Scripture for Today: 1 John 4:7-14
“7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.”
The defining attribute of God is love. We have seen through out the book of 1 John, that God is motivated by His love, acts out of His love, responses in His love, gives His love and asks His followers to live in His love. Every aspect of who God is, is defined and influenced by His love. Even in wrath and justice, he love of God is present, as He seeks to provide “propitiation for our sins” (appeasement) through the ultimate act of love, giving himself as payment for our sins.
It makes sense that if God is so clearly and concretely defined by love, that His followers would be characterized the same. If we profess to follow God’s plan for our lives, we must be consumed by love for others. If we claim to have received salvation from Jesus’ death on the cross, the evidence is that we will love like He loved. One can not espouse the beliefs and teachings of Jesus and fail to be defined by love. As John writes, “if God so loved us, we ought to love one another” (vs. 11).
John goes on to say that not only should our lives be defined by the love of God, but that “His love is perfected in us” (vs. 12). In some divine cosmic mystery, the love of God reaches its greatest point of power and influence when it transforms a human life and manifests to the world through that person. God’s love is not intended to simply make our lives whole, but to in turn make the lives of those around us better through us. To be defined by the love of God means to receive His love and give it unconditionally to those around us.
My NEXT Step: think of the last person you interacted with that you were not loving towards. How can you chose to show Christ-like love to them today?
Questions to Catalyze Growth:
- Why is love the defining characteristic of a Christ follower?
- How is the love of God “perfected in us” according to this passage?
- What does this passage teach us about abiding in God?