“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”
We find the proof of God’s unilateral and unconditional love in His sending His Son into this world to die for our sin.
This phrase refers to what follows. John shows how the nature of God’s love exhibits itself in a concrete fashion.
the love of God was manifested [aorist–at a point in the past] toward us,
God’s love for His Son existed for all eternity, but He manifested His love for us by sending His Son to earth to die for our sins. God now shows how He demonstrates His love. His best demonstration is in sending His Son to die for our sins. God’s love is not motivated by any worthiness in us (Ro 5:5-9) but by His own character.
that God has sent
God “sent” His Son into the world. The word “sent” carries the idea of sent on a mission. God sent His Son on the special mission to pay for our sins (Jn 3:17,34; 5:36-37; 7:29; 8:42; 10:36; 17:3,18; 20:21). The act of sending God’s Son into the world was no passing act of sentimentality.
This phrase does not imply that Jesus was reluctant to come into the world to die for our sins. He was willing to come (Ro 5:8).
The standard of God’s love is ultimate sacrifice.
We measure the standard of God’s love by the extent to which He loved us. He loved us to the point of sacrificing His Son on the cross for our sins. This is far more than a warm feeling toward us; it is sacrificial action.
You can love people you dislike. You can love people with whom you disagree. The Bible does not say that you have to agree with all Christians, but God does say that you do have to love them. God sets the pace of sacrificial love. God’s love could not be demonstrated without sacrifice on His part. We show love, especially when we sacrifice for one another. When we sacrifice our pride or time for someone else, we demonstrate that God’s love resides in us.
God’s love for us enables us to love others. Most of us are selfish. We love ourselves; we do not give ourselves to others. We do not have time for others. We do not want to bother with other people’s problems, “I have enough problems of my own.”