Exploring 1 John Session 27: 1 John 4: 16-21
Exploring 1 John Session 27: 1 John 4: 16b-21
1 John 4:16-21 (MSG)
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we're free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ's. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First, we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
20 If anyone boasts, "I love God," and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won't love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can't see?
21 The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You've got to love both.
God is love. What a statement! That God is love may be the key to understanding the reason God created. “Love must have someone to love and someone to love it” (William Barclay's Daily Study Bible (NT). That God is love may be the key to understanding why humans are endowed with free will. “Unless love is not a free response it is not love” (ibid.). That God is love may be the key to understanding God being continually present in the Creation, intervening in human history to redeem and restore (1 Peter 5:7). That God is love may be the key to understanding why God wants all persons to be saved (2 Peter 3:9). That God is love may be the key to understanding why the scriptures hold the promise of eternal life (John 6:40).
John provides two indicators that we are walking in the light: no fear and deeds of love towards others. When you are secure in the love of another you never worry about your standing with them. You know that your heart is safe in their hands. You know that they are there for you. You know arms of love will wrap around you to comfort. You know hands of help will be there in times of need. “When love grows, fears go.” This love is the basis for the peace Jesus gives to all who follow (John 14:27). There is no punishment for those who walk in the light. I try not to condemn myself, but I find myself doing so for failure to love God and love others. When I get down on myself, I remember that as a Christ-follower, there is forgiveness and the power to get it right the next time. No need to berate oneself. No need to hide from God like Adam did, rather we can run to God, find the resources we need to overcome our sins, and live our lives to the full.
Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV)
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it."