“The Key Truth” ( 1 John 4: 16, HCSB ) by Carley Evans

“And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.”

Knowing God is love, and that He loves us is key. Some say knowing God is holy and that He expects holiness from us is key; but I say understanding “God is love” and that He thoroughly loves us is the key truth of the Christian life.

Paul prays “that [God] may grant [us], according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, and that the Messiah may dwell in [our] hearts through faith.” Paul prays, “that [we], being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that [we] may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3: 16 – 19)

When we know God loves us, then we are “filled with all the fullness of God.” God’s love through Christ Jesus is “our peace.” Jesus “makes of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations.” (Ephesians 2: 14, 15) Instead, Jesus reconciles us to God through the shedding of His own blood. His willingness to die for us proves the level of His love for us.

“For while we are still helpless, at the appointed time, Christ dies for the ungodly. For rarely does someone die for a just person — though for a good person perhaps someone may even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we are still sinners, Christ dies for us!” (Romans 5: 6 – 8)

When it comes to God’s love of us, we do not even need to rely on faith; we have proof. This key truth — that God is love, and that He loves us — enables us to walk through the Christian life with confidence. We have the Lord; what can man do to us?

“By The Holy Spirit” ( 1 Corinthians 12: 3, HCSB ) by Carley Evans

“No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord.’ except by the Holy Spirit.”

“This is the message of faith we proclaim: If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord.’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you are saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10: 8 – 10)

God the Holy Spirit draws us to Christ; and Christ reconciles us to God the Father. So, our salvation is the work of the Lord — through a gift of faith. “For [we] are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from [ourselves;] it is God’s gift — not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2: 8 – 10)

Being created in Christ Jesus, we are God’s children. And “this is how we know that we remain in Him and He in us: He gives assurance to us from His Spirit… Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God — God remains in him and he in God. And we come to know and to believe the love that God has for us, God is love.” (1 John 4: 13, 15 – 16)

God is love; He loves us like a father loves, cares for, protects his children. “There is no fear in love; instead perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4: 18)

“Perfected In Us” (John 13: 34 – 35; 1 John 4: 10; ESV) by Carley Evans

“By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another,” says Jesus.

The author of 1 John reminds us that LoVe is of God, for it is not that we love Him but that He loves us. We know the essence of LoVe in that Jesus gave up “His life for us.” (1 John 3: 16)

“LoVe is from God.” (1 John 4: 7)

If we seek to change the world’s view of us and of God, then we will treat one another with humility, kindness, respect, thoughtfulness, courtesy, honesty, gentleness, and love. If we say, “I love God,” but treat our brothers and sisters in Christ with contempt, anger, distrust, disrespect, rudeness, and hatred, then we present God as irrelevant to the world; for we show that He is irrelevant to us, in this case.

God’s “LoVe is perfected in us” as we love one another. (1 John 4: 12)

In a real sense, we have an opportunity to reflect the LoVe of God to the world. Instead, so often, we present God as back-biting, mean, hateful, vengeful, slanderous, discourteous, angry, and out of touch.

Dearest brothers and sisters in Christ, let us set aside hatred of self and others, and let us fill our hearts with God’s LoVe, reminding ourselves and one another how Jesus lays down His life for us and for the world.

We love because He first loves us.