Bible Reading: 1 John 4:7-21
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7)
It is easy to discuss and write about the topic of Christian love. We all know 1 John 4:19 as a memory verse, “We love because he first loved us.” But who really understands God’s love and who really loves God?
To know love is to come to know an integral part of God’s character. However, we cannot pick and choose aspects of God’s character. If we want to know God’s love, we must also get to know His holiness and righteousness. To know how to love, we must get to know God for who He is.
How much of us actually know Him? Ponder upon that question for a moment. Look past all your outward religiosity — going to church, serving in ministry, and the like. Look at your naked heart. What is in there? Do you know God? Is He your closest friend, your refuge, your master, your king? It is not surprising to find that we have fooled ourselves into thinking we know God by our outward facade of religion.
1 John 4:9 says, “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”. God’s love to us is not some arbitrary feeling. God’s love is perfectly revealed in Christ, who came to die for our sins. In fact, it is not only God’s love that was displayed in Christ but “[Christ] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature,” according to Hebrews 1:3. So, if we want to know God, we must look to Christ.
See here how the Christian religion is separate from all other religions. We don’t need to know God by isolating ourselves and listening to obscure voices. We also don’t and can’t come up with the right knowledge of God through our own speculations or claims of hearing divine voices. We come to know God by knowing Jesus Christ, who is God made man.
There is love and life in what Christ has done and said. The fountains of truth flow from Christ’s ministry, and life flows from the cross. Here, God’s infinite wisdom is displayed. If we want to know God, love Him and know His love for us, we need to look to the cross. Only then will there be love in our hearts. Only then will we be able to love others as Christ has loved us.
Lord, please show us the cross. Show us Your love and unending mercy You have given to us. Forgive us, for our hearts, are empty. Deep down, behind all our religiosity, we do not know You. Your love does not abide in our hearts. As a result, we show no love to those around us and those who desperately need You. Have mercy on us and reveal Yourself to us. In Jesus’ name, amen.