Today, we look into the first letter of John and his favorite theme: love. He is very insistent that being saved by the grace of Christ does not release us from the necessity of obeying Christ’s commandments. And Christ’s main commandment is love.
As we dig into our scripture, I found great context within the NKJV. The NIV kept everything as one paragraph, but broken apart and with these headers, it really flows and I felt it brought the theme of this study full circle…and we only half-way through it!
Knowing God Through Love
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Seeing God Through Love
12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
First, how to know God through love. So divine sounding. But what I love the most, is that we didn’t love God…but He loved us first! And so much so that He sent His only Son to die for us! It was the greatest love one could show…Jesus died for us! God isn’t asking that we die for each other, but rather that we love each other. In fact, it is His greatest commandment…that we love one another because He loved us first! Second, we see God through that love. And if we pass that love on to others, then we can be sure we are passing God on to others. Remember, He loved us first and taught us how to love.
Love isn’t easy, but it is what is commanded of us by God. Love isn’t an emotion, but rather an action. Lend an helping hand, feed a hungry mouth, volunteer some time, share your experiences for other to hear and learn. Remember that God is bigger than anything we could ever experience…good and bad.
I said love wasn’t an emotion, but an action. When thinking about the “action” that Jesus did (died on the cross), He didn’t do it for some…but rather for all. It is love unlike anything we would ever know, but we can show the love we know by reaching out to all and stop picking and choosing who we want to love. Is it hard, yes, it is. However, when we turn against others, for whatever reason, stop and think how we would feel is God suddenly turned on us. Love everyone. It is commanded of us.
Lord, the love You have for me isn’t something I can understand, but it’s something You do everyday and so freely. My heart is not open enough to love like this. I pick and choose who I think is worthy of my love. Forgive me, Lord. I know that You sent Jesus for all, and that no one was unworthy of this love. Help me to at least see everyone as someone that You love, so that in turn I can stop thinking about whether they deserve my love. For You show Your love to all, and I should be willing to show my love to all too. Remind me, Lord, when I forget, that You love me as a sinner, and I am not better than any other. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.