Walking in His Love: A Study of John’s Letters, 22

The love made available to us and for us to practice is all because of God. John has made it abundantly clear that God is love—they are one and the same. Love comes from his essence, and he pours his essence into us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. That’s why John goes on to tell us today:

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And we have this command from him: The one who loves God must also love his brother and sister.

1 John 4:19-21 CSB

We can only love because God loved us first.

It is evident from the story of creation that we worship a God of love. God himself, even after Adam and Eve had doubted their Creator and eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, he clothed them. He allowed for the first sacrifice to be made out of love for them in order to clothe them and cover their shame. He’s been covering our shame ever since.

God showed us what true love is and how it works in relationship.

The love we receive and know through God has no deception. This is why John tells us we cannot say we love our brother or sister in Christ, but inwardly hate them. Our words have to match our hearts. Only then will our words affect our actions toward them in a way that glorifies God and allows the world to know us by our love.

The go-to phrase for the world’s rejection of Christ is the hypocrisy they see in those who claim to be his followers. Where does that idea of hypocrisy come from? It’s why our words don’t match our actions. How can Christians say they love others when their words are acidic, their actions show they don’t want to be seen with another Christian who doesn’t “fit” in their mold, and they are simply unlovely human beings? The world has every right to complain, and we have every need to hold each other accountable to the commands of Scripture.

Love God and love your neighbor.

Jesus made it very clear when talking to a legal expert:

He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

Matthew 22:37-40

Love is a two-sided coin—love God and love your neighbor. If Jesus said everything hinged on these two commands, then why do we not heed them? John obviously got the message and passed it on. May we do the same. We can by his…

Grace and Peace

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