THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON THE TRIUNE GOD
LOVING ONE ANOTHER
LOOKING TO PERFECT LOVE
Today’s reading: 1 John 4:11-18
Jesus restored us to our relationship with the Father. At
the core of our Christian faith is this relationship. It is
a relationship of love--God’s love for us and our love
for God, with God acting first and unilaterally. “We
have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.”
(1 Jn 4:16a). How can we be assured that this mutual love
is in place? Well, God’s love is already proven, and
so it is up to us to respond in love. How can we be assured
that we are with God and He is with us?
is when we love. “God is love, and whoever remains in
love remains in God and God in him.” (1 Jn 4:16b). The
one basic identifying characteristic of God is that He is
love. God created us out of love. God redeemed us out of love.
God will bring us to heaven because of love. If we are children
of God, if we are made in the image and likeness of God, if
we are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, then we must love.
If and when we do, then God remains in us and we in Him.
love is manifested in three basic ways.
it is accepting that Jesus is our Savior. “Moreover,
we have seen and testify that the Father sent his Son as savior
of the world. Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of
God, God remains in him and he in God.” (1 Jn 4:14-15).
God so loved the world that He sent His own Son Jesus to suffer
and die for us. God loved us first. We love Him in return.
We recognize His love through the supreme sacrifice on the
cross. So we accept Jesus as Savior.
it is looking to the Spirit. “This is how we know that
we remain in him and he in us, that he has given us of his
Spirit.” (1 Jn 4:13). Jesus won for us our salvation.
But we need to work at that salvation in order to finally
make it to heaven. It is the Holy Spirit that Jesus sends
who enables and empowers us. God the Son who loved us so much
that he gave his very life for us is he who promised to be
with us until the end of the age, doing so with his Spirit.
So we live a life in the Holy Spirit.
it is loving one another. “Yet, if we love one another,
God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in
us.” (1 Jn 4:12b). It is easy and difficult to love
God. It is easy because God is lovable. It is hard because
we do not see Him, nor interact with Him in the way we do
with friends and loved ones. “No one has ever seen God.”
(1 Jn 4:12a). But the Trinity is love, and God has already
manifested His love for the world in Jesus and the Spirit.
Now the manifestation of God’s love in us is our love
for one another. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also
must love one another.” (1 Jn 4:11).
Such Christian love for others is very difficult, because
people are not always so lovable. But if God’s love
is to remain in us, then we must love one another. It is precisely
when we strive to love, despite the difficulty, that our love
grows, according to the very love of God. “In this is
love brought to perfection among us” (1 Jn 4:17a). It
is precisely when we love one another that we see the love
of God--Father, Son, Spirit--truly at work in us.
such Trinitarian love is in us, then we know that we are growing
to be like God, and we know that we will make it to heaven.
As such, “we have confidence on the day of judgment
because as he is, so are we in this world.” (1 Jn 4:17b).
for others is a great challenge. We could be rejected. We
could be hurt. We could be betrayed. But it is right for us
to love, because God has loved us. And if the untoward incidents
happen, then those would be just more occasions by which we
grow in unilateral, unconditional, self-sacrificial love,
which is the very love of God for us. Thus we can more and
more experience the perfection of our imperfect human love.
So we must never be afraid to love. “There is no fear
in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has
to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect
in love.” (1 Jn 4:18).
us strive to be perfect in love.