Monday, 25 May 2020
We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
Note: In case your Bible translates this differently and leaves off “Him,” it is because some ancient manuscripts don’t include that word. In this case, it would read “We love, because He first loved us.” This is not a point which affects doctrine, but it is good to note the variation. Understanding this, John says in this translation, “We love Him.”
The verb is present tense, indicative mood – we are loving him, and it is a certainty. However, in the coming verses, John will note those that do not love God, and he will state the reason for it. Therefore, for him to make the statement now must indicate an absolute change has been effected in us that allows him to say, “We love Him.” Otherwise, it would be a conditional statement, which it is not.
Therefore, like in the earlier verses, we see that the love spoken of is a part of our nature after coming to Christ. It is a love that is acceptable to God, not simply because of a change in our love, but because of a change in us. This is then supported by the words, “because He first loved us.”
God loves His people, meaning humanity – even before we love Him. Because He is love, His love doesn’t increase or decrease. It simply is. He first loved us, and because He did, He sent Christ Jesus to save us. In our salvation, we can now love. This is obviously not the act of loving, or of being loving, but it is rather the state of love which is defined by being a believer in Christ.
The tense of the verb “loved” signifies an action that occurred. Of course, we know what that action was – the cross of Jesus Christ. We love God because He demonstrated His love for us in the Person of Jesus. This goes for those before the cross, and for those after the cross, because Revelation 13:8 says that Christ Jesus is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Those before the cross anticipated the Messiah. Those since Christ’s coming look back on that event. In both, faith in what God has promised is what sets the person apart. Thus, “He first loved us” shows that it was a love that always has been – God is love. Thus, our love is a love which evokes gratitude. It is reactive, owing its source to God, who first loved us.
Life application: As amazingly incomprehensible as it is, God united with human flesh – His creation – and walked among us, demonstrated holiness and perfection among us, and then willingly endured the cross in front of us. All of this was done to signify the immense love of God. There is simply no other explanation, and anyone who would attempt to lessen the significance of the cross is worse than a demon.
Those who attempt to connect the cross with material blessing, financial gain, prosperity, status, or any other thing have a perverse streak in them which is a complete departure from the Christian faith. The cross signifies our reconciliation with God and our sins removed. Therefore, our goal and desire should be to bring honor to Him and fellowship with other believers. We are free from enmity with God and we are able to love Him intimately, just as He first demonstrated His intimate love for us.
What a story! What a Savior! What a God! He is Abba who adores us, the Father that never fails, the Papa who protects, the Daddy who delivers. Set aside time today to simply walk and talk with this wonderful Creator who loves You so very much.
Heavenly Father, at one point in each of our lives, we were in a battle against You. We had a shield up and our sword out. But instead of destroying us where we stood, You sent Your Son between the battle lines. He demonstrated Your love in such an immense way that we could no longer rebel. Accept our fallible and failing offer of love in return for the marvelous love with which You first loved us. Amen.