Wednesday, 13 May 2020
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7
This verse marks a slight change in the overall topic being discussed, and yet it will be found to fit harmoniously into the overall flow of thought. John starts with “Beloved” indicating those who have experienced the great love he is about to discuss, and which comes through faith in the work of Jesus Christ. Such faith results in adoption as sons of the Living God.
John previously mentioned love as a test of faith, such as in 3:10-24, but now he will explain the logic behind this claim. He begins this by saying, “let us love one another.” In 1 John 3:23, he said that “we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another.” This is speaking of the fraternal love which is to be exhibited among believers, and it was called a “commandment” in verse 3:23. He again states that we are to love one another and then explains that saying, “for love is of God.”
The meaning of this is that God is the source of properly directed and true love. In verse 4:4, speaking to believers, he said, “You are of God.” In verse 4:6, including himself in his words, he says, “We are of God.” As this is so, and as “love is of God,” it is only reasonable that believers are to love one another. How could love be of God, and believers be of God, and yet believers do not love one another? It is illogical thinking. With this understood, John says, “and everyone who loves is born of God.”
This is obviously speaking of love in the way that God loves. On the earth, there are all kinds of love which are a part of the human emotions that we possess. But there is the godly love which can only come through union with God, because apart from God, such love cannot be understood. If it cannot be understood, then it also cannot be rightly expressed. But when one is born of God, he loves in the way which is expected of God because he “knows God.”
The love of God is found in what God has done in and through Christ. Man was in sin, but God remedied that situation by sending His Son. It is from the greater to the lesser. God, the greatest of all beings, was willing to express his love towards His creatures through Christ. He had nothing to gain from it, and it was the highest price that could have been paid, but He did this as an expression of His perfect love.
In coming to God through Christ, we know God – meaning we understand His heart – in a way that could never be understood apart from Christ. This is the love that John speaks of, and it is the same love that John asks us to express towards fellow believers.
Life application: Why should believers love one another? It is because everyone born of God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ knows God. To know God is to understand the complete expression of love because God loves infinitely. To know this calls for us to strive to emulate what we know.
When John says, “let us love,” he is speaking of continual practice, not just a one time or fleeting occurrence. Rather, it should reflect everything we do and think about, and it should be expressed to all with whom we fellowship in the Body of Christ. Just as this love is from God, and thus it gives evidence of a sound relationship with Him, in the same way our love should give evidence of a sound relationship with those around us.
The way John terms “born of God” indicates a completed action. Through God we have been begotten and we remain his child eternally. As is taught clearly and without exception, the doctrine of eternal salvation is referred to here. One is born of God and is forever a child of God. The only thing we can expect from backsliding and waywardness is a loss of joy in this life and a loss of eternal rewards in the next.
When we stand before the judgment seat of Christ, let us be found acceptable as sons and daughters of the One who adopted us into His eternal kingdom. Let us love, even as we are loved.
Lord God, because love stems from You, and because You are the Source and full expression of true love, fill us with the desire to emulate You in loving those around us. May our lives be examples of the love that we received when we came to Jesus. You sent Him despite our failings, and so help us to love others – even in their own failings. May it be so, and may it be to Your glory, O God. Amen.