God’s Love and Ours- 1 John 4:7-19

In this passage, John tells us of God’s love for us and how that love should effect each of our lives. He begins with the admonition that we love one another, for love comes from God. The love he refers to here is the type of love that comes only from God and is the evidencè that one belongs to God. What kind of love is he referring to? It is the love which God showed us at the cross, being the “atoning sacrifice” for our sins, the type of love which seeks the good of ones enemies. God loved us by dying for our sins when we were His enemies as the ultimate expression of agape love, and He calls us here to show the same kind of love to those who don’t love us. John tells us here that the presence or absence of this kind of love is the primary evidence as to whether one belongs to God or not. Jesus is the way in which we know what the love of God truly is like, and it is as we love those who don’t love us that we are most like Him. This kind of love shown by Jesus is how God showed His love for us, and it is through us loving this way as His disciples that other people can see the love of God. They will only see that love as we live it out, just as Jesus did. In this way God’s love is made “complete”. The word translated complete here is teleoites, and the translation as complete makes it sound almost as though something was lacking in God, that His love is somehow incomplete without us. The word teleoites actually speaks of a goal or purpose, and something which is teleoites is something which achieves its goal or accomplishes its purpose. The purpose of God’s love is the salavtion of the world, and that purpose will only be accomplished through us as we express His love in our lives. We grow to know and rely on God’s love for us, and so we become free to love others. We know God will take care of us, so we are free to not always worry about ourselevs but focus on others, knowing God is taking care of us. Living in this way allows us to be confident in the face of judgment, for since we are living like this we demonstrate that we belong to God and need not fear the judgment to come. John concludes by telling us that fear and love are incompatible. The fear which he refers to here is defined as the anticipation of harm, we anticipate something may harm us, so we fear it. Fear and love are incompatible, firstly because we know God loves us and will do all things for our good, so we never need anticipate any harm. They are incompatible secondly because the one who fears will never fully love. This is so because love makes you vulnerable, it gives the one you love the opportunity to hurt you, and those who fear being hurt by others will never become vulnerable enough to love. Agape love (love for those who don’t love you) is shown here to be the primary evidence that a person is born of God, for this type of love cannot be produced by people apart from God. Only God in someone can produce this kind of love through them, and it will only happen as we learn to rely on God’s love for us and reach out in love to others.

No Comments Christianity  //  Conformed to the Image of Christ  //  God the Father

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