Friday, 14 March 2008

"In this way, love is made complete among us..."

I was very struck this week by a talk on 1 John 4:7-21 at Lancaster University CU this week by verses 16-17.

The verses say this: 'God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement, because in this world we are like him.'

Of course this passage is in the context of the very famous verses about God's love: that God himself is the definition of love, demonstrated through sending the Son as our propitiatory sacrifice. Verses 16-17, however, remind us that God gave his Son not only to save us but so that we might be brought into loving community with him and with others. This is, of course, what God is doing in the world: gathering a people to be his very own for ever, in fellowship with him and treating others in accordance with his character. So often we speak about what we have been saved from; so rarely (it seems) we speak of what we have been saved to: a community of love.

I was also struck by what this means. When we find ourselves loving as God loves, then we can have confidence on the day of judgement. The community love that is made possible through Jesus' atonement and the Holy Spirit's work in our lives gives us deep assurance that we really do belong to God and are his.

I've written before about how evangelicals so often seem to fall short. We soak ourselves in Scripture but so often fail to live in loving community. I found the reminder that this is what we have been saved for as a new spur, with the Spirit's help, to love the unloveable.

No comments: