“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.” – I John 4:7-12
In the triune God, we can see love exemplified. While God is not defined solely by the attribute of love, God does define love. He initiates it, demonstrates it, and multiplies it in the lives of his children through the Holy Spirit. In today’s reading, the Apostle John exhorts his readers to receive and live into God’s love and then to love God and his children.
After Jesus ascended to the Father, John’s mission in life was to build the Kingdom of God. Just as John had been loved by Jesus, he now became one who loved others. Throughout John’s letter, he uses language that clearly illustrates his love: little children, my children, and beloved. John longs to nurture his beloved children, to lead them into the truth of God, the light of God, the love of God, and obedience to God.
John knew Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, who came into the world to manifest the Father’s love. Not only did John known him, he enjoyed an intimate relationship with him. As one of Jesus’ disciples and closes friends, he traveled with Jesus, shared meals with him, saw him perform miracles, heard his teachings, and looked on while Jesus ministered to individuals and even crowds of people. John stood at the foot of the cross while Jesus gave up his life on his behalf. John knew love because John knew Jesus.
The love of Jesus and the ministry of Jesus impacted John in the most profound way. Hillsong produced a song entitled “From the Inside Out” which describes this kind of transformation:
My heart and my soul. I give you control!
Consume me from the inside out, Lord!
Let justice and praise become my embrace
To love you from the inside out!
John was transformed from the inside out. He was a man on a mission to teach the truth about Jesus Christ so that all people could experience a life-changing relationship with him. John’s career changed, his disposition changed, and his heart changed because of Jesus.
John wrote this letter so that you too would be changed from the inside out, so that you too would embrace the love of God and then live your life on a mission – a mission to make Jesus known and to glorify Jesus through building his kingdom.
Reflect & Respond:
Will you invite the Lord to transform your life from the inside out? Where would be like to begin? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our new six-week Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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