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On Day 1, we learned from 1 John 4:7-11 that God is Love.
“7 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. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 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. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:7-11
John isn’t telling us that God is love so we can draw little hearts and flowers around his name.
John isn’t telling us that God is love so we can can feel better about ourselves or the muck we’re standing in.
John isn’t telling us that God is love so we can champion tolerance to the exclusion of holiness or moral objectivity.
John tells us God is Love because this is how we come to know God.
We come to know God through his love for us. And the opposite is equally as true: he knows us because of his love (Is. 43:1).
His love redeems us
Our knowledge of God and his knowledge of us is all because of His great love. It’s why John can say emphatically in vs. 8 that: “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8).
Throughout the Scriptures, God has consistently revealed his loving character to his creation. But we come to know God as Love supremely through the revelation of his Son, Jesus Christ, who took on flesh, died in our place as our substitute sacrifice, and was raised from the dead to walk as a new type of human.
His love transforms us
The truth that God is love also means God has purposed for us to be like him – full of love, full of grace.
On earth, Christ lived as the type of human that God originally intended for us to be.
More importantly, Christ is the type of human that we will one day perfectly become. Through Christ, we become part of a new race that knows God and serves God perfectly – all through and because of his love.
Right now, we aren’t perfectly like him. Despite being touched by his love, we still don’t love the way we should. That’s because our transformation into Christ-likeness isn’t complete. Our knowledge of God as love is incomplete.
Paul says as much in 1 Cor. 13:11-13:
“11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
The fact that God is love should give us great hope. It means that the parts of himself that God has already revealed to us (his character as loving for us through His Son) will continue as we are brought into the perfect image of his Son.
The crux of the gospel is this: the more we grasp of God’s nature as love, the more we grow to be like him.
The Corinthian church thought they possessed a special or super knowledge about life, about God, about themselves. Yet, all their knowledge proved to be for naught because they did not know the God who IS love.
As the apostle John said, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8).
It is after all, love manifested in his grace toward us in Christ Jesus, which is the greatest, enduring element of our faith.
Knowing God means knowing his love. How have you been touched by his love? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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