Scripture for Today: 1 John 2:1-6
1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. 3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
God is love. God does not love. God is the source and essence of love. When we discover that he acts in ways that are loving, we are observing God being Himself. Too often God is portrayed as a tyrant, lording over the universe, or on the opposite end of the spectrum, the “big man upstairs,” indifferent to the specific events of our lives. Both of these images evoke a very unloving idea of God. Later in this book, however, John explicitly writes, “God is love” (1 John 4:8).
The ultimate test of love, is not how one treats those who love back, but how one treats those who reject love. Right from the beginning of this letter John lays out three powerful pieces of evidence to prove that God is love, in spite of the fact that we, the object of His love, so often reject Him. Our rejection is called sin and we find that God in His infinite love, chooses not to immediately reject us because of our sin, but to love us anyway.
The first evidence of God’s love in spite of our sin is at the end of chapter 1. We read, “if we confess our sins He is faithful… to forgive our sins and cleanse us…” (vs 9). Rather then punish us immediately, God chose to provide a way for us to be forgiven and cleansed. In His infinite love, he seeks a restored relationship with us if we are willing to confess.
The second evidence of God’s immeasurable love is found at the beginning of chapter two where we discover that although we should not sin, “if anyone does sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (vs 2). God determined that his own Son would be our advocate to appeal on our behalf. My sin cost Jesus His life, and yet out of His great love, Jesus argues for me, before God the Father.
The third evidence of God’s limitless love is found in verse three. “He (Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins…” Propitiation is a fancy word that means “appeasement”. The Bible tells us that the consequence of sin is death (Romans 6:23). However, through His death on the cross, Jesus appeased the consequence I deserved because of sin. That was the ultimate act of a God who is love.
God is love. He proved it 2000 years ago. He continues to prove it every time I sin. God is love and this will never change.
My NEXT Step: Spend time in prayer right now thanking God for each of these three evidences of the Love of God.
Questions to Catalyze Growth:
- What comes to your mind when you read the words “God is love?”
- Do you have any sin in your life that you need to confess?
- How do you feel about the fact that Jesus offers to be the propitiation (appeasement) for your sin?
- What does John mean when he says “whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected” (vs 5)?