Daily Devotional with Dr. Charles Stanley @ InTouch.org
Thursday, November 10, 2011
The Love of God
Read | 1 John 4:7-21
Most Christians agree that God loves them. We hear catch phrases about this in the church today, and believers often recite Bible verses on this topic. Yet do we really grasp what it means to be cared for in this way by the Creator of the universe?
Let’s explore three aspects of God’s love. First, it is uninfluenced by anything within or around us. We know that even while we were still living in sin, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8); there is simply no greater sacrifice. Nothing we do can hinder God’s love for us—and coming to that realization should lift a burden off your shoulders.
Second, divine love is eternal. Believers will never be separated from it. In fact, Ephesians 1:4 tells us that the Father chose us before the foundation of the world. We know, therefore, that His care for us has always been a fact—and always will be.
Third, we know that God’s love is part of His character (1 John 4:8) and directed toward all people (Matt. 5:45). Yet believers experience it differently from those who do not follow Jesus. Consider what would happen if a patio umbrella shielded part of a garden. When it rains, some flowers might be surrounded by water without actually getting wet. Similarly, a person who doesn’t have a relationship with God isn’t impacted by His love, though it exists and is available.
We can trust the One who loves us intensely and completely. Jesus proved this by dying in our place to spare us the consequences of our sin. He promises to stay with us always and redirects us when we stray. Though we do not always feel His love, it surrounds and protects us forever.
1 John 4
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
Knowing God Through Love
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Seeing God Through Love
12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
The Consummation of Love
17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.
Obedience by Faith
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.