“In Peace With Everyone” ( 1 John 4:20-21, KJV ) by Carley Evans

The Pharisees Question Jesus
The Pharisees

“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”

Not only does Jesus command that we love our brothers but that we love our enemies. I hear a lot about ‘tough’ love, but I don’t recall Jesus ever speaking of a love that’s anything but generous.

Yes, Jesus gets angry with the moneychangers in the temple and He chastises those who would profit from the woes of others. Yes, He scolds the Pharisees whose spiritual pride is a huge stumbling block to their walk with God.

Nevertheless, Jesus tells us to go two miles with the man who would force us to go one mile. He tells us to give our coat to the man who also demands our shoes. As far as it is up to us, Jesus calls us to live in peace with everyone.

Jesus is God. We are not.

“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?

“If Anyone Does Sin” (1 John 2: 1, ESV) by Carley Evans

The author of 1 John writes, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

We are not to live in sin, but if we do fall into sin, then we must remain confident that Jesus is advocating for us because “He always lives to intercede.” Additionally, “the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words…according to the will of God.” (Romans 8: 26 – 27)

Jesus — whether standing before His Father and our Father or sitting beside Him at His right hand — is a shield for us from the wrath of His Father. The anger and hatred of sin which God the Father possesses fell upon Jesus’ body as He remained on the cross of Calvary. Jesus did not remove Himself from this suffering, but stayed the course, bearing its shame and the weight of the sin of the world.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1: 9)

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 1: 28)