This Is How We Know Love

February 22nd, 2023 – Wednesday Afternoon

“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us…” ~1 John 3:16a

Last time we marveled at the love of the Father who has adopted us as His children in Christ; today, several verses later in the same chapter, we find this reminder. Why? Aren’t these kinds of passages basically the same thing reiterated over and over again in a slightly different manner?
For starters, the fact that there are similarities and repetitions cannot be denied; God’s love for us in Christ is spoken of again and again throughout the Bible. It is the major theme of the New Testament and the revealing of Christ and God’s purpose in Him was the promised fulfillment of the Old. That being said, it should be noted that there are many references that are nearly identical or at least very much alike in all of Scripture about many different things as well. The reason is that we are forgetful creatures who need reminder. We are forgetful beings who need to be reminded. We need reminding of the truths of God because our natural tendencies have been damaged by sin and lead us to laziness, forgetfulness, and deceit.

So, here in 1 John 3 we have another of those reminders…”We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us.” The question shouldn’t be why do we have this reminder, but do we understand it? John’s letters are filled with the love of God – His love toward us and others, our love towards Him (or lack thereof), and our love for others (or the lack thereof). In future devotionals, Lord willing, we will look in more depth at some of the commands that we as believers have been charged with in regards to the love of God. For now, though, let us pause and comprehend this: Do we know love?

Notice the passage above doesn’t say “we know what love is by this…”; it says “we know love by this”. Semantics? Perhaps. Yet, there seems to be a difference; knowing what something consists of is very different than knowing the consistency of something intimately. We might be able to comprehend some of the characteristics of love, for instance, but that is different than experiencing love ourselves. We, as children of God, KNOW love intimately because Christ laid down His life for us (oh, what a wonderful and terrible thing!) – opening the door for relationship with the Father and EVERYTHING that He is and offers. We know what love is, for sure, but we also have experienced His love firsthand and without limit. His love has been poured out in our hearts because Jesus died in our place!

Do you know love? Not the mushy-gushy kind or the fake feel-good poison that the world offers, but the genuine, deep, and selfless love of God in Christ? How awesome it truly is to think of the God who spoke light into darkness and who created everything that exists…laying down His life for puny, wretched, and rebellious sinners like we all once were! Let us praise Him together and know (and reflect) His love still more!