1 John 4: Really understanding love

May 22nd, 2007

There was a time when I thought I knew what love was. I thought it was the chemical and physical reaction which caused you to like some people. I thought it was a sort of social contract in which I agree to like you in exchange for you agreeing to like me. I say nice things to you and you say nice things to me. I help you out and you help me out. I buy you birthday presents and you buy me birthday presents. According to my understanding, love was something that got awarded to cool people and taken away from misfits and social outcasts. Then I discovered another, unexpected, type of love which completely changed my worldview…

John’s First Letter — Chapter 4

4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit. Test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have emerged in the world. 4:2 This is how you can identify the Spirit of God: every spirit who acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come as a human is from God, 4:3 and every spirit who does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist. You have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4:4 You belong to God, children, and have defeated them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 4:5 They belong to the world, so they talk about the world, and the world listens to them. 4:6 We belong to God. Someone who knows God listens to us. Someone who does not belong to God does not listen to us. This is how we identify the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

4:7 Dear friends, we must love each other, because love comes from God, and everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God. 4:8 Someone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 4:9 God demonstrated his love for us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we can live through him. 4:10 Real love is not about us loving God, but him loving us. He sent his Son as the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven. 4:11 Dear friends, if God loved us so much, we must also love each other. 4:12 No one has ever seen God, but if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love becomes complete in us.

4:13 We know that we live in him and he lives in us, because he has given us his Spirit. 4:14 We have seen and can tell you that the Father sent his Son as the Saviour of the world. 4:15 God lives in people who acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, and they live in God. 4:16 We know and trust the love which God has for us. God is love, and people who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 4:17 Love has become complete amongst us, so that we can be confident on the judgment day, because we are like him in this world. 4:18 There is no fear in love. Perfect love removes fear, because fear is associated with punishment, and someone who fears has not experienced complete love. 4:19 We love him because he first loved us. 4:20 If people say, “I love God,” but hate a brother or sister, they are liars, because people who do not love their brothers and sisters whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 4:21 We have this commandment from him: people who love God must also love their brothers and sisters.

Entry Filed under: Generosity,Hope

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. choosethecross.com » Tru&hellip  |  May 12th, 2012 at 8:17 am

    […] stops reciprocating. The Bible has a completely different take on love, as exemplified by the fourth chapter of John’s first letter: Dear friends, we must love each other, because love comes from God, and everyone who loves is born […]

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