March 15th, 2023 – Early Wednesday Evening
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” ~1 John 4:11
Last time we looked at the context that precedes our passage today in what was another glorious reminder of the love of God. That reminder, found in verses 9 & 10 of this same chapter, focused our attention on the love of God for us through Christ Jesus. We were dead in our sin, but God has given us life in Christ; we were hopeless (and helpless) rebels against Him, but He loved us and provided the atoning sacrifice necessary for us to be forgiven, set free, and adopted as children of God.
The depth of God’s love is reflected in how John says “if God so loved us”. The word translated “so” in the Greek is not just a shoe-in word; rather, it highlights the magnitude or intensity of God’s love. It is the same word used in John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world…”) to convey the demonstration of God’s love through the giving of His only Son. God has so loved us – in action and in depth – and our undeserving nature and reprehensible sin only serve to magnify that reality.
Therefore, if God has demonstrated such love for us and to us, John says above, “we also ought to love one another.” This statement is a hinge statement, so to speak; if this such and such is true, then this such and such also must be true. If God so loved us (and He has), then we also ought (the Greek word has the meaning of being bound by duty or obligated to) love one another. (This if-then truth is reiterate over and over again throughout John’s letter and it strongly indicates that to deny such an obligation is to deny the love of the Father.) To put it another way, because we have been loved by God to such a degree (and we know it), we must demonstrate His kind of love to our fellow believers.
My beloved brethren, the love of God for us in Christ Jesus is awesome in every way! We will never have to love anyone to the same depth of intensity to which He has loved us (i.e. we cannot take Christ’s place), but we can and must love others with His intentionality, attitude, and action. Let us worship Him in awe and thanksgiving as we understand His love more and more and joyfully choose to love one another by His grace and for His glory.