“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” — Ephesians 5:2 (ESV)
The Sweetness of God’s Love
Think about the death of Jesus for a moment. Picture how horrific the scene would have been to witness in person. Now try and imagine witnessing it from the Father’s perspective. Think about how He saw, heard, felt, knew and wept over everything that happened to Jesus. Think about how He felt placing the sin of the world, the sin of you and me, on the shoulders of His perfect and undeserving Son.
I ask you to imagine all of that for one reason — to gain perspective on the unfathomable love of God as expressed in Ephesians 5:2 (ESV). Scripture says, “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” When I read that verse initially I skipped over a life-changing phrase: “a fragrant offering.” The Amplified Bible calls it “a sweet fragrance.” With all the Father witnessed that day, with all the suffering Jesus faithfully endured, God still considers Jesus’ death “a sweet fragrance.” How is that possible? How could anyone consider the death of Jesus a sweet fragrance, let alone the Father?
Such is the incredible depth of God’s love for us that He would count the atrocities committed against His Son as a sweet fragrance. Such is the enormity of God’s desire for restored relationship with us that He would look upon the death of His Son with favorable remembrance.
I don’t think we as God’s children understand the joy our Father feels when we spend time with Him. I don’t think we understand the depth of His love that He would pay the highest price simply to have unhindered relationship with us again. While meditating on this Scripture, I realized I had never once thought about how tirelessly God has been working since Adam and Eve sinned simply to be able to enjoy His people again — to walk with them as He once had.
The death of Jesus was a turning point in the scope of eternity. His sacrifice meant a change from all of humanity opposing God to the crown of His creation returning to His fold. When God placed the sin of humanity on Christ’s shoulders, He was able to take the position of the father in the story of the prodigal son, running out to meet us as we are — His children finally able to return home to Him for good.
God so longed for communion with you that He paid the ultimate price. He counts you worthy of the death of His Son. Let that truth shape your identity. Let God’s love be the foundation for your perspective, thoughts, emotions and actions today. May your heart be stirred to live in light of God’s unconditional love. May you be rooted in the unshakable nature of your Heavenly Father. And may you live today in the eternal embrace of God, knowing that you are wholly and forever His beloved.
— Craig Denison, First15
For more information on First15 or to subscribe to get First15 in your inbox daily, visit first15.org/subscribe.
If you would like to submit a reader devotional, please email all submissions to