“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
–1 John 4:7 nasb
Last week we read about the great love with which God has loved us (John 3:16) and this week the same writer pens these words about love. As Paul wrote his great love poem in 1 Corinthians 13, this seems to be John’s hymn of love. This single verse he tells us who we should love.
One of the most misunderstood words in the English language is Love. By definition love is:
• an intense feeling of deep affection.
• a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone
• a personified figure for love
• a great interest and pleasure in something
The problem with the English language is that we use the same word for all of the above listed meanings. We say that we love our wife and then we say we love ice cream. We know that the these two uses of the word have different meanings, but the language does not distinguish the two.
The word used for love in 1 John 4:7 is very specific and targeted. Unlike emotional, physical, or the friendship kind of love that the world knows of, it is the Greek word agape love that John is describing here – a love of self-sacrificing service that is given to someone who needs to be loved, and not necessarily to one who is immediately lovable. This kind of love is that which exists and is known only through God.
The impetus for this instruction is for all believers to love one another. The very idea that John found it necessary to include this instruction in his book reveals the continued decline of humanity. It should be obvious to the redeemed that we should love all who have been redeemed. Oftentimes we act counter to John’s instructions. We hear such unkind words coming from the mouths of Christians with regards to other Christians. I read somewhere that Vance Havner is credited with saying …
The church has never suffered so much from woodpeckers on the outside as from termites on the inside!
Our great witness to the world should be the love that we show for one another. John says that we who are the divinely loved ones – those who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus – are to be the beloved. He is restating that all true love is from God alone. The very idea that we can generate love of our own volition is ridiculous. Within our own capacities it is unnatural for us to love the unlovely. Our flesh is always looking for something in return. We are more interested in our needs that the needs of others. The great truth of this passage is that we have been loved by God and that love has been perfected in Jesus Christ.
John’s simple, yet profound statement is this: God is love and His love resides in your life, therefore love others.
This is the proof that you know God. eve it. Share it.