Living in Love

MEMORY SELECTION: “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” —I John 4:7


THE key verses in our lesson are verses 9, 10, and 11: “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”

Since God is a great spirit being and is invisible to us and speaks to us only through his Word, the only way that we can discern something of him and his character is by what he has done in the past and what he reveals to us concerning his plans and purposes for the future. We know from the Bible that the death sentence pronounced upon Adam was a just sentence, because he was created perfect and able to obey God’s perfect law. But he was disobedient. The sentence of death was passed upon Adam and all his offspring. (Rom. 5:18,19) God was not obligated in any way to mitigate that sentence.

The Apostle John tells us in verse 10 that God loved us, and because of this he sent his only begotten Son to be a propitiation for Adam’s and our sins. By this unselfish act he manifested the magnitude of his love toward us. We can relate to this in a measure by thinking how we, as parents, would feel if called upon to do the same thing. This was a most costly sacrifice on the part of God.

Jesus manifested this same kind of love when he was willing to leave his heavenly status and come to earth as a perfect man and surrender his life on Calvary’s cross in order to take Adam’s place in death, providing a ransom price for him and for us.—Phil. 2:5-11

The Apostle Paul demonstrated the same kind of love in his ministry. His sole activity was to preach the Gospel of the kingdom and to serve and help those who were endeavoring to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. In doing this he encountered many trials and difficulties. In II Corinthians 11:24-28 he recounted some of these experiences. We quote in part: “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep. … In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”

Why was the apostle willing to suffer these things? The answer is simply that he was manifesting a godlike love toward the Heavenly Father and his purposes, and especially toward those whom the Lord had selected to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. The Apostle Paul was zealous in his efforts to spend his strength, his all, yea, even life itself, for this cause.—Col. 1:24-29

When the Apostle John in our lesson text states, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (vs. 11), he is speaking about the same kind of love as that demonstrated to us by the Heavenly Father, and then subsequently by Jesus and those others down through the Gospel Age who have seen the heavenly vision. The Apostle John, in I John 3:16, expresses the matter thus: “By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”—RSV

How do we, as footstep followers of Jesus, enter into this arrangement, manifesting a godlike love toward our brethren? We get involved in serving the Lord—by witnessing to the truth, serving the brethren and upholding their hands, and in general serving the kingdom interests. If this activity is motivated by our love for God and his beneficent purposes, we will have experiences that will develop in us the fruits and graces of the Spirit that will lead us to life eternal.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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