7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
This is a continuation of the last post – 1 John 1:5-7 “Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness”. The early message of God being light, that we should be walking in light, and by doing so, we will have fellowship with one another, is restated in another way. God is love (light) and love (light) comes from God. Everyone who loves (i.e. walks in light) has been born of God and knows God (i.e. has relationship with the Father). Whoever does not love (walks in darkness) does not know God, because God is love (light).
In verse 9, we see that God showed His love among us; He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. Let’s think about what this says. God loves you and me, recognizing that we have limitations as human beings. We have a hard time understanding who God is and being able to grasp God’s character. So God sends His Son (John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”) so that we could get a physical, human representation of God. Jesus was the perfect manifestation of the character of God. What were the characteristics of Jesus? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These were the characteristics modeled by Jesus, and these are the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Jesus also modeled humility, servanthood, and truth. These are the characteristics for each of us to develop to walk in the light.
Unfortunately, we live in a world that doesn’t esteem these characteristics. The world is full of impatience, pride, cynicism, sarcasm, hatred, jealousy, abuse, selfishness, instability, and relativism. To walk in the light, we have to repel these characteristics and adopt the characteristics of Jesus (Romans 12:2 – “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”).
Let’s finish this message from 1 John with the final verses 10-12. We know Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but the message in verse 10 is that He loved us first; His love is unconditional. And because of this overwhelming love of God, we should love one another. Finally, verse 12 reiterates that none of us have physically seen the Father, but if we choose to love one another, God lives in us and makes His love complete in us. When we are filled with God’s love the result is we are full of joy! That joy through God’s love trumps hatred, trumps depression, trumps jealousy, trumps pride, and trumps cynicism and criticism from others. We are transformed and we are able to see the world through a different lens. The things the world holds important, just aren’t as important to us when we walk in the light. This new lens allows us to deal with struggles we face from a new perspective that releases the stress because our focus is on eternal things, not temporal or worldly things.