To Know Divine Love (1)
The “3:16” verses show
us that we know divine
love, not when we merely
feel something, but when
we lay down our life
for the brothers
I recently noticed what might be called a “divine coincidence” in the New Testament; it was quite helpful to me as an illustration of the nature of divine love.
Please allow me to ask you a question: which verse in the New Testament is best known for speaking of God’s love to mankind? I think just about every believer would say it is,
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but would have eternal life.”
Of course, this is John 3:16.
But suppose we put a “1” in front of that verse reference; it would then be 1 John 3:16; not the verse in John’s Gospel, but the verse in his first epistle. And that verse says:
We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
So, John 3:16 tells us how God loved us, but 1 John 3:16 tells us what it means to really know God’s love.
It first reminds us that He laid down His life for us, as in the first “3:16”; but then this “3:16” goes on to explain that to know love does not mean we merely have some kind of feeling towards God; it means that, in response to how He loved us, we also lay down our life for the brothers, just as He did for us.
So we know God’s divine love when it works out in us, according to our measure, the same kind of sacrifice that He made for us.
But just what does it mean to lay down our life for the brothers in the same way the Lord did? That is what we will consider in our next note in this series.
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— 7 June 2023 —