#DailyDevotion What Is Love? Not What You Think
1Jn 4:7-10 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. (8) Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (9) 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. (10) In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Love, love, love or so the Beatles sang, I don’t think that is what John or God is talking about. John calls for us to love one another. But what does that mean? We should find out because John is laying down some heavy stuff here that may leave you hanging in the lurch and may cause us to doubt our salvation. On the other hand maybe some of us ought to reexamine ourselves. For John writes that whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. On the other hand, whoever does not love does not know God because God is love.
Have you not been very loving lately? But do you know what John means? What does John mean? Well he tells us in the next two verses. Love is God sending his Son into the world. Love is sending his son to be the propitiation for our sins. Did I lose you? We not talking about your feelings here, though your feelings may certainly be affected by this love. What’s this ‘propitiation’ thing here? To propitiate is to remove wrath from someone. You see God was angry with us. It is written, Psa 5:5 “you hate all evildoers.” Honestly, we’ve all been evildoers and so faced the wrath of God. But God also “so loved the world.” It isn’t in God’s nature to want to be wrathful. He doesn’t like it either. So he sent his son to take away the wrath that was directed at our because of our sins.
Now here is where we see God’s love toward us. Jesus who is God’s Son from eternity took on flesh, our human flesh, to be the atoning sacrifice for our sin. In the garden, in the Sanhedrin, in Herod’s and Pilate court and upon the cross, Jesus took God’s wrath into all that is human in him and upon his person, the Son of God and experienced the wrath of God we deserved. So God blames God and God punishes God in our flesh so we wouldn’t have to receive it.
You see the love John is talking about is self-sacrificial love. It is showing mercy to those who do not deserve mercy. It is showing kindness to those not deserving kindness. It is giving forgiveness to those who don’t deserve forgiveness. It is doing good to and acting on behalf of those who hate you. This love dies to its rights and looks to the benefit of its enemies. This is the love John is calling us be as we are children of God. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. If you will do these things you love God as God has loved you. If you don’t do these things you don’t believe God loves you at least not in the way God actually loves you. Don’t fear, God is not asking you to love this way by your own power or strength. He is asking you to love one another with love he has given to you and born in you by the Holy Spirit. By yourself, you could never do it. But with God, all things are possible.
Gracious God and Father, you call us to one another with the love you have given to us. Forgive us in failing to do this and pour out your love upon our hearts that we might love our enemies the way you have loved us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.