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Daily Devotional 1 John 4:7–21

Perhaps the greatest longing of the human heart is to be loved—to be cherished, cared for, and admired. As we reflect on the many ways in which we live out our love for God, today we acknowledge the foundational truth that He loved us first.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

1 JOHN 4:10

Love is a central theme in the book of 1 John. It’s a pastoral letter, written by the apostle John to the churches under his leadership. His affection for them is evident, since he calls them “beloved” many times. These believers are loved by John. Also, by God.

First John 4:7–21 begins with an exhortation to love one another— the second greatest commandment. Commentators believe that some significant conflict was tearing the church apart, and John was writing to address the rift. Hence, his repeated call for them to love each other.

But John does not expect them to muster up this love in their own strength. Instead, he tells them that their love originates from the ultimate source, from God himself. God does not simply do loving things. He is love. Love is the essence of His being, His defining characteristic.

John supports that truth with the most compelling evidence. God “showed” His magnificent love when He sent Jesus into the world. The Greek word for “showed” (NIV) means to reveal with clarity and detail. The clear and detailed and primary proof of God’s love for us is Jesus—the “atoning sacrifice for our sins” (v. 10). Jesus is God’s most extravagant display of love.

The second example John presents of God’s love is the Holy Spirit (v. 13). The third is our eternal confidence (v. 17) and our ability to live without fear (v. 18). “We love because he first loved us” (v. 19). We are able to love Him and love others only because of Him.

Go Deeper

How do you know God loves you? In what ways does His love enable you to love?

Pray with Us:

“O love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee. I give thee back the life I owe, that in thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.” (George Matheson, 1882)

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