Gracefully Truthful


Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

1 John 4:9-12

God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

11 Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is made complete in us.

The Original Intent

1) How was God’s love revealed to us? (verse 9)

In this passage, John tells us directly that God revealed His love for humanity by sending His one and only Son into the world. (verse 9)

He goes on to say that the purpose behind the sending was that we, humans, might gain life, meaning eternal, abundant life, through Him. In another book of the Bible, the Gospel of John, the same disciple tells us the same thing but with greater explanation.

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world in this way: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” God shows His love by giving Himself on our behalf. Though we rebel against Him, He chose to love us while we hated Him. (Romans 5:8)

The Everyday Application

1) How was God’s love revealed to us? (verse 9)

When we look back to Genesis 3, we see how humanity chose sin over God and broke our relationship with Him from the beginning. That decision had consequences for all eternity. (Romans 6:23)

But God desired to restore what had been broken and wanted to offer forgiveness to all of humanity. (Ephesians 1:7-10) He revealed His great love for us by sending His son. (1 John 4:9) He sent His Son to this earth to reconcile humanity back to Himself by removing the consequence of our sin as He paid our debt through His own sacrificial death on our behalf.

He then gave us the ministry of reconciliation in the ultimate model by giving His one and only Son. (2 Corinthians 5:17-20) Humanity chose sin and death, but God chose life and love.

The Original Intent

2) What does God’s love consist of? (verse 10)

In verse 10, John explains why God would send His Son to live in the flesh and it is out of a love for humanity that He choose this sacrifice. “Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

When John says, “not that we loved God”, it’s the teaching that we can bring nothing to the table when it comes to being right with God. Humans are impossibly trapped in sin and require a sacrifice to be made right before God. (Romans 3:23-24) In order for us to be in right relationship with God, Jesus became the perfect sacrifice. (Romans 5:1)

One of the greatest aspects of His love is it is just there for the taking because of Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection. (Romans 5:8) There is nothing we can do to earn it or deserve it.

The Everyday Application

2) What does God’s love consist of? (verse 10)

God’s love isn’t something we can easily comprehend. We do not naturally reach for it, or even desire it, in our own strength. Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you.” (John 15:16)

Rather than us reaching for Him, in our brokenness, God’s love finds us. God sent his Son to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10) As a good shepherd goes after a lost sheep, our Good Shepherd seeks to find us, bring us into the fold, give us rest, and lead us in a life following Him despite our natural desire to spurn His love. (Psalm 23:1-3, Matthew 18:10-14)

In His kindness, He brought about reconciliation and an outpouring of the Spirit in our life which holds us in promise until the day of His return. (Titus 3:4-7)

The Original Intent

3) What does God’s love prompt in us? (verse 11)

John tells us in this passage that because God loved us in this way, we must also love one another. (1 John 4:11) We are reborn by His Spirit that we might live by His Spirit! (Galatians 5:16-26)

During His ministry on earth, Jesus told us that loving God and loving others were the two most important commands. (Matthew 22:37) Here, in his letter, John is restating what he had learned firsthand from Christ. Jesus told His disciples, with His words and His actions, that the world would recognize Him by His disciples’ love for one another. (John 13:34-35)

When we love others sacrificially and unconditionally as Jesus loved us, we are making Him known to the world who is lost without Him!

The Everyday Application

3) What does God’s love prompt in us? (verse 11)

God’s love transforms our hearts to love as He loved. (1 John 4:12) Paul, when addressing the Colossians, tells them God’s children should look different and are to clothe themselves with a new identity that involves intentional actions and choices. (Colossians 3:12-14) “Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (Colossians 3:14)

Every day, we have choices to make in how we treat others. The love of Christ should compel us to love others as He loves and seek reconciliation in a broken world; as believers, we are His ambassadors of love and kindness. (2 Corinthians 5:11-21, Philemon 1:8-9)

The Original Intent

4) What happens if we love one another? (verse 12)

God’s love is made complete in us when we love each other. (verse 12) His love has accomplished its work when we have learned to love like Him, reflecting His glory back to Him through loving others. God’s mission in a believer’s life is to shape us to be like the Son who gave His life for us and lives to intercede for us. (Romans 8:29)

John tells us that no one has seen God, but when we love others like God loves us, we show Him to others. (John 13:34-35) Our love, fueled by God’s love in us, demonstrates what God is like in everyday life to others.

When we live ordinary lives fueled by divine love, God’s love is completing its missional work in us and we find ourselves abundantly satisfied and peaceful! “Do what you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9)

The Everyday Application

4) What happens if we love one another? (verse 12)

God is love and in Him we have the ability to love others as He loved us. When we dwell with Him by learning from Him through His word and His people, we learn to love like Him as the Spirit teaches us. John tells us that perfect love casts out all fear. (1 John 4:16-19)

In dwelling with Christ, fear’s presence is overcome by love’s reign, chaos is cast out by the residence of peace, and brokenness is made whole.

When we exhibit this love to the people around us, those who love us well and those who don’t, we hold out the kind of love only God can initiate and cultivate.

By loving others in the love of Christ, we represent God to our brothers and sisters to encourage their walk in the Lord, but we also put the Gospel on display for those who do not know Him. Such deep and wide benefits of choosing to intentionally dwell with the Lord Jesus for ourselves, feasting on His love!

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