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God’s Love, Its Source, Satisfaction and Strategy – 1 John 4:7-12


God’s Love, Its Source, Satisfaction and Strategy

Text. 1 John 4:7-12
According to James Montgomery Boice, John has applied three tests, by which a person may know that they are a child of God: The moral test – RIGHTEOUSNESS, the social test -LOVE, the doctrinal test – TRUTH, which is belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as God incarnate. For John, the greatest of these tests is the test of love. So, John does that now. In these next few passages, he goes on to draw practical conclusions from his teachings on the importance of God’s love.

1. Where Love Arose. V7-8. Love is of God. This is important, for God’s love for us motivated by who he is, not who we are. So John says, ‘Love is of God, for God is love.’

  • LOVE IS PART OF GOD’S ESSENTIAL NATURE. John teaches us that God is love. Love is another part of the nature of God. Have you noticed too, that in speaking of God’s love in this passage, John is careful to attribute the same essential nature to all three persons of the Trinity. They are, after all, as we seen a few months ago ‘homoousios’ – of the same substance.
    • The Father is love. Verse 7 and 8 tells us something about the love of the Father. John 3:35 John 17:26
    • The Son is love. V9-11 John takes the opportunity to preach the gospel. To remind his readers of Christ’s death on the Cross, where his love was shown. We shall return to that!
    • The Holy Spirit is love. V12, for he is working out God’s love, perfecting it in us.   So, the whole Trinity is composed of the same nature, one God, three persons, with love as His essential nature.
  • LOVE IS A CHRISTIAN FAMILY TRAIT! Now, John concludes from this that his children will bear his likeness. every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. Because God is Love, people who are ‘born of Him’ will have that same family attribute of love. God’s children should be recognised by their love.
  • IF LOVE IS ABSENT SO IS THE RELATIONSHIP. Now, note carefully John’s use of the word KNOWS here. Every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8He that loveth not knoweth not God; The Gnostics claimed a special knowledge, but their lives must have said differently. If there is no love, there is no knowledge of God.

2. When Love Appeared. God has manifested his love! V9-11
But look how in just three verses John packs in the wonderful gospel message! Let’s unpack this verse a little…
God’s love is manifested TOWARD US. There is such a thing as COMMON GRACE. It is the unmerited favour of God toward all mankind. But his love for his redeemed is a different kind of love. It is SAVING GRACE, unmerited love that is directed specifically toward us. But WHY? What did he see that was lovely and worth loving in us? Nothing!
God’s love is manifested IN CHRIST. I want you to grasp something of the wonder of what God has done for us in Jesus, for…
God sent his Son! John gives us more detail here…
His ONLY BEGOTTEN SON. We ARE sons of the Father, but we are not like Jesus, for we are only adopted into his family. Jesus is own’s Son by Divine Right, the eternally begotten Son of the Father! Sent…
INTO THIS WORLD. Sent by God, into the sinful place, sent into human flesh, to be taken by the very people that he had created and to be crucified for me and for you, because…
God sent his Son to die! Don’t you think that if God had sent his son to explain to us, what God required from us, to be our teacher, that would have been truly wonderful. Or what if he had sent his son to be our moral example, to show us how to live a good life and to be nice, to be friendly and generous and forgiving… But neither of those would have helped, for we are sinners, so, God sent his son to DIE and…
TO DIE FOR SINNERS! People who had no love for God, people who have rejected him and betrayed him and rebelled against him and who hate him with every fibre of their beings… When we didn’t love God, – that’s the understatement of the year. – HE LOVED US.

  • God’s love satisfies GOD’s JUSTICE. He died to be THE PROPITIATION for our sins. John has said this before. He died to atone for us, to take upon himself the wrath of a holy God whose sinless nature, who is light and no darkness and who must punish sin – so Jesus took God’s wrath, and our punishment, and bore it in his own body, and died our death.
  • God’s love CHANGES LIVES. Look how John expresses this He says that we have received new life. that we might live through him. We have new life in Christ. We are new creatures, old things are gone, everything is new!

In these verses John is making exactly the same argument as Paul, who told us that God has demonstrated his love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God has shown us his love in Jesus.

3. What Love Achieves.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
Now this verse should knock you back on your seat and cause you to take a deep intake of breath, and say wow! John is saying here that no one can see God – but, when they look at how we love each other, they see Him in US! How can that happen? John tells us that God’s love is being PERFECTED in us. Perfection is not sinlessness. The Greek for ‘made perfect’ here refers to something that continually grows. God is growing his love within us, perfecting it and bringing it to maturity, as he dwells within us, in the person of the Holy Spirit.

We too must love each other, because God is love, because God has loved us and because God’s love is being perfected in us.

© Bob McEvoy

From → 1st John

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