Skip to comments.God Is (Holy) Love...I John
Posted on 06/13/2011 11:38:24 PM PDT by pastorbillrandles
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.( I John 4:7-8)
The Apostle John wrote his first epistle to those in the church who had been confused and demoralized by mystical, experience based christianity.
The true knowledge of God is what John set out to re-establish, for the false teachers had been able to supplant the christian understanding of what it means to know the Lord with their own sensual, pseudo spiritual version of knowing God.This is why John is always reminding us of what we know.
These gnostics, ie knowing ones claimed a special revelation of God, above and beyond the simple christ centered, scripture based faith of everyday christians, which they demeaned as elementary, dull, and unspiritual.
Johns antidote is to remind us in simple propositions, of the only true God, and eternal life. God is Light God is Love and Jesus Christ has come (and remains) in the flesh. Out of this threefold theology, John will present us with tests , moral, doctrinal, and relational, that we may know whether we have eternal life.
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.(I John 5;12)
We look now to the second of these propositions. God is Love. The true Gods nature is Love.
Perhaps this is the most familiar yet misunderstood statements in all of the Bible. God is Love. What do we mean by this statement? What is the nature of the Love that is proclaimed here?
The Revelation that God is Love is not to be understood in isolation to the rest of the Epistle. Obviously this is not all that the Bible says of God.
God is Light, also, for God is never part anything. God is utterly self consistent, he is One. Therefore He is Light, and Love, simultaneously. Absolutely Holy, and absolutely merciful, gracious and loving.
Gods nature is to Love. He ever desires to give, He is pleased to communicate, to share, to know and be known by man. He is always the initiator, reaching out, giving, removing the obstacles that fallen and unworthy man has erected. We Love Him , because He first loved us.
The Love wherewith God loves us, is not to be confused with love as this humanistic age has understood the term. Gods Love can only be understood in the context of Gods other perfections.
Gods love is Holy Love. He has loved us, but could only save us in a fashion consistent with His own nature. In order to justify sinners His love compelled Him to offer a propitiation,(a satisfaction offering).
Since God is indivisible by nature, everything He does, is done in Love, creation, judgment and salvation are all acts of Love. God is Love.
But that Love is not a mystical spiritualised Love. Rather it is concrete, real, in the flesh. There is a three-fold description of what Love is, in First John-
* Love is defined by the Incarnation-
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.(I John 4:9)
Love , as defined by God , is Jesus humbling himself, leaving heaven and coming to us in our need(for Life) to save us. Love is also the Father, releasing Jesus to come to us as an offering to himself.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (I John 4;10)
Note that Divine Love isnt humanistic, its not something that originates with man, God loved us first. all else is response or rejection.
* Love is sacrifice of self for the object of Love-
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.(I John 3:16)
Notice that Love isnt a feeling, it is an action, a self denial on behalf of others. Jesus laid down his life for us. He put aside his own interests, cares, safety and comfort, because we needed Him to, even before we realized and appreciated it!
* Love is being adopted by God-
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God (I John 3:1)
Christians have received a new kind of love, for the Father above has taken action, sending His Son laying down his life, and bringing us into the communion of Father,Son and Holy Spirit!
The world couldnt know, except by revelation of Jesus the beauty and blessing of this Love. Agape is truly transformative. The contemplation of Gods love is the reason for the changed life.
The true reception of Holy Love changes everything, from darkness to light, from bitterness to love and forgiveness, from taking to giving, from vileness to wholesome and pleasant thinking, Holy love is the fount of holiness.
Your article reminded me of something I heard years ago. It is about God and Love.
“God does not love us because we are good. God loves us because he is good.”
1 John 4:19 Let us therefore love God, because God first hath loved us.
a very evocative epistle.
Good Article PBR
Give thanks to the God, because He is good; His love is eternal.Psalm 106:1
“Just as the thought of fire does not warm the body, so faith without love does not actualize the light of spiritual knowledge in the soul.”From St. Maximos the Confessor
From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pgs, 319-320)....
“Great is Your love, O Lord: You have wholly spent Yourself out of love for me. I gaze upon the cross and marvel at Your love to me and to the world, for the cross is the evident token of Your love to us. ‘Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ (Jn. 15:13). Your life-giving Mysteries, Lord, serve as a perpetual glorious proof of Your love for us sinners; for this Your Divine Body was broken for me, for us all, and this Blood was poured out for me, for us all. Lord, I glorify the wonders accomplished by Your Holy Mysteries upon Your believers, to whom I have ministered Them; I glorify the innumerable cures of which I was witness; I glorify Their all-saving action in myself. I glorify Your mercy to me, revealed to me in Them and through Them, and Your life-giving power, acting in Them. Lord, in return for Your great love, grant that I may love You with all my heart, and my neighbor as myself, grant that I may also love my enemies, and not only those who love me.”
God is indeed holy, but love - yes, even love - is being subverted and perverted in our day until it’s nothing but the religious form of political correctness.
