Thursday, March 17, 2005

Believing the Love

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16)
Notice that he is not simply saying, “We have known and believed God.” Rather, he says, “We have known and believed the love that God has for us.”

This knowledge is not theoretical, but experiential. John is declaring that we have experienced the love God has for us. And in experiencing the love of God, we have experienced God Himself, for God IS Love.

The author of Hebrews said, “He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). John is not the author of Hebrews, but if the Holy Spirit had used him to write it, I believe this verse might well have read, “He who comes to God must believe that He is Love.” And then we would see clearly that the reward that comes to those who diligently seek God actually comes forth from His love — and is there anything that love withholds from its beloved?

There is a great confidence that comes from experiencing the love of God. To paraphrase, We have experientially known and entrusted ourselves to the love God has for us. When we open ourselves to the love God has for us, there is no doubt. All the questions are settled. We quietly abide in faith and in God.

Paul said that faith expresses itself through love (Galatians5:6). This is because, in a very real sense, faith is created and formed by love. In another place, Paul said that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Since God is Love, we may also say it this way: Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Love.

We abide in faith, we abide in love, we abide in God.