Thursday, August 6, 2009

8-6- I John 4:19-21- God's Love Inspires Love for Others

Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

8/6- I John 4:19-21

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If we say we love God yet hate a brother or sister, we are liars. For if we do not love a fellow believer, whom we have seen, we cannot love God, whom we have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love one another.

Calvin abridged: As God has anticipated us by his free love, we ought to return to Him in order to love Him. He immediately infers that the love we have for him ought to be shown towards other people. This love cannot exist unless it generates brotherly love. So he says that those who boast that they love God when they hate their fellow believers are liars. The comparison here, ironically, is between the less and the greater and on the surface doesn’t make sense. But were he to say we love not our brethren whom we see, much less can we love God who is invisible [it would make more sense]. But there are two reasons that make what John says true: The first is that the love which God has toward us is form faith and does not flow from sight (I Peter 1:8); and secondly, the love of God is far different from human love; for while God leads his people to love him through his infinite goodness, people are often worthy of hatred. John takes for granted that God offers himself to us in those people who bear his image. Psalm 16:2 says, “My goodness reaches not to thee, O Lord; toward the saints who are on the earth is my love.” Mutual relationship leads to mutual love, except that we are harder than iron. How fallacious it is to say we love God yet not love God’s image before our eyes.
4:21- “and this commandment”- God not only gave us a command to love Him, but he also gave us a command to love our brethren. We must begin with God so that our love will transition to human beings.

Thoughts: It appears to be a part of the design of life that whatever unites human beings also inspires them. The mission trip we are on in Peru unites the group and also inspires us to do the work. We have invested ourselves into the cause and are inspired to love the people here. In a secular sense this is true too. Last night I went to rotary. Three of rotary’s ideals are to fight polio, fight bad water, and to network together around the world. This was evident last night, and we were welcomed. As Christians we recognize God’s love is first- it inspires us, unites us, and elicits love for others from us.

Prayer: Thank you Lord that you show us how to love, and inspire love for others from your love for us.

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