself to be a sacrifice for the sin of the world. The world was under condemnation. Christ became substitute and surety for man. He would give His life for the world, which is represented as the one lost sheep that had strayed from the fold, whose guilt as well as helplessness was charged against them and stood in the way, hindering their return. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins.” “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Every son and daughter of God, if they have an abiding Saviour will act out Christ. Every soul that has not an abiding Saviour will reveal the same in unchristlikeness in character. Love is not cherished and put in exercise. “Lift Him up, the risen Saviour,” in our words, in our conversation, in our dealing with the erring. FE 283.1

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 1, 240-1

In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ declared, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17, 18). 1SM 240.1

Christ bore the curse of the law, suffering its penalty, carrying to completion the plan whereby man was to be placed where he could keep God's law, and be accepted through the merits of the Redeemer; and by His sacrifice glory was shed upon the law. Then the glory of that which is not to be done away—God's law of ten commandments, His standard of righteousness—was plainly seen by all who saw to the end of that which was done away. 1SM 240.2

“We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Christ is the sinner's advocate. Those who accept His gospel behold Him with open face. They see the relation of His mission to the law, and they acknowledge God's wisdom and glory as revealed by the Saviour. The glory of Christ is revealed in the law, which is a transcript of His character, and His transforming efficacy is felt upon the soul until men become changed to His likeness. They are made partakers of the divine nature, and grow more and more like their Saviour, advancing step by step in conformity to the will of God, till they reach perfection. 1SM 240.3

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