The idea that Christians are to love each other seems obvious. Yet, it seems that this verse has never crossed the threshold of the page to the heart of many believers. But here it is, plain as day. Hating the thing that God has made, loves, and died for, but claiming to love God is simply untenable. This dichotomy simply cannot logically abide. To love God is to love what God loves. Yet many believers have a reversed polarity about love. They have erroneously concluded that God loves us because of our innate value, or that he loves us because it is the moral thing to do. But the truth is that we are loved because of God’s character, not our value. It is the fact that God loves that gives us our value. And the morality of love is formed around the fact of his love. It does not inform it, it creates it. True love is not only proven by Christ, but it is also demonstrably simple. John notes that we can actually judge its veracity. If we do love, then we will love. This is simple but there is one more aspect to consider. Loving others can be a barometer, not just to others, but to ourselves as well. If we cannot love those we can see… a task which is in comparison simple because it is finite, how can we love a god whom we cannot? In a finite way, our compassion, affection, and goodwill toward others is eternally useful. It demonstrates who we actually are beyond our claims. Christians love image-bearers… especially other Christians. Any Christian who thinks he can be Christian without loving others is, according to John, a liar. It may seem offensive in today’s self-impressed rhetorical culture, but it is that simple.
This post first appeared on JoshMcGary.com