[CF Devotionals] 2012-12-01 - We Love Because ...

The Epistles of John ~ Part 78 ~ 1 John 4

Speaking the Truth in Love

When doctrinal battles arise in the church, it is easy for love to fly out the door. If one side of the discussion is being presented by those who are in rebellion against God, and therefore unloving by definition, it can be easy for us to fall into the trap of responding with hostility.

When someone in the body gets suckered into toying with false teachings, it is easy to be more frustrated than loving. But it is only when we give truth - correct doctrine - in the context of love, that we see real growth.

God saved us in love. He desires our growth. We help one another grow through love. And John's focus in the passage 1 John 4:7-21 is, that it is love that is the hallmark of the Christian life. His readers could examine the lives of the false prophets. In so doing, they would realize what was missing; it was God's love in the lives of these individuals.

We Love Because …The test of Christian living is the demonstration of God's love. All we do or say should be a testimony to God's love in our lives. Biblical love comes from God. Only God can consistently love us in an unselfish way. God's love is the model for ours.

"… and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Ephesians 5:2).

Referring to the knowledge of God John is not talking about saving knowledge. He is talking about the knowledge which comes in relationship. As we abide in Christ, growing in our knowledge of Him, His love will be manifest in our lives.

Remember, the false teachers had said that knowledge of God was found in esoteric principles, having no correlation to how the recipient of the information lived. John said if we know God, we are His children, and the proof of this is God's love in us.

Verse 8: In contrast with the love demonstrated by God's children, there is no godly love found in the lives of the unbelievers. "Consider," John might say to his readers, "the unloving lives of these teachers influencing you."

This may sound harsh, but the key thought here relates to "godly love." We all know people who appear loving, and by human standards they are, but only God truly knows their hearts. And John says outside of God, true love is impossible. We must never forget: the lost are lost, no matter how they look on the outside.

To be continued.

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