August 14, 2018
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 14 August 2018
"Light," "love," and "life" are the characteristic words found in First John. The first two chapters emphasize “that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1:5). The purity of God’s nature is the reason why those who sin need “an Advocate” (2:2). The next two chapters emphasize “how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God” (3:1). On the basis of a vital union with Jesus Christ, the children of God have divine love “perfected . . . so we may confidence” when the Lord returns again (4:17). First John 5 emphasizes how that eternal life is received. First John 4 reveals that love is not only a practical truth of Christianity, but also a practical test for having the confidence that one is indeed a child of God.
True, biblical love is not anemic or wimpish. The greatest display of love is the Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death (4:10). The believer’s response to the work of Jesus Christ is faith and repentance. Jesus gave his life on the cross of Calvary as “propitiation for our sins.” God solved our problem at his expense! Therefore, “if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (4:11). The standard of love is God. If we want to know what is the character of God, we have an objective example of his love based upon what He did in sending his Son.
Matthew 22:36-39 – “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to [the lawyer], “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD. . . .’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’
The love of God accomplished its purpose. Those trusting in Him have no fear of “the day of judgment” (4:17; cf. 2:28). The love of God gives “confidence” to the child of God that they truly belong to the Lord, “because as He is, so also are we in the this world” (4:17). Not only may a child of God have confidence before the Judgment Seat of God, but also can live a life that expresses that confidence. If God’s love was so great that He sent “His only begotten Son,” then He will certainly guide those who “live through Him,” even as they are “in this world” (4:9, 17-18).
God first loved and made a relationship with Him possible (4:19). The refutation of false teachers and prophets (antichrists) is made in verse 20. “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar.” Proving whether we love God is difficult because we cannot see Him. However, we can prove our love for God — to others and ourselves — by the love we express toward those we can see. For this reason, we have a verifiable command: “the one who loves God should love his brother also” (4:21).
Believers in Christ are engaged in a spiritual battle against the forces of darkness (cf. Eph 6:10-17). Knowing that we have a “band of brothers/sisters” in Christ who are battling with us is wonderfully comforting. First John tells us how to discern those who are our brothers/sisters from those who are not. We are also given a practical truth and test to evaluate whether our claim to know and love God is true. Being certain therein is crucial to know whether we truly “have eternal life” (5:13). Those who know God have great blessing and responsibility for obeying the Great Commandment (Matt 22:36-39).
Your Missionary to Georgia's Leaders,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.