1 John 4:6b-8

In 1 John 4:6b-8 we are reminded that not only is the Spirit a way to validate where truth truly comes from, but also in how the world reacts.  “That is another way to know whether a message is really from God; for if it is, the world won’t listen to it”. Understanding just who hears what God has taught us through the apostles, as recorded in the New Testament, helps us to know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Knowing truth has nothing to do with how smart we are. We keep in the spirit of truth by clinging to Jesus, the One who said I am the truth.  He alone is the source and filter for truth.

After focusing the first part of this chapter around knowing truth versus the lies of the enemy, John turns his attention to another theme he has preached over and over in his books – LOVE.  Dear friends, let us practice loving each other, for love comes from God and those who are loving and kind show that they are the children of God, and that they are getting to know him better”. We are not commanded to love one another to earn or become worthy of God’s love. We love one another because we are loved by God, and have received that love, and live in light of it. Love is an outgrowth of our receiving agape love from an all loving God.

John shows us why it is so important for us to love one another.  If love is of God, then those who claim to be born of God, and claim to know God, must be able to love one another in the body of Christ. While this love is not perfected in the life of a Christian on this side of eternity, it must be present – and it should be growing. You can’t truly grow in your experience of God without also growing love for one another. But if a person isn’t loving and kind, it shows that he doesn’t know God—for God is love”. Love is the true litmus test of whether or not we know God and are a true Christ Follower.  If there isn’t real love for God’s people in your life, then your claim to know God and experience God isn’t true.

The love John speaks of here comes from the ancient Greek word agape; it is the concept of a self-giving love that gives without demanding or expecting re-payment – it is the God-kind of love. John tells us that God is love.  But we must be careful to realize that when we say God is love, we are not saying everything about God. Love is an essential aspect of His character, and colors every aspect of His nature. But it does not eliminate His holiness, His righteousness, or His perfect justice. He will deal with evil and sin as His nature requires, which means sometimes our interaction with Him will not ‘feel’ much like love.  That doesn’t change the truth that God is in fact love!

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