Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Love One Another

1 John 4 is a chapter primarily on the subject of love - God's love for us, and our consequent love for one another. John begins in verse 7 by exhorting his readers to "love one another... for whoever loves has been born of God and knows God." He then explains why we ought to love one another.
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. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.(1 John 4:9-12)
I was curious what he meant by the phrase, "No one has ever seen God," in verse 11, and I found my answer in verse 20.
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20)
As with so many other powerful truths in Scripture, God's love is often under-appreciated. We acknowledge that He loves us, but our tendency is to take that love for granted and then turn around and fail to love those around us. If we cannot demonstrate love to our brother, who we can actually see, then how can we claim to love God, who we cannot see?!

Remember, Christ didn't die for "loveable" sinners. We were wretched and hateful in the eyes of God - entirely unloveable - and yet, He still sent His son in the ultimate demonstration of love, to die in our place and bear the burden of His just wrath. We who are in Christ have no excuse to withhold love and forgiveness from others, be it our neighbor, fellow churchgoer, employer, client, sibling, or parent.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:11)

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