"Love each other like I love you. That's how you prove you love Me."
Scratching the Surface
The Distinctive Christian Ethic
1 John 4:7-8 is chastening, challenging, and convicting.
It is one of the many texts in Holy Scripture that declares the distinctive Christian ethic: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God.”
The word for love in the New Testament is precise.
It means praying and working for the highest good of others no matter who, what, where, when, or even why without the need or expectation for response, regard, or reward.
Well, unconditional as behavior from Christians for others; but conditional for Christians as confirmation of closeness to Jesus.
Putting it another way, agape is very conditional for Christians in that unconditional love for others is a condition of being a Christian.
Simply, we’re supposed to love in an agape kinda way.
Here’s the kicker: “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
God is divine agape.
John 3:16 comes to mind: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
The same word for love – agape – is used to describe how God loves us.
Simply, God expects from us for others what He has done for us in Himself as sealed by Jesus.
That’s why Jesus said, “Love each other just as much as I have loved you!”
Agape is the distinctive Christian ethic.
It is how God loves us and how we love others to prove we love God.
If we do, we do!
If we don’t, we don’t.
It’s that simple when it comes to confirming Christian belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior by behaving commensurate to Him being Lord and Savior.
Herbert Lockyer wrote, “The badge of true and effective discipleship is love among ourselves as fellow believers…We are liars if we profess to love God yet hate a sister or brother…In the early days of the church, when the disciples had a deeper concern for each other, the surrounding heathen would admiringly say, ‘See how these Christians love one another!’ Now the same phrase is uttered with bitter sarcasm by the world that sees the feuds, unhappy divisions, and acrimony among those who profess to be lovers of God. Jesus said that to love one another as He has loved us is the new commandment.”
Simply, love God by being kind to one another.
If we do, it proves we love God.
If not, not.
Blessings and Love!
A great example of agape is the amazing scene at the end of the 1996 movie "Marvin’s Room." Bessie, played by Diane Keaton, has cared for her ill father and her aunt for 20 years. After learning that she has leukemia, she receives a visit from her estranged sister Lee, played by Meryl Streep. Bessie tells Lee, “I’ve been lucky to have had so much love in my life.” Lee says yes, her father and her aunt really do love her. Bessie seems taken aback for a moment. Her sister doesn’t get it. DUH! Bessie doesn’t mean she’s lucky to be loved. She means she is lucky to have had so much love to give to others.
Lucky to love. What an amazing perspective. If we are full of God’s love, it will overflow to others.
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