Exploring 1 John Session 26: 1 John 4: 7-16a
Exploring 1 John Session 26: 1 John 4: 7-16a
John’s teaching on love.
In our exploration of 1 John we have been warned about those who partake of the spirit of the anti-Christ, warned about false teachers, about influencers of the Jesus denying world, all who will drag you away from walking in the light if you are not on guard against them. John is writing to a shaken congregation. Circumstances caused them to wonder if they were still walking in the light. John writes to assure them that they are on salvation’s path.
Salvation’s path is living in a right relationship with God. It’s growing in your knowledge of God. You enter onto the path through faith in the gospel message: “…the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 (NIV). Sin always steals, kills, and destroys. Sin disrupts, brews up bitterness and hate. Sin makes life miserable, cutting us off from God’s intent. The gospel message—“There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:22-24 (NIV). In Jesus’ humanity, all humanity is represented; in Jesus’ divinity, God is represented. With Jesus’ voluntary death, atonement has been made so that your sin can be forgiven so that you and God can be reconciled so that you can become God’s child so that you can live your life to the full. Faith is belief in action, the action of faith is acknowledging the sins in your life and your estrangement from God, believing that Jesus can forgive you of those very sins and reconcile you with God, committing yourself to follow Jesus and asking God to redeem you. The gospel message: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13 (NIV). If you are not on salvation’s path, today, that can all be changed if you will call upon the name of the Lord by acknowledging, believing, committing, and asking God to put you on that path. If that is your choice today, let me know. I want to help you walk in the light of your new existence.
Those to whom John is writing have done so, they have chosen to live out the truth of the gospel. John is writing to assure them that they are still on that path. I need that assurance. The sign that this is true, that they are on the path, are the deeds of love.
1 John 4:7-16 (MSG)
7 My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. 8 The person who refuses to love doesn't know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can't know him if you don't love. 9 This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. 10 This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they've done to our relationship with God.
11 My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. 12 No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!
Romans 5:8 (MSG)
But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.
In love, there is life to the full. God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, indwells us and empowers us to be lovers. The witness of the Holy Spirit assures us that we are walking in the light. That witness is twofold. First, there is a subjective conviction that we do belong to God. We feel it in our bones, we are convinced in our hearts that God is with us. The second witness of the Spirit is our objective deeds of love confirming what we believe is true. This witness is our assurance that we are living in God and God is living in us.
John reiterates his theme that Jesus is the Son of God, fully God, fully human to save you and me from the consequences of sin, to free us from being slaves to sin’s selfishness, and to empower us to be lovers. As we walk in the light as Jesus is in the light we continually participate in God’s plan of salvation. Our intimacy, our knowledge of God grows, and this growth expands our capacity to love. Expanding your capacity to love deepens intimacy and you discover even more about God which in turn empowers you to love more.