Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 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 4:7-12
Love comes in many forms and many different shapes and sizes and is a word that is often thrown around very lightly. John begins this section with an exhortation “Beloved, let us love one another’. Yet John knows that we are fallible people, and loving one another is not something we always find easy. He expands his statement by giving reasons as to why this should be the case; we can see four of the reasons he gives:
1. God is love. The very source of love itself is God. God is not just demonstrating love to us, or just a very loving person. God is love. Therefore every action God takes is rooted in that love. How do we know this? He manifested that love by sending His Son into the world. Verse 10 reminds us that the love of God towards us is not an initiative taken by us, it stems from God.
2. Love shows your own relationship with God. This kind of biblical love has its source in God alone, it is imparted to us by God when we are born again. This love shows that a change has taken place in our lives. There is a clear logic we can see here:
1) God is love
2) Those who are born of God are his children
3) God’s children should have God’s nature
4) A chief characteristic of God’s nature is love
5) Therefore his children will love
3. Love is following God’s example. As we said right at the beginning, God demonstrated that self-sacrificing love. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17). Therefore as believers we are to follow that supreme example set before us. So often we fail to love as we ought to because we fail to truly see what God has done and the example set before us. We are to sacrificially love one another.
4. Love is a Christian witness. I am sure we are all only too aware that the world watches Christians so much more closely, just waiting for slip-ups and falls. Yet as they watch they also see demonstrations of Christian love which confuses them. Especially where that love is shown sacrificially and to people they don’t know. In doing so people are pointed to Christ.
“Beloved let us love one another”
Tirzah Jones, Malpas Road