Love is God giving His Son to die on the cross for our sins. “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). The word “propitiation” (hilasmos) means “sin offering.” (Gingrich) Let us try to understand John according to John, not according to Paul. John writes in 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” The blood of Christ is the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. In this context, a sin offering takes away sin. Jesus is the propitiation, the sin offering to God. His offering of himself on the cross removes our sin. Jesus’ sin offering, His propitiation, takes away the offense of our sin against the holiness of God.
Thus, love is giving of yourself. God gave his Son. His Son gave his life on the cross.
If I see a street kid and give him money that is kindness. But if I see a street kid and invite him to Jollibee, and we eat together, that is not just kindness. That is love.
One day we were eating on a roadside restaurant in Mandaue. About three street kids were watching us. We let them sit with us. We let them eat our food. Then we taught them to spend their limited money for food only, not on cigarettes, or rugby, or useless things.
After the kids finished eating, they hugged my companion, Pastor Gerry Rizon. Surprised, I asked him, “Do you know these kids?”
“Yes,” he answered, “they eat with us every time we come here.”
If you open your home to suffering people, you take a risk. If you take a risk, you give something of yourself. Love is giving of yourself.