June 6, 2018
READ: 1 John 4:1-21
Dear friends, since God loved us [so] much, we surely ought to love each other (v.11).
Reminiscent of an era we wish were bygone, individuals consumed with hatred and prejudice carried torches and shouted slogans from a hideous time in America’s racial history as they marched across a university lawn. Barely twenty-four hours later, the governor of the state in which the school is located declared a state of emergency due to violent clashes. Only the base depravity of sin decries the life of another as less valuable, less human—and only the power of the cross brings us deliverance.
Today, those who claim to speak truth but walk in deception abound, just as they did in the days when the apostle John was writing (1 John 4:1). Significantly, especially in the ongoing reality of racism, John reminded his audience that the Messianic truth of Jesus, God come in human flesh, would be the profession of faith that would unite all believers (vv.2-3). But the primary characteristic of their actions would be love (vv.7-8).
God calls us to love as He loves. Why? These defining points of the life of the believer remind us how God’s pure compassion for us caused Jesus not only to take on our humanity but also to deliver us from its brokenness (vv.9,11). He loved us enough to want to be with us, to share in our pain and ultimately to free us from the desolation of our own sins (v.10). In turn, we have been commissioned, even commanded, to love those whom He loves (vv.12,21; John 13:34)—even when they betray us.
The depravity of humanity breeds hatred. We can’t rightly be ambassadors of Jesus’ kingdom unless we instead begin with love. Through Jesus’ power, may we fearlessly love both those who have the love of the Father living in them and those who do not.
365-day plan: Luke 1:5-25
Read Matthew 5:43-48 and consider Jesus’ perspective of what it means to love others.
What wrong expectations of other believers can make it difficult for us to respond to them in love? How can love between believers affect unbelievers?