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An Explosion of Love
Some thoughts on 1 John chapter four
Hello again. We’re back in 1 John, and this time our focus is on chapter four. If you thought that John talked a lot about love in chapters 1-3, then get ready for chapter 4! Using Scot McKnight’s translation, we’ll be looking at a connection between 1 John 4:10, 14 and 1 John 2:2. As always, be sure to check out Corri’s post on her blog “Fearless and Joyful.” This post will unlock for free subscribers on Tuesday, September 5th.
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Let’s jump in. First, 1 John 4:10, John writes, “In this is love: not that we have loved God but that he loved us and commissioned his Son as the means of mercy for our sins.” I love this phrasing: means of mercy. The very act of God sending Jesus was a demonstration of God’s eternal love and his omnipotent mercy, which is the way we are saved. The cross of Christ is a manifestation and ultimate revelation of the love of God, not his wrath.
Wrath against the principalities and powers? Perhaps. But wrath towards his son? I don’t see this taught in scripture anywhere. The Father did not turn his face away. The wrath of God was not “satisfied” on the cross as the song suggests. Instead, “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us” (2 Corinthians 5:19).
The other passage is 1 John 4:14, which says, “We have observed and witness that the Father has commissioned the Son as the Kosmos’s Deliverer.”
In other words, the offer of salvation is universal. God really did intend to bless “all nations” through Abraham. The Spirit and the Bride really tell everyone to come and take the water of life as a gift (Revelation 22:17). To me, the idea of a limited atonement limits the limitless love of God. The one who can accomplish more than we could possibly imagine chose to extend Love’s invitation to the whole world.
Both of these passages, verses 10 and 14, are callbacks to an earlier text in 1 John: “He is the means of mercy for our sins, not for ours only but for the whole Kosmos” (1 John 2:2). Though John warns his audience of those who left the family of God to go back into the world, and though he said that the Kosmos hates the Christ, it is still true that “God so loved the Kosmos.”
How do we reconcile this? Well, I think we need to look no further than our own self. At least twice in 1 John, John says, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:10, 19). Reconciliation doesn’t start with us by us hearing or believing the gospel; reconciliation started before the world began when God predetermined the end from the beginning: the ultimate demonstration of love through the Son.
What can we take away from this?
Love others before they love you. Start the process of reconciliation before they even know it. Live with the expectation that God can turn any situation into one that brings glory to him and accomplishes his desire of life for all because Jesus gave his life for all.
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