Summary: An exhortation to love!
We have written and sung about love from our earliest history. Yet, in our recent history the song said it was the only thing that there was just too little of. The Beatles said that love was all you need. Candy and card companies prosper from our trying to demonstrate and profess our love. It is often more elusive than a butterfly and has been called the same. While it is so elusive and intangible, people have given all they owned and at times their lives in an effort to secure it. Another song says that they will know we are Christians by our love. Yet, I am afraid that we are better known for our political position and our stand on homosexuality and abortion than for our love. Our text twice says that God is love then why is there so little love in His church if the folks there claim to be His children? I submit that we must love the brethren because loving is living. (Vs. 7-16)
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.
There is no spiritual life started without it. (Vs 7-12) If God did not love there would have been no life. If He was not love and did not love, there would have been no plan of salvation. Human life would have ended with Adam and Eve. Instead, God replaced the first Adam who brought forth death with the second Adam that we might have life through Him. God so loved that He gave His Son and when we are born-again, we receive that love into our hearts. Because God is love and it is His nature then it is only logical to assume that any progeny of His would have the same nature. Our new creation is created in His nature so what else can we receive as a new nature, but love?
If we do not have love, we do not know God. Bang! The line is drawn and the box is small. When God loves it manifests or makes itself plainly seen hence the Incarnation. If His life is in us then love is in us and it must clearly manifest itself or it is not there at all and we are deceived. That may cause some to wince and say, "Ouch!" but it is the truth.
The joy and sheer thrill of this is that we did not have to love Him first or to be a loving people first to know Him. If either were a prerequisite to knowing God, we all would fail. God loved us first! God took the initiative and sent His Son because of His love. While we were unloving and fist shaking sinners Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8) Hallelujah for the Cross and the love of God!!
So, here is the logic for loving the brethren. God loved us first and sent His Son to be the propitiation or payment for our sins while we were sinning for all we were worth. He saved us and put His nature in us and that nature is love. Know love know God. No love, no God. Therefore, if we know God and His love it is natural that we would love our brethren. If I look at all that the love of God has done for me how can I not love another person for whom Christ died?
No man has seen God at any time. Adam and Eve walked with a pre-incarnate Christ as did Enoch, Abraham and Joshua. Moses saw his hinder parts. Isaiah saw Christ high and lifted up, but no man has seen the Trinity. Christ could say that having seen Him they had seen the Father because Christ and the Father share the same essence with separate personalities but they had not physically seen the Father or the Holy Spirit. We will not see the complete Trinity until we arrive in Heaven. Then we will see God as we are seen.
Despite all that He dwells or lives with us. If we love one another His love is perfected or consummated in us. That is another manifestation of His love and proof of our life in Him. It is how we know that we know Him. We must love the brethren because there is no abundant life and assurance without it. (Vs. 13-16)