Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary 3:16-21 Here is the condescension, the miracle, the mystery of Divine love, that God would redeem the church with his own blood. Surely we should love those whom God has loved, and so loved. The Holy Spirit, grieved at selfishness, will leave the selfish heart without comfort, and full of darkness and terror. By what can it be known that a man has a true sense of the love of Christ for perishing sinners, or that the love of God has been planted in his heart by the Holy Spirit, if the love of the world and its good overcomes the feelings of compassion to a perishing brother? Every instance of this selfishness must weaken the evidences of a man’s conversion; when habitual and allowed, it must decide against him. If conscience condemn us in known sin, or the neglect of known duty, God does so too. Let conscience therefore be well-informed, be heard, and diligently attended to.
Matthew Poole’s Commentary He laid down his life for us: the intimate union between the Divine nature and the human in Christ, gives ground for the calling Christ’s life as man the life of God; as, Acts 20:28, his blood is said to be God’s
own blood. And this testimony of God’s love to us, his laying down his life for us, ought so to transform us into his likeness, that out of the power of that Divine principle, the love of God in us, (so that implanted love is called, 1Jo 3:17,
the love of God), we should never hesitate, or make a difficulty, to lay down our lives for the Christian community, or even for the common good and welfare of men, being duly called thereto.
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible Hereby perceive we the love of God,…. The phrase “of God” is not in the Oriental versions, nor in the Greek copies, but is in the Complutensian edition, and in the Vulgate Latin version, and is favoured by the Syriac version, which reads, “by this we know his love to us”; and so the Ethiopic version, “by this we know his love”. That is, the love of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is truly and properly God, the great God, the mighty God, the true God, and God over all, blessed for ever. His love is manifested to his people, and perceived by them in various instances; but in nothing is it more clearly seen than in the following one:
because he laid down his life for us: of the life of Christ, and his laying it down in the room of his people; see Gill on, which shows his love, his free grace and favour; for this arose not from any merit or worth in the persons he died for; not from their love, loveliness, or duty, but from his rich mercy, and the great love wherewith he loved them; and which, though it cannot be equalled, should be imitated:
and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren: not in such sense, or for such ends and purposes, as Christ laid down his life for us; for no man, as by giving his money, so by laying down his life, can redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom for him: but the meaning is, that saints ought to risk their lives, and expose themselves to dangers, for the sake of their brethren, when they are called to it, and the case requires it: as Priscilla and Aquila laid down their necks, or ventured their lives for the Apostle Paul, Romans 16:3; and they should also, when called unto it, freely lay down their lives in the cause of Christ, and for the sake of his Gospel, for the gaining of souls to Christ, and for the confirming of the faith of the brethren in him, as the apostles of Christ, and the martyrs of Jesus, have done; this is an argument for brotherly love, in the highest instance of it, taken from the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, than which nothing is more forcible, or can lay a greater obligation on the saints.
Mankind may think it knows something about love, but until man has a true understanding of Christ and His sacrifice at Calvary, man’s understanding of Love is something less than puppy love.