Love is our most powerful and most abused four letter word. The poet W. H Auden in his famous poem about love wrote: ‘Law like love I say. Like law we often weep, like law we seldom keep.’ Which is why it is worrying when John tells the churches that at the heart of reality is love. We could fear this love is a mirror of our uncertain, frail and sometimes abusive versions love. But the love that John writes about is a sacrifice of atonement that destroys punishment and fulfils all that is good. It is love that is given even when we didn’t want it, even while we were unlovely. It is love that sees us as we are, at our best and worst and sacrifices for us anyway. What God means by love is having our law giver and lover die in our place. This version of love goes deeper than death to heal us and by the Holy Spirit works sacrificial love in us as part of the evidence of God in this world. [Audio | Notes]
For further thought
1 John 4:7-12
Q: What do you mean by the word love? How do you know that is what love means to you?
Q: From these verses; what does God mean by love? How does it compare to what you feel love is?
Q:. In verses 11-12 why is what God means by love, the ultimate apologetic for Christianity?
Q:. Why is Christ our model to imitate in love?