“Love divine, all loves excelling,” begins a classic hymn by Charles Wesley. “Joy of heaven to earth come down, fix in us thy humble dwelling, all thy faithful mercies crown. Jesus, thou art all compassion, pure, unbounded love thou art; visit us with thy salvation, enter every trembling heart.”
God’s love at work within us is one of the key themes of 1 John. Forms of the word “love” appear 43 times in this epistle! John circles back to this theme again and again. You might feel a bit of déjà vu in today’s reading, which begins “This is how we know” (v. 13). What does John want us to know? That we’re truly saved. How do we know? By the Holy Spirit. Again, we are told about the assurance of salvation and the work of the Spirit. So, we know where this is going: As children of God, we can testify to God’s love in sending His Son to be our Savior (v. 14).
We who believe and receive the gospel are born again into God’s family (v. 15). God gives us spiritual life, demonstrated to be real by our love and obedience. “So we know and rely on the love God has for us” (v. 16). “God is love” is the point at which orthodoxy (truthful beliefs) and orthopraxy (righteous actions) reveal how interwoven and inseparable they are. God, love, life, knowledge, truth, salvation, righteousness, obedience—when we walk in the light, these are all together where and how and why we walk.
As we love like God and imitate Jesus, our love is “made complete” or becomes fully fruitful (v. 17). On the day of judgment, we’ll therefore feel no fear or anxiety but rather joy and peace in God’s presence (v. 18).
>> If you wish, sing or listen to the hymn we mentioned in the beginning of this devotional. Or find another song or chorus about God’s love and loving one another. Make walking in the light of God’s love your theme for today.
It is because of Your love, as much as Your holiness and omniscience, that we trust You. In the darkest circumstances of our lives, we have the security of knowing that it is a loving God who is in control of our lives.