I got to attend another amazing fellowship last night at our home church, the Freedom Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan and it really got my spirit thinking. I love it when Daddy challenges my theology in a way that I know he is growing me. Last night we were talking about God being Love and what exactly that looks like. We also were looking at our perception of God and what attributes we believed about him ourselves and why we believed those things.
Needless to say he revealed to me some things that I am believing about him that simply are not true, things I had been taught in the past that I had just taken as fact that were not the true representations of Him and His true nature and character. This morning he lead me to 1 John 4, so lets start by taking a look at these amazing scriptures. Get your coffee around and get ready to dig in.
1 John 4:7-16
7 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. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
Agape Love God love is so eloquently described for us in 1 Corinthians 13 which we will get to in a bit. Love is from God, and Him alone, our ability show agape is not out of our own strength or accord but out of being given that agape love by God. We are only able to give what we have received as a free gift. When we accept the Love of the Father are born of Him as it states in verse 7. Those who do not truly know God can not bear Agape Love because it is not by our hands but God’s alone. God is love. He loved us so very much that the only expression of His love that would have been worthy of us, or equal to us was to come in the flesh Himself, as Jesus, so that we could live through him and not our own works and efforts. (verse 9)
It is in this Love, His love for us, not our love for Him that we can even love. We love because He first loved us. (verse 10) He is calling us to love others, but we can only do that when we first have accepted his love, it is from the overflow of his loved poured out on us that we can love in that way. Love is a fruit of the spirit, it was never meant for us to bring forth in our own lives it was only meant for us to bear. John 15 talks about bearing the fruit of the spirit. Bearing means to carry not to produce, a quick greek study reveals that truth. We can not create the real fruits of the spirit in our lives, trying to do so only brings about cheap imposters that will never fully last or satisfy.
Some read verse 12 as a to do list. If we love one another than God will abide in us and his love is perfected in us. What if however we read it as a showing of what happens when we abide in God? Than it would read more like, because God’s Spirit abides in us, his love is perfected in us, therefore love one another.
Why read it like this? Because just a few verses above this he says, “In this is love, not that we have loved God.” It’s not about us, it’s all about Him. Again, Love is not something we do it’s something we bear, it’s the spirit of God in us that gives us His fruit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, and Self Control). We know that we abide in Him when we have His spirit. (v13) Verse 15 shows you that whoever confesses (homologeó-to agree with, speak the same as) God abides in him and he in God. We come to know and to believe the love that God has for us as we abide. God is LOVE, and whoever abides in Love (God), God abides in Him. (verse16) There is a lot more to say on abiding. I’ve done a few posts on that if you would like to search for them in the search bar for more information.
1 John 4:7-8
Many of us know God but truly do not know Him, we don’t know who He is. There is always more to know about God which is why relationship with him is so exciting. Let’s take a look at 1 Corinthians now and get a better look at God. These verses are about God love, or really God. They are a great revealing of some of the characteristics of God Himself.
God does not merely love; He is love itself.
1 Cor. 13:4-8