Monday, November 5, 2012
1st John Chapter 4 Part 6
4:10-11 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
The prior verse tells us that God’s love was manifested on the cross when Jesus Christ died for our sins. Though verse 9 does not distinctly say this John 3:16 and our present verses fill in the blanks. The crucifixion of our Lord was the act of God giving His Son to be sin for us; in this was love.
Verse 10 begins with “herein is love.” The Greek word for “herein” is “en” and means “(fixed) position (in place, time or state) and instrumentality.” Christ’s sacrifice was the instrument God not only used to save us, but the perpetual, historical evidence of God’s abiding love for us. Herein is love, that God loved us and sent Jesus Christ to be the propitiation for our sins.
If we look back on 1st John 2:2 we find the same wording. “And [Jesus] Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” Propitiation means “satisfactory payment.” Christ’s death makes salvation available for every man, woman and child on the face of the earth who ever has lived or ever will live. He is the satisfactory payment for the whole world and God’s most amazing demonstration of love for mankind. The efficacy of Jesus’ sacrifice only benefits those who appropriate this priceless gift by faith, John 3:16-17; Romans 3:21-22; Ephesians 2:8-9.
John concludes his thought in verse 11 by using this revelation as a motivator for loving our Christian brethren. He says that if God did in fact love in this manner, we ought also to follow suit and love one another in a selfless, sacrificial way. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down his life for his friends,” John 15:13. John surely had his Lord’s words in mind when he wrote “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren,” 1st John 3:16.
This too is what Paul was getting at when he was addressing Christian liberty and fellowship. Twice he writes that love fulfills the OT law, Romans 13:10; Galatians 5:14. The Law defined what a selfless individual would like; by walking in the Spirit and we are given the power to operate within the parameters of the law. The motivation is love; the moral aspects of the law that forbade evil, mischief or violence against one’s neighbor are restrained by God’s love for us reciprocated in our love for others. The fear of the temporal law and its immediate consequences dissolves; it is replaced by a fervent, extroverted love that sacrifices on behalf of others. Such behavior is always commended, 3rd John 1:5-6; Galatians 6:10. There is no law against the manifestation of the Holy Spirit bringing us into conformity with God’s will and manifesting a Christ-like love for believers and this fallen world, Galatians 5:22-23.