Simple, yet profound, 1 John 4:19 may provide us with the clearest summary of 1 John's message. It reads, "We love because he first loved us." Our ongoing love in the present is grounded in His past act of love for us as seen in the Cross. His love for us is not a response to our love, as if we must first earn His love by meeting some divine standard of love. Christ did that for us! God is the initiator of love! He sent the Son in love to give us life in Him (see 1 John 4:14). His love, once appropriated by faith, transforms the believer to live a life of love. We simply cannot love according to 1 John 3:16 until we are first transformed by His love as seen in the Gospel. His is a love that transforms! Our love for others in God's church is evidence that we've been transformed by His love. As Daniel Akin writes, "The Father's prior love is source and cause for our love for others." Again, the Gospel provides both forgiveness and transformation. Through trusting in Christ we are transformed to love like Christ and for the glory of Christ!