This passage (1 John 4: 7 – 21) illustrates about God is love. It is up to you on how to decide on how would you paint love. Interestingly, we humans are not the only ones who have participated in this painting experiment; because God Himself also has an interest in depicting His view of love. God painted the story of the world that He created and loved, the world where His creations rebel against God, and still, He chooses to love them by sacrificing Himself to save them.
In verse 9 and 10, the love of God was shown clearly among us that God sent His only son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but He loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins. On this painting, God signed His own name – and the debate is forever closed. The cross is the best and the most perfect representation of love that can ever exist, however there will be some people who will not agree with me. If the cross is the best depiction of love, there will be people who mock it and sneer at it. They will say how is this cross loving when God is the one who wishes to destroy us in the first place? Or they will say this, how is this cross loving if God will not forgive the sins of everyone, regardless of whether they believe in Jesus or not. Why is there a requirement for salvation? As a fellow sinner myself, I can understand and sympathise with their frustration. Because we expect the loving God to love in a way that we would’ve approved as loving.
In this passage today, lies the clearest proclamation of God in which the verse 16 clearly said that God is love. There is no doubt that the Christian God proclaims Himself to be loving. And so when we approach this God’s. Sometimes we like to make our own judgment to see whether this God’s action is truly as He says loving. If God is to punish mankind because we have not followed His rules perfectly, we would question whether that’s loving – or is it too harsh and unsympathetic? When bad fortunes or undesirable circumstances or just minor inconveniences, when these things come our way, sometimes we question whether God loves us. Why does He allow these things to come into our lives and meet us?
When we consider all these things, we question whether God is love, just as He Himself says He is. Because the bible says that God is love, we want to hold Him instinctively, want to hold Him accountable to His own declaration. When God says He is love, He’s not giving us the right objection to see if His actions are loving. We always question whether God is loving according to our own standard, but human standard is so bad to begin with? Because our standard changes all the time. Our standard clash with one another. Our standard are formed by insufficient information, because we cannot see into the future.
When we read this powerful declaration of God, three simple words: God is love. We must realise that this is an authority to declaration. God is not asking for our approval, God is ascertain the truth. And God’s truth is true whether we approve or not. God does not bow down to human opinion, God is love, and He alone has the authority to define what it means.
As we understand God is love, as we realised that God’s version of love and our version of love clash together, the right and humble response from us is to bow down to God’s version of love. If we should believe in God’s version of love, we would also naturally practice God’s version of love because true love teaches us to love truly. And this is why it is so important for us to agree that the cross of Jesus Christ is the ultimate representation of love. We must understand the concept of true love, before we can love another. In verse 10, the bible gives us the final answer.
It is important for us to recognize the cross of Christ as a display of true love. Also, because the knowledge of true love is the foundation of salvation (Verse 15 & 16). In other words, those who believe that Jesus is the son of God, believe Him as the one sent to us as God’s gift of love – this person will live in God and God will live in him. This is a description of inter-merge relationship, that is shed between the holy God and His holy people. But to be more exact, it is not that this knowledge will save us instead those who are saved will receive this knowledge of God as a sign that God has given them a new life – with the new heart and the new mind so that their eyes can open to see the beauty of Jesus. This knowledge is the foundation of salvation and the content of this knowledge is the gospel we preached.
The love of God is shown through Jesus who became the propitiation for our sins (Verse 10). What does propitiation means? It is the thing that will appease God’s rightful and anger toward our sins. We have fallen to our sins because we rebelled to God and acted against His commandments, but God loves us and desires to save us from our sins. However He will not love us by simply ignoring our sins, because He’s just and fair. He cannot love us by overlooking our wrongdoings, instead He loves us in a way that fulfills His justice. But He sent His son Jesus Christ to take our punishment of death for us, and this is true love – a love that fulfills justice. But this is actually an understatement, because this love goes way beyond that.
There are three more reasons as to why this love is revealed so powerfully in the death of Jesus Christ:
1. The love of God is shown powerfully in Jesus because it is the love that goes to His enemy (Roman 5:10 and 1 John 4: 19).
2. The love of God is shown powerfully in Jesus because it is the love that goes to insignificant humans.
3. The love of God is shown powerfully in Jesus because it is the love that overlooks the strengths and achievements.
When we look at ourselves, we realised that we are not all nice and good. There some parts that are good and there are some part that are not good. We all have signature sins, we all have personality traits that people do not like, so we hide them in front of the public but we unleashed them in front of family and close friends. So the questions is: how can I be accepted when I don’t think I deserved it? The answer is in the love of Jesus because Jesus accepts us as we are but He does not leave us as we are. He loves us enough as to forgive us, He loves us enough to point out our sins and he loves us enough as to give us strengths we need to overcome our sins. The love of God will cast away our fear (1 John 4: 18). Because we are loved as a sinner, there is no more fear in the last judgment because our sins are covered by Christ’s perfect love.
Lastly, our love must be an evangelical love. We must understand that our love leads people to know and see God through us. When God sent us a savior, He did not send a philosopher only, nor a miracle healer, but He sent us a great lover of mankind. Don’t you think that our love for the world should be an essential part of our evangelism? In our willingness to serve, in our forgiveness, in our selflessness, we have been radically transformed by knowing what God’s love is like. We have been marked by the cross of Christ. May this love mark us as the follower of the loving Jesus Christ.