“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4.7-12
It’s not easy to love. Watching the current political climate in this country is testimony that it’s difficult to love. Neither side is loving the other very well. Each is rejoicing in defeats of the enemy party and love appears to be absent. But what is love and what does the Bible say about it?
John tells us that “love comes from God.” It’s not something we dream up on our own. It was God’s idea in the first place. And if we have been “born of God and know God” (v.7) then we will love each other. If we don’t love, v.8, then we don’t know God. That in itself is a powerful statement. Love is the essential ingredient in knowing the very nature of God.
God primarily shows his love among us like this, v.9, “He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” Notice the writer, and NIV translators use the english words “live through him.” God demonstrates love by sending Jesus and then the whole goal of Jesus is for us to “live through him.” I would say that living through him means loving him and loving others. We can’t “live through him” and not reflect his person, glory and example.
John continues with one of the greatest statements in all of Scripture when he writes in v.10, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” God initiates. He woos. He courts and he wins us to himself for the purpose of love, of knowing and of cleansing. All this can be summed up in God wanting a relationship with humanit’s. And when God loves, he does so completely. He loves us, v. 11, so we must love one another and if we love, “God lives in us and his love is made complete in us,” v.12.
The key is loving God. It’s not just loving human beings, meeting social justice needs and moving on. Loving God must come first and then we shall extend God’s love, that lives in us, to all around us so others might know the power, the truth and the love of the God through Jesus Christ.
This is the Good News proclaimed! Why not share this with others day? Share God’s love in every action, word and deed. Give others a chance to experience the love of a Father through you.
“O Lord God, I am but your servant, saved by grace, cleansed by your blood. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for initiating love to a lost and redeemable world. Help us not get so caught up in winning in this world that we forgot to love. Love in Jesus comes first. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your power and love, help me know the truth of your grace. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen