‘‘Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.’’ 1John 4:7
Additional reading: Gal. 5:22; Col. 3:14; 1Thess. 4:9
I do this study today with so many burdens in my heart. My heart desire is that we all come to the fullness of maturity in God. If we do, we will have a clearer picture of who God is and what it means to love for God is love and no one can love except such a person has God.
I must quickly say too that the world’s view of love is at complete variance with God’s view of love. This difference is like that between January and December—very wide. While the world views love from the individual perspective — me, God talks about others—sacrificial and unconditional—without expecting anything in return.
The redemption of man from sin is on this stand point of love—unconditional sacrifice: ‘‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’’ (John 3:16). Even a kindergarten kid knows this verse of scripture but not many actually understand it.
This verse not only tells us about God’s love for the world but it goes further to express the degree of God’s love for the world, which made Him to give up His Only Son. We all love, but to what degree is your love? Does your love for someone have a limit or condition attached to it?
‘‘For God so [houto — in this way (referring to what precedes or follows):- after that, after (in) this manner, as even (so), for all that, like (-wise) no more, on this, fashion (-wise), so (in like manner), thus, what] loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’’
To what degree, way, fashion or how much did God love the world? God loved the world to the extent of giving up His Only begotten Son to die the most shameful and gruesome death that He may have sin filled man back to Himself. ‘‘God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but have eternal life.’’ (GW). ‘‘This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.’’ (MSG)
If you noticed, there are no conditions or strings attached to God’s love for man. He started the whole process for our good—without expecting any sort of refund —just believe. This is the kind of love we as God’s children are expected to demonstrate—unconditional love—as God loves.
We need to read yet another scripture to clearly understand God’s love for mankind and why we should love like Him. ‘‘But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’’ (Rom. 5:8). Man was neck deep in sin; even then, God saw so much good reason to sacrifice His Only Son. God commendeth—exhibited, demonstrated, showed His love without expected anything except faith in Him. ‘‘Christ died for us while we were still sinners. This demonstrates God’s love for us.’’ (GW). ‘‘But God has shown us how much he loves us—it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us!’’ (GNB).
The question is, how, when, where, to whom, on what basis and why do you love? Do you show love to those whom you feel can do same to you in return? Do you love when it is convenient? Or do you have a yardstick or standard measure to determine when to love? God love us unconditionally—when we were lost and hopeless—as sinners. It was at this point He demonstrated His love to us. And we are called to love like Him: ‘‘Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.’’
If I will offer help to those whom I feel can do same to me in return when am in need, yet turn my back against those in need because I cannot get anything from them, then I am not born of God and His love is not in me. If I greet only those who greet me, I have not the love of God in me. In fact I am as the unbeliever. If I love only when it is convenient to do so, when those in need would have met my standard, I cannot say that I know God. God is love and there is no condition about His love—He loved us while we were still sinning—at a time we had fallen short of His glorious standard.
If we say that we are children of God, then, let us begin to demonstrate the God inherent character in us—let us love as He loves.
Meditation: if I say I am a child of God, do I love like Him? Is my perspective of love in line with God’s perspective?
Prayer: I wish to love like You; strengthen and help me by the Spirit to do this.
Question: What was your perspective of love before this study? How has this study helped you to understand God’s perspective of love?