Trusting in God’s Love
1 John 4:16
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
I clipped this note from David Guzik’s commentary from 1 John 4 about human responses to God’s love...
1. Some respond with a sense of self-superiority (“I’m so great, even God loves me!”).
2. Some respond with doubt (“Can God really love even me?”).
3. Some respond with wickedness (“God loves me, so I can do what I want”).
4. God wants us to respond by knowing (by experience) and believing the love God has for us.
The first 3 responses hinge on what the person does. The last reaction hinges on reflecting what God has done. So, of course, the last response best for our hearts. But how do we address the first 3 when we come across people who mistakenly have these responses to God’s love?
1. I’m so great, even God loves me! Believers know this is an unbecoming thought for one who follows Jesus. Romans 3:10-12 clearly points out that no one is righteous, and no one does good, not a single one. That’s why we need Jesus in the first place. Only believing in him is how God declared that a person is righteous and good.
But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
2. Can God really love even me? Yes! Some people who live with regret and shame, or who were raised by unforgiving parents struggle with God’s love and acceptance. But 1 John 3:18-20 assures us he loves us unconditionally, because no matter how we feel inside, God is bigger than those strong feelings!
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.
3. God loves me, so I can do what I want. Paul answers this statement with a question: Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Believers must consider themselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus... Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.
4. God wants us to respond by knowing (by experience) and believing the love God has for us. Believers live with what Jesus’ friend, John, calls eager expectation, and that is how we accurately live in God’s love, because we confidently expect him to do what he promises!
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.
(1 John 3:1-3)
Thank you that I know what love is because you invented it and chose to share it with me. You love me just how I am, and I am so thankful that I didn’t have to jump through any arbitrary hoops to receive your love. I’ve enjoyed reflecting on your love this morning and the fact that I can confidently trust your love! I love you so much, and I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.