Love One Another
Beloved, Let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. I John 4:7, 8
This is the third and final time John appeals to the subject of brotherly love. John first mentions this type of love in I John 2:7-11, where it is given as an indicator of one who is walking in the light.
The second occurrence comes in I John 3:10-24 and is mentioned as evidence that one is a child of God.
John starts this new section by calling us beloved. It is the warmest greeting to this new section that he can give. John wants to reestablish the warmth and affection following a very pointed and direct discussion.
As tenderly as Christ loved his disciples, we see this same affection for John to those that would read his letter. Because John loves them, he wants to challenge them. For you see, love challenges us. It challenges us to be better people than we presently are. It challenges us to leave the place where we are at better place than when we found it. Love does not tear down, it builds up. It lifts others up and in so doing we are also lifted.
There is a pastoral warmth to the words that were written by John as he states, “Let us love one another.”
Why is John so concerned with us loving one another? Because he knows it is a sign that we have a relationship with God. Because he finishes his statement on “Loving one another” with the statement that “for love is of God.”
But John takes it a step further and states, “Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
I am not in the habit of adding words to scripture. It is dangerous to do so. But if I could add one word to scripture, I would add it to the beginning of verses 8. That word would be “Therefore.” “Therefore, he who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
John in the previous text made certain that we understand love comes from God and that love comes by having a relationship with God.
This was the point Jesus was making in the midnight discourse between Himself and Nicodemus. Nicodemus, in order to have a relationship with me, you must be born again. This means you will love others, more than you love your own self. Because when you have established a relationship with God, then you cannot help but love others. “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
How is it that we know God is love? Verse 9 answers this by stating “in this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only Son into the world that we might live through Him.”
One of Satan accusations against God was that God was not loving, He was a tyrant and he didn’t care for his heavenly angels or mankind living upon this newly formed planet. But John uses perfect logic by stating, “IF God did not care or love us, then He would not have sent His Son into the world. Verse 10 then states. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
God’s perfect love toward us in that He suffered and died the death we deserve is the ultimate sign of His love toward us.
John finishes this section by stating what should be obvious to us all. 11 “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another.”
12 “No one has seen God at any time, If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He is in us, because he has given us of His Spirit.”