Wednesday in the Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time

1 John 4:7-12

The Beloved Disciple

John is called the “beloved disciple” because he seems to have had a special relationship with Jesus (John 13:23-24; 21:20) and because he writes about love so much in his gospel and epistles.  And here in chapter four he especially hits this note.  He begins, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”  This verse informs us of love’s origin, in a word, God.  We do not love because we are loving people; we love because “He loved us.” 

Now we must be careful to read these verses in the context of the entire letter.  The Apostle has been clear that along with loving the brethren, we must confess faith in Christ Jesus (2:22; 4:2-3) and do good (3:4-10); thus, just being a loving person saves no one.  Our loving must originate from our rebirth in Christ, indeed, is the only way one may even make a beginning of loving rightly.  Our loves and good deeds shall always be tainted with sin on account of our nature.  It is our cleansing through saving faith and the renewal of the Holy Spirit which sanctifies our loves and good deeds so that they are done through Christ, covered by him, and made acceptable to God.  For this reason, John writes: “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.  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.”  Then he adds, “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us”; that is, we can only love one another as God abides in us.  So, it is God’s love that saves us from the wrath to come, God’s love that cleanses us from sin, and God’s love that empowers us through the Holy Spirit that makes us loving.  It is our rebirth that makes us loving, and being loving that is the proof of our rebirth.

John also reminds us, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”  If we wish to know what love is, we must look at God and what God did—He sent His Son who took our place on the cross.  This proves that God’s very nature is love.  And now he requires the same of us if we will be His children.  Yes, our loving is very imperfect, which is why our love must be sanctified by Christ.  But as God’s nature is love, so must our natures become love.  As God is giving and sacrificial, so must we be in this world.  God wants us to be little christs, and we can be because He abides in us.  John was called the “beloved disciple.”  Wouldn’t it be great to be thought of as the same?

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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