God the Father: Another Perfect Example of Love (1 John 4:8–12)
John tells us that it is God';s nature to love. But he goes a step further in telling us that God Himself is love (1 John 4:8). That means that God in His very essence is love, and it';s a love that needs to be displayed and given away: “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love — not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:9–10).
In what may be the best-known verse in all of the Bible, Jesus told Nicodemus, a Pharisee with whom he had engaged in a deep spiritual conversation, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
The one who knows God knows that it is in His nature to love, to give of Himself, and to extend kindness to even the most lost and hurting sinner. That is what moved Him to send Jesus Christ to earth to die on the cross so that we could be freely forgiven for our sins and adopted into the family of God. It is beyond human ability to fully and adequately explain this love of God, but it is simple to point others to the ultimate display of that love: Jesus Christ on the cross, dying a sacrificial death for unworthy sinners.
When we respond to God the Father';s love — and to the expression of that love through Christ — we become His children and inherit eternal life with Him. But there is a here-and-now aspect to this love. Since God has so loved us and given His Son for us, John says, we should be willing to love one another. After all, he states, if we in whom God lives love one another, God is alive in us and has expressed our love in and through us (1 John 4:11–12).
It has been said that love isn';t love until it is given away. And our heavenly Father has given us a perfect example of what giving away love looks like.
In light of 1 John 4::11–12, what specifically should be your response to the love of God?
How do you think your loving others can more perfectly express the love of God for humankind?