Thursday, July 10, 2008

1 John, Chapter 4

Today’s chapter in 1John is all about love. To me, it almost sounds like the elephant Love Song Medley from the movie Moulin Rouge. In that movie, the two lead characters sing a song of their love for each other using snippets of popular songs about love. Here, John weaves a tapestry of God’s love and how it relates to our salvation. In short, God is the ultimate representation of love. Love, therefore is one of the central themes of faith. Without the love of our Creator, there is very little reason to have the faith required for salvation. Essentially, the whole system doesn’t work without love.

7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. – 1 John 4:7-10

It is no wonder that love is one of the greatest emotions we can experience. It was created by God and it was given as one of his greatest expressions to us. Love is one of the most varied emotions we have, as well. For example. I love my wife, but I love my family in a different way. As a huge fan of high school basketball in Indiana, I can say I love my high school’s team in yet another way because of my experiences in the game while growing up. I love the university I went to for different reasons from those, especially since I did not have the same experiences there. When you throw in the love for very close friends, we have yet another expression of love.
All of these expressions of love come from the central theme of God’s love. In a way, His love is perfect because it is never faltering. As the verses above state, we cannot know God unless we first know love. The good thing is that God reaches out to us with love, so we get to know it as we get to know Him. That reaching out is through His Son, Jesus.

13We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. – 1 John 4:13-16

If this sounds familiar it is because it is very close to the gospel of John earlier in the New Testament. Since they were written by the same person it is natural that these books take on similar tones. When we come to rely on the love that God has for us, it opens the door to what he has in store for us. It is not the easiest road to walk, but it certainly beats the hopeless alternative.

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