On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany, launching the Reformation. Five centuries later, many German Christians have been inspired by his teachings to offer safe haven to refugees. Because they have been so loved by God, they want to love others in need. After all, Luther himself was a refugee, fleeing for his life from Catholic authorities.
This is one practical example of how we can put God’s love into action. John tells us that love and obedience are characteristics of God’s family (vv. 7–8). Love comes from God, and God’s children do God-things. We can only do God-things because we’ve been born of God and know God. That’s the cause—love is the result. Those who don’t love don’t know God, because “God is love.” It doesn’t get simpler than that.
How do we know God is love? Because He sent His Son for our redemption, to be the “atoning sacrifice for our sins” (vv. 9–10; John 3:16). We owed a penalty of death, but now we “live through him.” Human love pales by comparison. God’s love is not an abstract quality or virtue. He is love.
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (v. 11). God loved us when we were powerless to help ourselves, when we were still His enemies (Rom. 5:6–8). When we love one another, we make the invisible God visible to the world, that is, we call the world’s attention to His glory and the gospel of Jesus Christ (v. 12; see also John 1:18). His love is “made complete in us,” expressed in our love for one another.
>> How will you put God’s love in action today? Perhaps you could join in a ministry to refugees, prison inmates, or another group. Ask God to show you a new way you can extend His love to others.
Your love revolves around life and death. Loving us in our spiritual deadness, You gave Your Son up to death to secure life for us. Turn our hearts to those who are spiritually dead but are ready to respond to Your love.