1 John 4:7-12
Does God Really Love Us?
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.
The last three words of verse 8 form one of the most profound statements of the whole Bible and perhaps for many people today one of the hardest to believe. God is love.
We must realize that such an infinite yet personal Creator is not too great to be bothered with my tiny life. He is so great the he can be bothered with each of us individually.
John is not identifying a quality which God possesses; he is making a statement about the essence of God’s being. It is not simply that God loves, but that He is love.
A conditional love that depends on the attractiveness or worthiness of the object for it to be exercised is to distort the free grace of God into something much less worthy. Divine love is utterly different. It cannot be earned; it cannot be deserved. God loves us because that is His nature. God is love.
Most people define love as the feeling that they get when people make much of them. However, Love is not making much of, it is laboring and suffering in order you might make them eternally satisfied.
John focuses on two great evidences, in which the love of God can be both seen and communicated.
- God’s love is seen in the Cross of Christ (verses 9-10)
- God’s love is seen in how Christians love one another (verses 11-12)
GOD’S LOVE IS SEEN IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST (VERSES 9-10)
We see in verse 10 that it is not because we first loved God, but that because he loves us. This is no reciprocation by God, meeting a person halfway because he has shown some desire to be right with his master.
The initiative is entirely God’s.
He decides to manifest his love to those who do not love him and who do not want to love him, to enemies and to rebels armed to the teeth against him, to a world of lost sinners.
Let us acknowledge once and for all that if it were not for the fact that God is love, we would have no expectation of mercy or forgiveness, no hope and no future. The initiative in the work of man’s salvation belongs entirely to the God of love.
Propitiation is the taking of a personal object for the appeasement of an offended party. Jesus Christ was our propitiation for our sins to appease us from the wrath and anger of a Holy and Just God.
GOD’S LOVE IS SEEN IN HOW CHRISTIANS LOVE ONE ANOTHER (VERSES 11-12)
If we are truly his children we will want to be like our father.
Therefore, the Christian church should be a community of love, unlike any other human society. It is true, as has been said, that the church exists for those who are not yet members, but it is also true that the love among its members should be one of its most powerful magnets.
The ultimate apologetic or defense for the faith should be the love that we have for each other, for orphans, for widows, and for the handicapped. Love is the family characteristic of the family of God. People should be able to see Christ’s love in our fellowships. Now we must think, do we express God’s love more clearly when we love people that are easy to love or those that the world deems unlovable?
Christ’s physical presence is no longer with us in this world, but if people want to see Jesus, they should be able to meet him in the churches. They should encounter his love in the love we Christians have for each other. It is the love that this world needs to see desperately, because it is the nearest many people will ever get to seeing the invisible God. Let us love others because our Father in heaven first loved us.