How do we know God loved the world?
John tells us that He demonstrates His love in sending His Son. To paraphrase Paul, God has demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ was born for us. He sent His Son to take on human flesh, to live and die and rise again on the eighth day, the day after the Sabbath, the beginning of a new week. There can be no doubt on this score: God has done this.
But how can you know that He did it for you? How can you know that this promise of eternal life is intended for you?
There is a simple answer to that question, and you get the answer every time you hold the the body of Christ given for you. You see the answer every time you drink the blood of the new covenant which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins.
There can be no doubt that the promise has come to you. It has come under the species of bread and wine. All you need to do is trust what the Lord says about this bread and this wine, and what He says about You when He says that about the bread and wine.
This is the body of His incarnate Son, the Son given to You in human flesh from Mary’s womb, the Son given to you in Bethlehem’s manger, the Son adored by wise men and shepherds and angels.
He says that this is the blood of the Incarnate Son, the blood of God, the blood shed on the eighth day when Jesus was circumcised; the blood poured out in sweat in Gethsemane; the blood that flowed from His head crowned with thorns, the blood that dripped from His hands and feet, the blood that rushed from the side of the New Adam to form a new Eve. By giving you this cup, He says He has done all this for you.
God so loved the world that He gave His Son. God demonstrates His love to you by giving His Son through His Spirit at the table. Don’t make God out to be a liar: Trust what He says, cling to His promise in the Word and in the bread and wine, and rejoice.
Peter J. Leithart is President of Theopolis.