If you want to know the quality of someone’s love for you, measure the depth of their sacrifice for you. Love is not an inner disposition that has no behavioral implications. Love is expressed in action — costly action. On the cross, God went to the furthest extreme possible for us, making the greatest sacrifice possible for us.
On the cross, God not only stooped to identify with our humanity, but the all-holy God went to the extreme of stooping to become our sin (2 Cor. 5:21) and the God who is perfectly united in loved stooped to become our God-forsaken curse (Gal. 3:13). This means that on the cross, God went to the extreme of experiencing his own antithesis, and in doing so, he could not have gone one centimeter further than he did. And the unsurpassable extremity of God’s sacrifice for us – a people who could not deserve it less – reveals the unsurpassable perfection of his loving character.
Most often when the New Testament attempts to express God's love, it makes a beeline for the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross is God's statement of just how much He loves you. When you think of the immensity of God's love, the first thing the Bible often asks us to do is to consider the price that was paid.
"This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." - 1 John 4:10
What makes this love so amazing is that it is highlighted against the backdrop of a debt that each one of us owes. At the core of God's being is His holiness. In order for us to have any kind of relationship with Him, we have to find a way for our sins to be forgiven. Problem is, there's nothing we can do to accomplish that - it's too big of a debt. We can't buy God's favor, we can't work for it, we can't ever be good enough to earn it. God's holiness demanded that sin be paid for, and then God's love found a way: Jesus dying on the cross.
However, Jesus wasn’t forced to die. He wasn’t overpowered, outnumbered, or tricked into it. He chose the Cross because He loves you and me. Jesus’ passionate love for us took Him to the Cross. Even with it's incredible pain and humiliation, Jesus came down from Heaven to Earth so we may have life again (1 Thess. 5:10, 2 Cor. 5:15), even before we knew Him (Romans 5:8). Friends, love isn't shaped like a heart or a diamond, it's shaped like the cross.