#DailyDevotion Is God’s Love Having It’s Way With Us?
1 John 4:17-21 17His love has accomplished what He wants when we can look ahead confidently to the day of judgment because we are what He is in this world. 18Such love isn’t terrified, but the finest love throws out terror. We are terrified by punishment, and if we’re terrified, our love isn’t at its best. 19We love because He first loved us. 20If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he’s a liar. If anyone doesn’t love his brother whom he has seen, he can’t love God Whom he hasn’t seen. 21And this is the order He gave us: If you love God, love your brother.
On the one hand, John’s epistle gives us great comfort in the promises about what God had done for us and his great love for us. On the other hand, his epistle at times make us doubt our faith because of the signs he gives concerning those who believe in those promises. It is hard to escape the fact that when we look into the mirror of God’s law we cannot but see our flaws and shortcomings.
Yet in this section I think and I hope you also think that you can look at verse seventeen here as something you can say, “Yes, the faith I have is reflected in this statement.” When we look to Jesus and what he has done for us on the cross, shedding his blood for us for the forgiveness of sins, I hope “we can look ahead confidently to the day of judgment because we are what He is in this world.” His love accomplishes this in us. If God so loves us he sends his son to be the atoning sacrifice for us we should be confident on the day of judgment before the throne of God. Such faith makes us children of God and people of the love, light and life of God in this world. His love cast out our fear. If we do fear punishment then our love isn’t at its best. That is to say our love isn’t coming from trusting in his love for us. We must always we casting ourselves upon the love of God in Christ Jesus.
Verses 19-21 give us pause again to look into the mirror of God’s love and law. “We love because he first loved us.” His love starts with us being unlovable, sinners and enemies of God. His love sacrifices his son Jesus for us. When faith believes this then it should be reflected back into the world as the moon reflects the sun’s rays upon the earth. So John then gives us this test. If we say we love God but hate our fellow Christian we are liars. Why is that? Because our brother, our fellow Christian is made in the image and likeness of God. You can’t see God but you can see his image in those whom he has created and saved. How you treat them is how you treat God. You can say love God whom you cannot see but the proof is in the pudding as the saying goes. Don’t deceive yourselves. How you treat others, particularly your fellow Christ is in direct proportion of how you love God and your love for God is in direct proportion as you believe how much your sins are forgiven you as Jesus told Simon the Pharisee in Luke 7, 47“That’s why I tell you her sins are forgiven, many as they are. You see, she has loved much. Of course, he to whom little is forgiven loves only a little.” We who have been loved so great by Jesus, who gained such great forgiveness by the multitude of our sins should take his commandment to heart to love our brother, our fellow Christian for whom he died. This not to say we shouldn’t also love others, especially our enemies, but we should especially show the love of God to those whom we are on in Spirit in the body of Christ. They too have experienced the love of God and are partakers of his Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Father, grant us such faith that your love is perfected in us so we do not fear the day of judgment and live our lives loving those whom you are joined to us in the waters of baptism. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.