Tuesday in the Seventh Week of Easter

1 John 4:7-21

And Just Why Should We Love One Another?

John has told us several times now that we should love one another.  Now he tells us the reason.  To do so, he defines what love is.  Love is often defined as a feeling, sentiment, or unconditional acceptance and affirmation.  But listen to John: “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.”  And then he further clarifies: “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.”  (To propitiate means to take the punishment for our sin and thus render God “propitious” towards us.)  Notice how John defines love.  He says nothing about us generating or doing the loving.  We are the objects of love, and that is all.  John defines love strictly from God’s side.  Indeed, he pointedly says, “Not that we have loved God.”  It is God doing the loving, and He is loving us.  In other words, if you will know what love is, you must look at God, and what He has done.  And what has God done?  God sent His Son as our atoning sacrifice so that we might live through him.  It is because God has loved us and shown us what love is that then John can say, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”  Later on he adds, “We love because He first loved us.”  And this is why we should love one another – because God has so loved us.

It is God’s love that is the basis for our loving.  I cannot hope to love rightly until I learn how to love the way God would have me to.  And God’s way of loving is obviously sacrificial and giving.  We recall that Jesus laid down his life, and in a most painful way.  I must learn to love my wife, my children, my friends, my church, and my enemies, the way God loves them and for His glory.  I must love them all for His sake, knowing full well that the way He wants me to love them will run completely counter to the way I want to love them.  My way will always be tainted with self-interest, but His way will always be pure and devout … and sometimes painful, as it was for our Lord.  Ultimately, I must love others, not for my sake, and perhaps not even for their sake, but for His sake.

This kind of love is impossible for man, but we can possess it because “He has given us of His Spirit.”  As His Spirit leads us, placing the saving confession of His Son upon our lips, we abide in Him and He in us.  We grow in love as we continue to walk with Him in obedience.  As we grow in love, we are thereby perfected in love, and such love relieves us of all fear – fear of Judgment Day, but also the fear of the risk of loving others.  Like spokes on a wheel, the closer we get to God, the closer we get to one another.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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