The very nature of love is that it is unselfish. How do I know that? Because God is love (1 John 4:8), and The Almighty is not selfish (John 3:16). I find it interesting that after spending three years on earth as one of Christ’s disciples, John ends his earthly ministry by reminding us of God’s love for us (1 John 2:2, 4:10,14) and our duty to love one another (John 13:34,35).
As a pastor, there are so many theological terms and mysteries that I simply cannot “get my arms around” because my human brain cannot fully comprehend the infinite mind of God (Romans 11:33). Such is not true when it comes to understanding the love of God. I admit that the love of God that sent His Son to die on the cross for my sin is something that I will never fully understand (Ephesians 3:8). When I think of the cross, my mind swirls with all kinds of emotions and thoughts that are simply lost for words. But by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:5), I know and believe the love that God has for me through Christ (1 John 4:16).
What John is leading up to in our next section of Scripture will teach us about the practical application of God’s redemptive love for us. For you see, according to John, it is impossible for a person to say that they love Jesus Christ and be either hateful or unloving towards others (1 John 4:20,21). Why? Because to hate is not to love, and not to love is selfish.
One of the oft repeated phrases that John uses is the phrase “we know”. How refreshing it is to hear John say “we know” when we live in a day and age where the prevailing opinion is “I think…” or “I hope this is true”. It is only by believing in Christ and walking in loving obedience to Him (1 Peter 1:14-16) that our lives find meaning and purpose. Yes, it is important for us to understand “the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” in this age of spiritual deception (1 John 4:1-6). Nevertheless, the outcome of that rightly dividing of the word of truth will express itself in a total commitment to Christ (Philippians 3:8-14) and a life of denial of self, for the glory of Christ.
Let us listen to Pastor John as he exhorts us to not love in tongue only, “but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)