Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Letters Of The Apostle John. Day 13, God Is Love

John has been speaking a great deal on the subject of love. He's told us that if we don't love others, the love of God is not in us. He's told us how true love is demonstrated: with an unselfish attitude like Christ's. Today he talks about the love of a God who, although we were completely unlovable, loved us anyway.

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." (1 John 4:7) John is not saying that everyone who has ever loved anyone is right with God. Most people, even if they don't know the Lord and even if they don't acknowledge He exists, love at least a few members of the human race. The Lord Jesus pointed this out by saying, "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them." (Matthew 5:46, Luke 6:32) So John isn't telling us that if we have any love in our hearts, that this is the proof we are right with a holy God.

The proof that we are right with our Creator is that we are able to love the unlovable---to love those who don't love us. This is the character of God. He loved us when we were unlovable, unprofitable, and unusable for His kingdom. Do we love people who can do nothing for us? Do we love people who have wronged us? Do we love people who want nothing to do with us? If so, we are displaying the evidence of a heart that is becoming more and more like our Lord's. We are bearing the fruit of a life that has been transformed. God loved us when there was nothing about us to love; if we belong to Him, how can we refuse to love others?

The opposite side of that coin is that the person who doesn't love others doesn't know God. "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (1 John 4:8) It's God's nature to love. He can't be someone He's not, so He loves everyone and everything that He created. Does this mean He won't judge sin? No, because if He didn't judge sin, He wouldn't be righteous. A God who is unwilling to avenge wrongs done to His children can't truthfully be said to love His children. Would we worship a God who turns a blind eye to cruelty? Would we reverence a God who gives a free pass to those who gain people's trust only to swindle and exploit them? Would we bow our knees to a God who doesn't punish those who are abusive and neglectful of the innocent and helpless? I could go on and on with examples of things we want to see God pass judgment on, but you see what I mean. We wouldn't feel very loved by a God who doesn't stand up for us and say, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay." (Deuteronomy 32:35) In other words, He tells us, "Be still, My child. You don't have to lift a finger. It is My place, as your Father, to take care of you. I'll handle those who are your enemies."

If we know God, and if we want to be like Him, we will not only love those who love us (as Jesus said "the sinners" do), but we will love people who couldn't care less about us. As we said earlier in the week, we aren't commanded to like everyone, but to love everyone. Once we get the difference in those things straight in our heads we will see that it's actually easier to love everyone around us than to like them. Some people make it practically impossible for us to like them. Some people only want to be disruptive and argumentative. Some people actively dislike us simply because we're Christians even though they know little else about us. So we may find it very difficult or even impossible to like them personally, but we can love them for the fact that they have been created by God and because they have a soul that's going to spend eternity separated from God unless they make things right with Him. If we don't show a loving spirit to these people, we have no chance of ever having an opportunity to tell them about Jesus Christ.

God the Father set the example for us to follow by loving us when there was nothing about us to love. He didn't want us to spend eternity separated from Him, so He gave the very best He had in order to offer us pardon for our sins. "This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This 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 4:9-10)

Since we have been shown such undeserved love, how dare we withhold our love from those around us? "Dear friends, since God has so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us." (1 John 4:11-12) You might have heard the expression, "You may be the only Bible that some people read." We can't pull a picture of God out of our wallets to show people what He looks like. No man has ever seen His face. But we can show God to people by how we treat them. We can live in such a way that they see God in us. And when they see the loving heart of God displayed in us, they may want to know Him for themselves.

No comments:

Post a Comment