“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God…” (1 John 4:7)
In 1 John, the beloved disciple describes the person who loves as someone who truly lives in the knowledge of God and the new birth He offers in Jesus (1 John 4:7). This love begins not with us, but in the love of God for us in sending His only Son as a propitiation for our sins “so that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9-10). This instruction bears striking resemblance to his own recording of Jesus saying:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another. (John 13:34)
It is because of the life-altering magnitude of God’s love in Jesus that we are to love one another as “God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:12).
Our frail, complicated, beautiful, and wonderful human relationships are the ground in which God works among us and always has. From the beginning God declared “it was not good for man to be alone,” and has continued to make ways in the sin-stained wilderness for sinful and violent humanity to dwell with Him together (Genesis 2:18). He does this most fully and finally in Jesus, who breaks the dividing walls and makes us all one in Him (Galatians 3:28). The unconditional love of God in Jesus instructs us how to see and understand our intimate relationships, and how they witness the reality inaugurated by Jesus Christ even now.
Over the month of February on The Apologetics Corner, we will explore what the Scriptures say about our families, friends, and marriages. In each of these intimate relationships we will ponder how the gospel transforms our understanding of them, and how these spheres of love serve as a witness to God’s love in Jesus Christ for all people.
I pray that as we begin to ponder our relationships in light of the gospel they will be transfigured by God’s love into the shape of the cross. As we seek the Scriptures, I pray we will be ever astounded at God’s kindness in giving us other human beings as heralds of His love, and that our relationships would serve as a finger which always points to Christ crying, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29)
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