In some editions of the Bible, the verses 1 John 4:7-12 are presented as verse rather than prose, as though John was quoting a lyric rather than simply arguing his point. It’s a love song.
Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is from God;
everyone who loves is born of God
and knows God.
Whoever does not love does not know God,
for God is love.
God’s love was revealed among us in this way:
God sent his only Son into the world
so that we might live through him.
In this is love, not that we loved God
but that he loved us and sent his Son
to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Beloved, since God loved us so much,
we also ought to love one another.
No one has ever seen God;
if we love one another, God lives in us,
and his love is perfected in us.
Note that God is not described as “loving,” as though it was a divine characteristic or frequent action. God is described as being love. Love is the divine being, the divine essence and the very nature of God. Love, as a reality not an idea or an ideal, is holy and eternal. This eternal love is displayed among us who are bound by time in the person who is Jesus. The nature of divine love is revealed in his actions of obedience to the divine will of love. Jesus’ obedience to this loving will compels him to bind himself to creation with such solidarity that he even experiences every suffering endemic to existence in time and space. The type of death dealt to him was intended to not only annihilate his life but also to render his name dishonored. Our forebears in the faith were constantly ridiculed for their devotion to one who had been crucified. There was no honor in crucifixion.
Yet it is this very obedience which brings for Jesus honor that is above all others. In persistent divine love, this honor is now showered on you and me before we are in any way honorable. It is a gift of God’s love for you. It comes in abundance and only increases when given away to others. I pray that you have daily opportunities to participate in love’s economy.
Feb. 13, 2019
Pastor Jim and Deaconess Kristin take turns writing weekly devotions for the Chapel of the Resurrection. Contact them here:
Scripture is from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.