We are to distinguish between natural love and the love of God. All mankind has some share at least of natural love–self-love, love for family, love of friends. Our Lord, speaking of this kind of love, implies that it is not the love of God, saying, "If ye love them that love you, what thank have ye? For sinners also do even the same." (Luke 6:32) The love of God, therefore, is a different kind of love to that which is common to the natural man. Love in the natural man is more or less selfish, even in our very best exercise of it. God commends his love toward us as being of a superior kind in that while we were yet sinners, aliens, strangers, enemies through wicked works, under his gracious, loving plan, Christ his son died for us. (Rom 5:8) This kind of unmerited, sacrificing love is wholly different from anything that is known to fallen humanity. As our Lord Jesus said, the greatest love amongst men would be that a man should lay down his life for his friends, but to lay down his life for his enemies is certainly a much higher type of love–unselfish, gracious, heavenly–John 15:13; Rom. 5:7.
It is plain, therefore, that the salvation which God has provided is purely an act of his free grace–an act to which he was in no sense obligated, and to which he was impelled only by his abounding love: "For God so loved the world