Our Father is the source of all love (1 Jn 4:7-8). Our Father models what genuine love is (4:9-10). Our Father commands us to love each other (4:11-12). He doesn’t rest in describing His love, but acting upon it through the giving of His Son. His love isn’t a statement, but salvation. It works towards life-giving forgiveness and propitiation. It is love that incarnates in flesh and gets its hands dirtied (bloodied, and pierced). It is love that travels the chasm of man and divine to build a bridge. The builder builds and then instructs we do the same.
God’s love comes full circle in our love for one another. The Christian’s humility and servant-minded foot-washing is not self-sourced, but divinely empowered (4:10). God himself provides THE model for radical love and service of others (Jn 3:16, 1 Jn 3:16). Love and service itself are joined at the hip. It is modeled and perfected in Him. He then tells us the impossible: “if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another,” (4:11). Further still, He tells us although “No one has ever seen God, If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is perfected in us.” He tells us our Christ-modeled love for one another makes God known. Quite a claim!
Yet our good Father not only tells us, shows us, and challenges us to emulate His love. He also empowers us to love. He first forgives, cleanses, and breathes life into us. This is no doing of our own. To attribution to our own goodness or gifts. Then He empowers us. “He has given assurance to us from the His Spirit”. He gives not only His Son, which gives us life, but His Spirit, which gives us power. Power to love as God loves.
To bridge the chasm of man and divine. Sin and salvation. Solitude and solace. Selfishness and sacrifice. Self and service.
“We love because He first loved us.” (4:19).
Happy Fathers Day.