Mar 17 2012 - E100.95c – 1 John 4:7-21, God’s love made visible
John's first letter is not so much an extended argument as it is a continual repetition of themes. It is said of the elderly John that he would often repeat the phrase "Little children love one another." It’s a theme that bears repeating for we never get beyond the need to be spurred on in reflecting the character of our God.
Again John emphasises that God shows us what true love is: “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10). We need to live in this love (4:16). This means confidently basking in the gracious embrace of God’s love towards us in Christ – a love that will never let us go. But it also means that we must be willing to embrace others in their need. The love of God cannot be contained within us, it must flow from us and embrace even those who seem unlovely and unlovable – for that is how God has loved us.
And this is what the world needs. In 4:12 John writes, "No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." The implication is that when we love one another we reflect the character of God and make him visible to the watching world. God's love has appeared in Christ so that, as we live in him, God's love is made visible through us also (see again 4:9).
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God" (4:7). It’s a word of encouragement that we need to hear again and again.
Lord Jesus, remind me ever afresh of your great love for me. You have shown me the marvel of God’s inestimable love. Help me to reflect that love in my attitude towards and care of others that they too may know the wonder of God’s love.