Hello there! Before you read on, please read two of my previous articles on love Here and Here so you know where I’m coming from. Last week, we talked about why we should Love God, so today we’re going to talk about why we should love each other.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 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. 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. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:7-11
This is the summary of what we have learned so far. Again, we have gone in-depth on the concept of love in the last few weeks, so be sure to follow the links above.
Let’s jump in:
1) We should love each other because God loves us
- As we’ve talked about before, God is love in that He fulfilled the punishment for sin through the death and resurrection of His Son. Through the process of salvation, God gives us a new heart “that we might live through Him.” (v. 9)
2) We should love each other because we love God
We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 1 John 4:19-20
- This passage seems pretty clear to me. God loved (paid for our sins, acquitted us, and gave us a new heart), therefore we love Him. Makes logical sense. Since, in salvation, we are living through Him, we have fully human versions of His attributes. God is love, therefore we must be love. And if we are love, we must love those around us.
3) We should love each other because God commands it
And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. 1 John 4:21
- Yep. Part of loving God is obeying Him, and part of obeying Him is loving the people we’re around. Plain and simple.
Now we move on to the how. How are we to love others? In addition to the things we’ve talked about previously, here are some specific ways we can love others:
This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. 2 John 6-11
1) Obey God
- We obey God because we love and fear Him, of course, but we also should obey Him with other people in mind. To our Christian brethren, we obey to be and example to the young and weak believer, and to be an encouragement to the mature and strong. Among unbelievers, we ought to obey God to avoid being a stumbling block and a hindrance that keeps them from seeing Christ as He is.
2) Speak Truth
- In the attitude and commitment to love that we’ve discussed before, speak the truth. Expose false doctrine, expose false teachers, correct and erring brother, but do it in love. Do everything in love, but do not refrain for fear of offense. To quote Brother Voddie Baucham, “The Gospel is offensive enough, it doesn’t need your help.” To someone without Christ and without conviction of sin, truth is offensive. Don’t add to it by your attitude. Love the brethren. Love the unrepentant.
Next week, we’ll be dealing with a touchy subject: self-love. I hope you’ll join us and benefit from seeing how the two sides of self-love affect us as Christians. Maybe you’ll see a perspective you hadn’t thought of before.