1 John 4:7-8 ESV
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
The word “love,” in the English language, can mean many things. Some people use the word “love” when what is really meant is lust. Others use it as a term of endearment for anyone with whom they have close feelings of affection. And others might use it to describe their feelings about food or worldly possessions.
This word translated as “love” here is a specific kind of love, though. For it comes from God, so it has the character of God and his will and purpose in it. And, it means to prefer (to choose) what God prefers/chooses. So, to love with this kind of love is to embrace God’s will, choosing to obey it.
But not everyone has this kind of love. Only those who are believing in Jesus Christ for their salvation and who are choosing to live their lives through Christ, in his power and strength, and according to his will and purposes for their lives, are loving with this kind of love.
So, when this says here that everyone who loves (who is loving) is born of God, it is referring specifically to this God-like love which embraces, and which is doing the will of God. So, it is those who are choosing God’s choices and who are obeying them through his power who are born of God.
So, to love one another with this kind of love is to love as Christ loves us. And, we can certainly look at Jesus’ life on this earth as a model for us in how to love others, too. For this love is not just a feeling we have for others, but it is shown in action, in how we treat them.
So, this love is also not all mushy-gushy and dripping with honey. It is honest, it is moral, it is upright, and it cares about other people’s legitimate needs, i.e. about what is best for them as God defines best. So, if we are loving with this love we won’t lie to people or willfully harm them.
We will speak the truth in love to them, though, when it is called for, and we will exercise tough love sometimes, too, when it is necessary, for remember that God disciplines those he loves that we may share in his holiness. So, it isn’t all hugs and kisses.
1 John 4:9-10 ESV
“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Again, Jesus is the perfect model of this kind of love and in how we are to love one another. So, we don’t love just those who love us back or who we consider to be loveable. For it was while we were yet sinners that Christ died for the ungodly. So, we are to even love our enemies.
So, how is this love manifest? It is manifest in what it does for others. So, this love is not what we feel, but it is what we do. God so loved us that he sent Jesus to die for us, and Jesus loved us so much that he died for us. Why? To free us from our chains of sin and so we might live through him.
And, what does it mean to live through him? It means to live our lives by his grace, in his power and strength, and according to his divine purpose and will for our lives, and for the glory and praise of God. So, it means we die with him to sin and we live to him and to his righteousness.
And, how do we love others with this love? By allowing Jesus to live his life through us and to treat others in like manner as Jesus treats us. And, we love by doing, but doing according to God’s purpose and will, not according to our flesh or according to the will of man.
So, a big part of this loving others is sharing with them the truth of the gospel of Christ so that they can be delivered from their bondage to sin and so that they can now live for the Lord and walk in his holiness, and so they will have eternal life with God, too.
1 John 4:11-12 ESV
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”
So, if we want to love others as Jesus loves us, we are going to minister God’s love and grace to them in its various forms, including we are going to speak the truth in love to them. And, we are going to care about their needs, and we will reach out to meet their needs, as God leads in this.
So, we are not going to use and abuse others, nor are we going to take advantage of them in any way. We will not lie to them or betray them or willfully do what we know will bring harm to them. And, this includes not cheating on spouses via porn or other avenues of lust or self-gratification.
We will also not judge others by our own prejudices or by culture or by ourselves or by the standards of this world or by our human traditions. And, we will not accuse them falsely of things they have not done, nor will we hypocritically judge them for the speck in their eye if we have a log in ours.
We will not reject people just for being different from us, either, by color, by race, by social class, by intelligence, by wealth (or lack thereof), by possessions, by education, by life choices or by religion.
This does not mean, however, that we accept everything about them or that we embrace all that they do. But, we don’t hate them because they aren’t like us.
But in loving them as Jesus loves us, we are going to tell them the truth that will set them free from their chains of sin, and we are going to invite them into relationship with Jesus Christ in the same way in which Jesus did.
So, we are going to talk about sin and judgment, and we are going to call for obedient faith in Jesus Christ, for repentance, and for submission to Christ as Lord. But this is love!
You Gave Me Love
Songwriters: Claire D. Cloninger / Archie Jordan
You gave me laughter after I cried all my tears,
You heard my dreams while the rest of the world closed its ears,
I looked in Your eyes, and I found the tenderness there,
You gave me love when nobody gave me a prayer.
That’s why I call You Saviour ….. that’s why I call You Friend,
You touched my heart ….. You touched my soul,
And helped me start all over again,
That’s why I love You, Jesus ….. that’s why I’ll always care,
You gave me love when nobody gave me a prayer.