I John 4:19; A Devotional

, posted by Martin Glynn

1 John 4:19; We love, because He first loved us.

This is an important relational aspect between us and the Father. Love does not find its origin in our souls, but in the Divine Being. He is love, and He is the subject and the object of it. I shapes it; designs it; defines it. There is no love without Him.

Are are several different contexts to which the verse may be applied, which causes a slightly different understanding of the verse. Ironically, none of these interpretations are wrong theologically.

For instance, one may believe that the verse is referring to two sides of the same relationship. In other words, our love for God is based upon His love for use. Indeed, the KJV and the NKJV render the verse in that way, though there is no auton in the Greek. It is so significant to remember the principal of prevenient grace, that our love for God is itself a gift, something which God Himself enabled within us. Furthermore, that provision of love was, itself, and expression of love, God’s love for us.

Another interpretation is to consider the verse talking about our love for God motivating our love for others. There is strong support for this interpretation within the context, especially verses 20-21. This interpretation comes through strongly in the NLT. We do need to remember that the way we view others around us is ultimately affected by the way that we view God. If we recognize how much God loves them, then it motivates us to love them as well. Perhaps the reason why some Christians are so spurnful to the ones around them is that they have forgotten the God loves the whole world, not not just them.

However, I would prefer a third interpretation. I believe the verse is speaking of love in general. Our very capacity to love, period, is grounded in God’s love. Our love is a reflection of His. With this interpretation, one can see why others come to the other two conclusions, but this has both of them displayed. As the first interpretation says, our love has its source in God’s power and loving acts. However, as the second interpretation says, God’s love is supposed to be a model for our own. Our love should be shaped by Him.

Therefore, let us celebrate God, as both the source and shape of our love. Look to God and see how He loves, and imitate Him. After all, are we called to be like the Son? So do it! Love one another as He loves us, and love Him as He loves us. Keep God to the forefront of your heart, and allow Him to the be motivation and model for all that you do.

In the name of the Lord God,
May faith, hope, and love fill your week.
Amen.