#DailyDevotion Love And Confession, The Hallmarks Of A Christian
1 John 47Dear friends, let us love one another because love comes from God and everyone who loves is God’s child and knows God. 8He who doesn’t love hasn’t learned to know God, because God is Love. 9God has shown us His love by sending His only begotten Son into the world for us to live through Him. 10This is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the payment for our sins. 11Dear friends, if that’s how God loved us, then we should love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God lives in us, and His love has accomplished in us what He wants. 13This is how we know we live in Him and He in us: He has given us His Spirit. 14We have seen and can tell the truth that the Father sent His Son to save the world. 15If you confess Jesus is God’s Son, God lives in you and you in God. 16And we have come to know and believe the love God has for us. God is Love, and if you live in love, you live in God, and God lives in you.
So there are a number of conditional sentences in this passage which probably give us some trouble because, well, they cause us to doubt our Christianity. Verses seven and eight right off the bat just make me cringe. Perhaps you’re a better liar to yourself than I am to me. Love one another. Sounds great. Everyone who loves is God’s child and knows God. Things start getting shaky. He who doesn’t love hasn’t learned to know God, because God is love. And well, there you go, apparently I don’t know God because, to be honest, I don’t love all the time. Even if you just narrow it down to loving my fellow Christians, which I believe John is speaking about when he says, “Love one another” I’m fairly certain I am a failure on this point. And by love here I don’t think John, or God, means the feelings of love. He is talking about the that sacrifices our good for the good of someone else.
Well at least at this point we begin to get some good news. John says, “This is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the payment for our sins.” Now we are beginning to see the sort of love John is talking about. It is God’s love. God sends his son into the world “for us to live through him.” We see this love is sacrificial love. God the Father sends his son Jesus to be sacrificed for us, to be the payment of our sins. If Jesus paid the price for our sins, then we no longer have to face the penalty of death. If we don’t have to worry about death anymore than we can live our lives through Christ.
So Jesus is given us the example and the power of love and to love. Jesus shows us how he wants us to love one another. Then his love for us transforms us into people who love one another similarly, because it is his love we love them with. We cannot see God. How can we show God’s love to God? We show it by loving his image and likeness, our fellow Christians. By showing humility and service to our fellow believers in Christ, we show he is living in us and accomplishing what his love in us wants to accomplish. The Spirit he gives us shows us that we are children of God. His Spirit has us confess Jesus came into the world to save the world, especially us. When we confess Jesus is God’s Son, i.e. he is truly God, then he lives in us and we live in him. To live in God’s love is to believe and confess what Jesus has done for you. You then will follow that with love for your fellow Christians.
Gracious and Merciful Father, have mercy on us when we do not show your love for others as you have shown for us. Give us your Spirit that we may believe and confess your Son Jesus to be the Christ and may his love have its way with us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.