1 John 4: 13-21 – Perfect Love

Today, as we conclude 1 John 4, I want to talk a little more about something we’ve talked about through this week.  Perfect Love.

This week as taught us that God is love.  And God’s perfect love perfects us.  One of the doctrines that John Wesley held to and taught was Christian perfection.  As Christians we are called to grow deeper and more faithful each day of our lives through God’s grace. We called to be changed, to be “sanctified” to “grow in grace” and “move on to perfection.”  This notion of perfect love that John talks about is the key for Wesley.

We must understand the linkage between love and holiness.  Scripture teaches that God is holy (Isaiah 57:15, 1 Peter 1:16 among others).  God is holy.  God is different than we are.  God is a set apart being and God calls us over and over to be holy, to be different, to not be like the world.  We see as well that God is love, as we’ve seen this week.  Not that God loves, but that God is love.

To be holy is be different, to follow God’s commands. And what are those commands distilled to?  To love.  To love God and to love our neighbor with all that we are.  But know this, that love is not the superficial stuff of love songs, this is the love that is seen in Jesus Christ, who loved us so much He want to cross to save us. This love is not emotion, this love is sacrifice.  This love is giving.  This love lays down one’s life for another.  This love is more about duty than it is about emotion.  This love is our calling.

For Wesley, that was his desire for his followers.  Not that necessarily that they have perfection action, but that they have perfect love. But even there those two are linked together.  If we are loving God and neighbor perfectly, we will be avoiding sin, our actions will be motivated and directed by God’s perfect love. We will give our very all to God and we will lay down our lives for our neighbor.

And this week also shows us how that all happens. Though the power of the Spirit who dwells within us and is our assurance.  Today, know God’s perfect love for you.

Allow that perfect love to transform you to love God and neighbor perfectly.  In doing that, we will be keeping the fullness of the Law.

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