GOD IS LOVE
1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
God’s Person is expressed in eternally pure and holy love! This pure, spiritual love has its source and original residence solely as His ‘character.’ Verse seven of our context clearly states, that love is of God. Therefore if God dwells within a person by sovereign regeneration, that convert will express this same love to all others in whom the Holy Spirit has granted the new birth. 1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
And this characteristic is rightly called, the greatest of these! (1 Corin. 13:13). For we know that God is holy. But it is not termed, “God is holiness!” And we know that God is just. But nowhere is it termed, “God is justice!” For neither of these express the fullness of God’s Being! They are intrinsically part of God’s glorious Being, but love is the overall, inclusive expression of His Being! For nowhere do we find that either holiness, nor justice is the complete fulfilling of the law. But love is! Nor do we read that either of these can cover a multitude of sins. But love does! In fact, we can understand that if both holiness and justice were without God’s love and mercy, we would all wind up in Hell!
So both the fulfilling of the law, and the covering of our sins is accomplished by love! These two things are said of God as love, which do not exclude his holiness and justice! Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins. 1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
For the manifestation of God’s love is evidenced in the ultimate price of His giving his Son’s life to atone for the sins of all who believe in him! For one cannot love without giving! John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. 1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
And that love expressed in giving his Son does not only cleanse from present sin, but it extends into the vastness of eternal glory! Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
The Apostle John exclaimed that this marvelous love had a present effect, with also a future, eternal benefit! For it influences present purification. And it holds forth a future glorification. 1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
Out text begins with the words, Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. That very first word clearly informs us that only the “Beloved” can participate in the expression of God’s love to each other. Since God is the only source of love, none can love without the indwelling of God by regeneration. Here is a passage wherein our Lord reveals his requirement of man to express this love. And reading this, we understand that this is impossible by the unregenerate soul.
Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
His words reveal that man’s perfection is seen in his loving as God loves! But this is absolutely impossible by man of himself. It can only be accomplished by Christ dwelling within his heart, showing love as the example, and producing God’s love through them. Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
This is stated in verses 11 through 13 of our text. We can only love others by God’s love within us. And if God’s love is in us, God is in us by his Holy Spirit. And this the Apostle John implies is the way we see God! No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. And our Lord referred to this in his instruction concerning the final judgment. Those who loved others, were expressing God’s love towards others. And this was actually expressing love towards God!
Matthew 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
And the same is the basis for God’s confining the wicked into eternal darkness. That is, they had not the love of God, nor the God of love within them, and therefore showed no love to others. Matthew 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
The very first fruit of the Holy Spirit listed is love. Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. For love not only fulfills the law, but is also the very source of faith! Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Our Lord instructed his disciples that they needed no ‘secret handshake,’ nor uniquely styled clothing, nor group name, to identify themselves as his disciples. All over the entire world, and throughout history they would be recognized by the uniqueness of God’s love being expressed from within them. For this love is exclusively contained within God and his true disciples. John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
1 John 2:10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
And the receiving of God’s forgiveness for sin is based only on those who have this active, Holy Spirit-provided love within them expressing itself by themselves forgiving others. Mark 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
The Apostle Paul ends his letter to Titus by stating he was to extend his greetings to those who had a love for him. Titus 3:15 All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.
And in 1 Corinthians, chapter thirteen the Apostle Paul sets forth the characteristics of the quality of God, who is love. In verse one we understand that God did not set forth languages without love, for that would have been sound without soul! For the word of love from God is life giving! And in the second verse we understand that God did not set forth the ability to proclaim things discerned, nor even faith itself without love. For that would have been the Harlot’s religion of performing works for reward. – That is, thinking to put God in their debt.
1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
But listen to what he replies to those believing themselves to have done so. Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
1 Corinthians 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Then here in 1 Corinthians 13:3 we understand that if God had simply set up natural laws to feed all his creation, and even given his body without any love, it would it would not have profited his glory, nor their redemption! For those who know of the Lord Jesus’ death on the cross, but have not the love of God in their hearts in the production of faith, shall be consigned to eternal wrath. John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
God’s love never faileth (1 Corinthians 13:8), for God is love, and he cannot fail. Prophesies, languages and knowledge shall all vanish away, but God’s love abideth forever. It forever has been and shall forever be, as God, being love, is eternal! He had no beginning and shall have no end! In fact, he is the beginning and the end! Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
Even faith’s seeing of things invisible (Hebrews 11:1), and hope’s embracing them as if presently available is but seeing through a smoked glass compared to when love shall present Himself to us at his second coming! 1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Pastor Gene Breed
March 13, 2018