1 John 4:7 - God's Example
...for love is of God...1 John 4:7b
The words quoted above summarize the reason why the apostle John wishes his readers to make a point of loving each other. Says the apostle: "let us love one another; for love is of God." This connection between love for one another and love from God raises the question: what kind of example of love has God given? The answer is given in the surrounding verses: "God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him" (vs. 9). It's repeated in vs. 10: God "sent His Son to be the expiation for our sins."
The thought that God sent His only Son into the world is well known to us; it's the heart of the Christian religion. Yet given that this sending is the example of love held up for us to follow, we shall do well to consider for a moment how this sending into the world is an expression of divine love.
From all eternity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit have dwelt together in glory unsurpassable, delighting in the company of one another. To that togetherness-in-glory, however, there came an end; upon instruction from the Father, the Son laid aside His glory to descend to earth, there to be a man, a human subject to the painful effects of sin, there in fact to die the horrors of the cross. This we do well to contemplate: He who died on the cross is none other than He who dwelt in unsurpassable glory from all eternity!
Similarly, Jesus Christ on the cross was rejected by God in heaven. That too is worthy of a thought: who was it that was rejected? And by whom was He rejected? It was none other than the eternal Son of God who was rejected, rejected by none other than eternal God Himself! Never may we cease to be amazed at the hate demonstrated on Calvary; eternal God hated His eternal Son!
The reason why? "For us and for our salvation" (Nicene Creed).
God so loved the world that He gave up His only begotten Son...John 3:16
God sent His own Son out of glory, rejected Him on the cross, cursed Him because He loves US.
Why God told us this? There is this reason: that we might praise Him for the greatness of His love, yes, so that we might be prompted to love Him with parallel self-denying love. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart...," and this is the example we have of how to love God; love, as He loved us.
John mentions also this further reason: we are shown God's love for unworthy sinners so that we might love one another, love the other whether the other be worthy of our love or not
Beloved, if God has so loved us, we also ought to love one another.1 John 4:11
"You shall love ... your neighbour as yourself," and this is the example we have of how to love the neighbour; love, as He loved us.
And the most amazing thing is this: God so loves us that He by His eternal Spirit dwells in us. The Son has returned to heaven, to the glory of the Father, but the Spirit has departed from heaven, has made His home instead in the hearts of those redeemed by Christ. That Spirit who dwells within us now enables God's own to love even as we have been loved.
For love is of God, and He who loves is by the power of the Spirit — born of God.1 John 4:7
So it need scarcely be said that we are to make a point of loving; after all, understanding what God did for us in Christ invariably prompts to love God and the neighbour, irrespective of what the cost might be to oneself.