1 John 4: 13-21 – The World of the Text

This week we are going to be looking deeper at 1 John 4: 13-21:

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 do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15 God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16 So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

Today we’ll look at the first part of this passage, through verse.  We see in this part, the continued understanding that the point of all of our faith is to abide in God.  Our faith is relational, above all else.  We abide and remain in God.  He dwells within us and through the power of the Holy Spirit lives within us. That is what true Christianity looks like, to have the very presence and power of God dwelling with us through the Holy Spirit.

Today, though I want to dig a little deeper in something that is said in verse 16, a small verse, but very important. We see here what it says – God is love.  This is important.  It isn’t just that “God loves” which He does, but it says that God is love. That is who God is.  Love for God is not just an action, something that He “does” but it is a noun, it is who He “is.”  There is that beautiful song by Charles Wesley that I talked about a few weeks back in my morning reflections, Come O Thou Traveler, Unknown.  In this hymn, Charles writes “Thy name and thy nature ’tis love.”  That is who God is.  God is love.

Where love exists, God is present. But remember, love is not emotion, love is dedication and sacrifice.  Love in this context is not warm fuzzies, it is agape, it is self-sacrifice.  It is what Jesus does for us.  God is love.  God gives of Himself to us.

And we who follow Him must do the same.  We are to give and to serve in that very same manner.  That is our calling as Christians, to love in the same way, not just that God loves, but in the same way that God is.  God is love.

Today, may we have that spirit of love abide in us.

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