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Understanding Christian Love:: 2


Keeping in Stride

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 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 4:7-10, NLT).

The first thing John wants us to know about Christian love is that it originates in the character of God. We are well aware of the fact that God does loving things and that He expresses love on a continuous basis. But what God does comes out of the overflow of who He is. John spoke plainly: “God IS love.” This is foundational to our understanding of Christian love, especially with regards to how we love one another, which is John’s chief concern in this passage. If we are going to genuinely love one another we must love out of who we are. If our love is not character driven, then we run the risk for settling for being “nice.”

Next, John reminds us that love has been demonstrated for us through the sacrifice of God. Think about this for a moment. Every gift says something about the giver and every gift says something about the receiver. When we consider the gift of Jesus, we recognize that God is extravagant, generous, and selfless. When we consider ourselves in light of this priceless gift, we realize that God places high value upon us. We have done nothing deserving of the gift. It has not been earned. It is out of his loving character that God gave his very best to the world, because that’s who He is.

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