Daniel 12:1-13; 1 John 4:7-21; Psalms 122:6-9; Proverbs 27:7-9
NT: “Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent his Son as the world’s Savior. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God — God remains in him and he in God. And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. In this, love is made complete with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because as he is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And we have this command from him: The one who loves God must also love his brother and sister.” (1 John 4:7-21 CSB)
God is love. John wrote that twice in this passage, just in case the reader didn’t grasp that fully the first time. God is love. He doesn’t just have love – He is love. He doesn’t just give love – He is love. Without God, love would not exist. Apart from God, there is not the fullness of love. If there is love in the world, it is because God is. If we are truly of God, then we will be of love, because that is what God is. To know God is to know love, and to know love is to know God.
John wrote, in this God’s love was revealed among us and in us. The Greek word for revealed means made manifest or realized. God’s love was made real and manifested among us and in us through God sending His own Son into the world that we may live through Him. Jesus Christ was and is God manifested, therefore Jesus Christ is the manifestation or embodiment of Love. No one has ever seen God, but Christ is the very expression and manifestation of God that has been seen. By experientially knowing Christ, we experience and know Love.
John wrote that God’s love consists in this. The Greek word for consists means exists, takes place, and is at hand. God’s love inhabits a place and is at hand through Him loving us first – before we were ever able to love Him. God didn’t wait for us to love Him before He shared His love with us. While we were still sinners and enemies of God, He sent His Love to us to die on a cross to redeem and free us from our sin. Many people reject that act of love and do not love Him back – but He loved us anyway. Those who are truly of God will love others the same way God loved us: we love others first and we love them unconditionally, even if they do not reciprocate love back to us.
John wrote that God’s love is made complete in this. The Greek word for made complete means perfected, fulfilled, and consummated. The love of God is fully consummated and brought to perfect fulfillment as we allow His love to fill us full of confidence in Him and rinse out every once of fear in our lives. Fear involves punishment. Christ, through the love of God, took our punishment. In Christ, there is no punishment, therefore there is no fear – or at least no reason to fear. If we are in Christ and still fear, it just shows that the Love of God has not been fully allowed to have its full work in our lives.
By knowing Christ, and knowing God through Him, we know love. Those who are in Christ are the body of Christ. The way that others come to know Christ… the way others come to know God… the way others come to know true love is through us. Are we being love revealed? Are we the love of God that is in place and at hand? Are we the love of God fully consummated? If we are truly in Christ and of God, we will love. If we have hate, then we are not of God and we are not allowing others to know the God of love. Beloved, let us love one another, that the world may know Love.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You loved me before I was ever able to love You in return. I thank You that through Your love for me, I can live in confidence and without fear. Help me to fully walk in Your love and be the expression of God’s love to those around me, that they may come to know You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.