“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”
1 John 4:7
The exhortation is in front of us. “Let us love one another.” What if this was on the media every night? What sort of effect would it have?
It would make us behave like Jesus, if that were possible for us. It is not possible without the power of God in our lives. Love comes from God and not from sinful human hearts. The unbeliever is moved by God to love and be loving by the effect of the good around them and the work of the Holy Spirit restraining the bad influences we have in our nature. The believer has the Spirit within and are completely different people. Is this the case, from what we observe? It is sobering to see that so many that name the name of Christ, are so hard hearted and unloving.
Our loving nature from God should be the most obvious attribute about us as Christian people, because God is love. He is in His very nature and existence the personification of love. He loves unconditionally and completely. He never breaks His Word and never doesn’t care. His love is righteous and pure and full of the sacrificial spirit that allowed Jesus to suffer and die for our rottenness, so that we would not have to face the wrath of God against the sin that infests us.
God’s wrath against sin and evil doers is the expression of his righteous love. He hates the things that ruins us and that makes us unloving. Sins hardens us and makes us more and more unfeeling until we are hard hearted against God and all that is good. It is like a process that gradually turns our hearts to stone and petrifies us. God also hardened hearts that continually and repeatedly refuse His love, and that is a very serious state to be in. There is no love there and no possibility of reprieve. We must respond to His love when He calls us and not harden our hearts.
Love is sacrificial in its nature, as the love of God is. It will put itself out for other people and give to others until it hurts. It will keep giving until the work is done and God has the glory for what He has done in the lives of his own people. We are display cases for His love and should radiate His love and glory in all, we do. There should be a freshness about us that encourages other people and expresses itself in deeds and words of love towards others. There will be no prejudice or selfish attitudes toward people, even if they are considered our enemies. We love our enemies and do good to those who use us and treat us badly. This is the work of the Spirit of God and definitely not the human way. All who love like this, so that it is their constant demeanour, are the children of God, at least we ought to be!
The phrase “born of God is the key.” We cannot be loving people if we are not born of God. It doesn’t matter how correct you are about doctrine or how great your organisation is in helping people, if there is no love, it is not of God. For God is love. We must be born a second time into that love. It is the work of God and not something we train ourselves to do or be like.
“Jesus answered him, “Most certainly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can’t see the Kingdom of God.”
Unless we have the experience of being born again, born of God, we cannot see the kingdom and have no part in it. We do not love and cannot love without the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in our lives. We are born physically at our birthday, and we are born spiritually the day we repent and put our faith in Christ. Without this second birth, the new birth, we are still dead in our sins and God’s love does not love in us.
To know God is to have His Spirit living in your life and motivating you and strengthening you to live a holy life and to have love in every part of you. Love loves goodness and gentleness and peace. Love is distressed by rancour and ill feeling and violence. Love portrays the fruits of the Holy Spirit and does not blame.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
We cannot work this up in ourselves and sustain it forever. It is the genuine work of grace in our lives and proves that we are born again and one of the children of God.
“He who doesn’t love doesn’t know God, for God is love. By this God’s love was revealed in us, that God has sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, if God loved us in this way, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God remains in us, and his love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we remain in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as the Savior of the world.”
“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him, and he in God. We know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love…”
1 John 4:8-16