“See what kind of love”

Our chapter in the first epistle of John (chapter 3) starts with the above words! Love comes in different “kinds” and fully genuine love is proved by the actions that follow. When we get to verse 18 we read, “let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth”. That kind of love should create a reaction in those who benefit from it. Look at and see how meaningful is the rest of that quotation, we read, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are”. This is an extra dimension to the familiar statement that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God sees those who really believe as being “children of God”.

Those who are children of the world have little or no time for those who are living with the conviction they are “children of God”. But how wonderful when there are exceptions when people are genuinely influenced and attracted by the godly lives they see in others. Look at the point John made in verse 2, “The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him”. Oh, but those who put him to death knew him! Yes, but they only knew him in a physical sense, they saw him as a rival, their minds were fixed on themselves, their motives were totally self-centred, their minds were blinded because of their own sense of self importance.

Those who really think, in all humility, of the wonder of being known by God and becoming his children, develop a totally different mind-set in the way they think. Just four days ago we read these words in Peter, “Humble yourselves therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, ‘yet it was the will of the Lord’” (1 Peter 5:6,7). Those who develop the ability to see the kind of love that God has for those who serve him will, in all humility, develop a wonderful relationship with their Creator.

Our first reading today (Judges 19) reveals a totally contrasting situation! It is an ugly story of human depravity. Why does the Bible contain such chapters? Because it is an honest record of the depravity of human life – and how God deals with it – as well as the wonder of spiritual life and of our potential to have a total relationship with God as his children. We love God, but let us be sure it is the right “kind of love”!