Monday, May 29, 2017

What Love Grows (1 John 4:17-21)

The Christian life is all about growing in love. The ability to love comes from God. We are not suddenly perfectly loving when we come to know God through Jesus Christ. We are suddenly capable, but we grow in our capacity. Love is perfected in us as we grow in our relationship with God.

And, the more we love, the greater our confidence in God is. John has written this whole “letter” to assure believers of their relationship with God; of their salvation. We are continually more confident in our salvation—our relationship with God—as our love grows. The better we understand the truth of the Gospel, the more we can be sure that we are in right relationship with our Creator.

A lot of religions and religious people are obsessed with fear. They motivate people to follow their ideas out of a fear of punishment or judgement. However, the Gospel is a demonstration of God’s love. The judgement and punishment is there, on the cross, but it has been dealt with. When we understand the sacrificial love of God for us, we are not motivated out of fear but thankfulness. We do not try to please God and earn His love; we love Him because He has shown us that He already loves us.

Love grows love. Fear grows fear. When we see the things that are produced in our lives we can know what we are rooted in. If we see a judgmental attitude, hatred, or pride, we can be fairly sure that we are rooted in something other than love. If we grow in our love for God and others, we can know that we are abiding in the love of God that we see in the Gospel.

The key is understanding, trusting, and constantly dwelling in the Gospel. In the Gospel we see and come to understand ever better who God is and who we are. It is not merely the basic truth of the Christian life; it is the deepest truth. The path to true Christian maturity lies in deeper understanding of the Gospel story and the love that God wants to perfect in our lives, not in theological minutia and the fringe ideas developed around obscure portions of Scripture.

God’s commands are summed up in love…

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