To jerk the discussion back to reality, this scripture: “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” - Romans 11:22
Those who know God realize He has these dimensions. Those who don’t know Him say “love love love” (like a Liberal slogan!) without ever considering the rest of the context. Our God is a consuming fire! (Hebrews 12:29)
Ex15:13 In your(G-ds) unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed.
EX20:6 showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
EX34:6..the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.
Num14:18 The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. 19 In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.
Deut7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers.
Deut33:3 Surely it is you who love the people; all the holy ones are in your hand.
1Chrn16:Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
2Chrn5:Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: He is good; his love endures forever. Then the temple of the LORD was filled with the cloud,
2Chrn6:14 He said: LORD, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earthyou who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.
Neh1:5Then I said: LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,
Neh9:17They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them,
Neh 13:22Remember me for this also, my God, and show mercy to me according to your great love.
Ps5:7But I, by your great love, can come into your house; in reverence I bow down toward your holy temple.
Ps6Turn, LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.
Ps62:12and with you, Lord, is unfailing love; and, You reward everyone according to what they have done.
Psalm 136 1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. 2 Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. 3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. 4 to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. 5 who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. 6 who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever. 7 who made the great lights His love endures forever. 8 the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever. 9 the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever. 10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt His love endures forever. 11 and brought Israel out from among them His love endures forever. 12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever. 13 to him who divided the Red Sea[a] asunder His love endures forever. 14 and brought Israel through the midst of it, His love endures forever. 15 but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea; His love endures forever. 16 to him who led his people through the wilderness; His love endures forever. 17 to him who struck down great kings, His love endures forever. 18 and killed mighty kings His love endures forever. 19 Sihon king of the Amorites His love endures forever. 20 and Og king of Bashan His love endures forever. 21 and gave their land as an inheritance, His love endures forever. 22 an inheritance to his servant Israel. His love endures forever. 23 He remembered us in our low estate His love endures forever. 24 and freed us from our enemies. His love endures forever. 25 He gives food to every creature. His love endures forever. 26 Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.
Lam3:22Because of the LORDs great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
Dan9:4I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,
Jonah4:2I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.
Zeph3:17The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.
This list is by no means exhaustive...but shows that G-ds love has always been there. He shows love in abundance, love evelasting, merciful, compassionate, forgiving, protective...his love endures forever!
There are some that say Grace and Gospel only exist in the NT. I would say that Law and Gospel, Sin and Grace are terms that apply in abundance to the OT. The Torah and Tanach ARE the original gospel of G-d.
I couldn’t have said it better, those who say that grace is only in the New Testament are Marcionites or gnostics. There is continuity, for the Lord never changes,
Then you write: The Apostle John wrote his first epistle to those in the church who had been confused and demoralized by mystical, experience based christianity.
So John links loving one another with knowing God, because the common experience, love, comes from God.
Yet in your very first sentence, you attack this teaching of the universality of love a "confused and demoralized ... experienced based christianity."
This is incredible. Most people would never let themselves be caught openly coming between a person's experience of God's love, but you write an entire essay on how people need to reject - of all things - love itself, and the experience of God's love itself - in favor of YOUR mincing definitions of love.
Once again, John: "let us love one another: for love is of God."
Wow, that's really hard to understand, right? John is plainly saying: "look, when I talk about God's love, I mean the love we feel for one another, not some mystical definition somewhere." In other words, John is specifically warning people away from the Pastor Bill Randles of the world, who will seek to turn them away from the love in their hearts, that comes from God - and instead confuse and demoralize them against themselves and towards the dry definitions of their own lovelessness.
John is saying - NO - listen to your own heart, your own experience, not some preacher. That exeprience of love in you IS FROM GOD.
And then John gets very specific about who is who - he says: "and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." So that experience of love isn't just from God, it's the experience of God.
Which makes sense - why would God need a preacher? God's love itself is God's teaching, and the human heart was made by God to experience it. And as John says, that experience is the SAME as when we love each other.
John isn't writing about love in this quote - he's warning against preachers who would DARE define love away from the experience of the human heart, that people have for each other, as somehow being base, rather from God.
YOU, "Pastor" Bill Randles, are REVERSING the teaching of John in this scripture. You are the type of person John is WARNING us about in this scripture.
Religiously speaking, you are a menace. And I mean that quite specifically, for John here concludes: He that loveth not knoweth not God. For no one who attacks John's teaching of God's love being the love we feel for each other, loves. To the contrary, such a person is attacking God's love at it's very root - at the very experience of it.
To do this is perhaps the greatest sin of all. For faith in God is through the experience of God's love, and it is that very experience, the root of faith itself, that you are seeking to undermine, confuse, demoralize and claim the power of control over.
Beware. Jesus warned people like you in the clearest possible terms: "But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." - Matthew 18:6
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.( I John 3:18)
The gnostics(Experienced based christians) were spiritualizing everything, even Love. They advocated a "spiritual love" which never translated into actual concrete love in deed and in truth.