This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:10-11)
Love is a versatile word. We love people, we love pets, we love movies, food, days, jokes, and weather. Unfortunately, such frequent use of the word has diluted the concept of love. A man can say that he loves his wife and that he loves Thanksgiving dinner, but he dare not put the two on the same level!
The apostle John has been called the apostle of love. He referred to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” and love is a common theme in the five books of the Bible he penned. Those books make clear that love is more than simply a strong like for something.
True love for someone, according to God, is doing what benefits that person, even at the expense of your own comfort or pleasure. “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9). He became man, lived in a sin-filled world, suffered torture, and died. He did it all for you. He made the ultimate sacrifice because he knew it was what you needed most. His sacrifice has paid for your sins, giving you eternal life in heaven and new meaning for life on earth. That is true love.
John was uniquely qualified to write about true love. He was a firsthand witness at the foot of the cross. There Jesus showed love for his own mother by appointing John to care for her, even as he himself was suffering. Then he showed love for all people as he cried out, “It is finished,” and gave up his life.
The apostle of love makes a natural conclusion. “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11). This is how God continues to bless us with his love. Communities of Christians care for one another by letting the love of God flow through them to one another. One Christian acts in the best interests of other Christians, knowing that they are doing the same for him. John summed it all up well: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
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WHO IS JESUS?
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