devotion 5 – 27 – 14

Good Morning!I suppose, since it is the day after Memorial Day, it is officially summer! I am reminded of eating watermelon outside, and old swimming holes in the creek.

1 John 4:13-21

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19We love* because he first loved us. 20Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters,* are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister* whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters* also.

Elsewhere, John says that the Spirit testifies within us that we are children of God; here, he speaks again of the testimony of the Spirit. It is through the Spirit at work in us that we are able to know God’s presence, and God’s peace. The confession that Jesus is the Son of God is also the work of the Spirit, as Paul also says in 1 Corinthians 12:3, “Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.”

In short, it is not the proclamation that makes one a Christian, but being a follower, knowing the love of Christ in our hearts, having the Spirit within, that enables the proclamation. When we live in God’s love, then God’s love lives in us. We can move on towards perfection – in love.

There is no fear of judgement among those who know this love, for perfect love drives out fear. How can we fear when we know how much God loves us? We love because he first loved us. Jesus showed us his love by dying for us – there is no greater love.

However, if we say that we love God but hate a brother or sister – here the author means another member of the community to whom he is writing, and we can extrapolate to another member of our church community, but also to other brothers and sisters within the worldwide human family – if we say we love God, but hate another human being, then we lie, for how can we love God, whom we cannot see while we hate another human being, whom we do see? His commandment is that we love one another.

This is really the message of this letter – that we should love one another. We live in the light through love. Love is truth. Hate is a lie, and darkness. These metaphors repeat throughout the letter, as does the admonition to love.

The attached photo is of the interior, the altar over the traditional crucifixion site, of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

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