Sunday, May 28, 2017

What Love Produces (1 John 4:11-16)

When we realize the truth of God’s love for us there is only one appropriate response: Love. Because the truth of God’s love is that we do not deserve it. We are unlovable. We did nothing to earn God’s love. If we ever think that we are God’s children because of anything inherent in us—if we think we are better in any way from those who do not know God—then we must ask ourselves: Are we really?

The Gospel reminds us that we have been loved in spite of ourselves. Grace is being loved when we should not be loved. So, when we look at the people around us, and we see broken, sinful, rebellious, hurting people, we should see ourselves. And when we know and experience God’s love for us, we should want to show others that same love. It is in our living out God’s love in the world that God can be seen. We are meant to live incarnationally, embodying God’s love for the world in the world.

Knowing God implies knowing love. If we claim that we know God, but do not know God as seen in the Gospel—Jesus Christ crucified in our place—then we do not know the God of the Bible. However, when we come to know and experience Jesus as the Son of God who died for our sins, we cannot remain unchanged. John tells us that when we confess Jesus as the Son of God—experiencing the truth of the Gospel—God abides in us. So, it is not merely that a realization of God’s love induces a reaction, we are empowered by God Himself to love as He loves. We are changed.

Love—that supernatural thing that is beyond human ability—is only possible with God’s help, in the form of His abiding Spirit. Our capacity to love does not save us. Only Jesus by grace through faith saves. However, the love in our lives is an evidence of the changing power of God’s Spirit in our lives as saved people. If your life in Christ is not characterized by love for others, you really need to ask yourself if you really do know—if you have experienced—the life changing truth of the Gospel.

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