And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him (1 John 4:16).
I know a little bit about the love God has for us because I gave birth to two babies. I spent the nine months of preparation in awe of the miracle happening in me. Let’s face it, each birth is a miracle. Science cannot explain how that baby is formed. They know the stem cell, the original cell in the fetus, has everything in it that baby will need throughout its life. How that happens, science doesn’t know. When those two babies emerged from me, my love has never been stronger than what I had, and have, for them. I believe that love is also a miracle. Even today, when my babies have babies of their own, and one is a grandmother (making me a great grandmother!), if evil came barreling down on any one of them, I would shove them out of the way, and take the impact myself.
God loved us so much that He sent His Son to take the impact for us. Another miracle is that every day His blood takes the impact for us. I believe in his love for us. Because I believe it, I expect it, and because I expect it, I receive it, and because I receive it, sometimes I am so inundated with His love I can barely move. That’s another thing we cannot explain. How is it that when His Presence moves on us, we are so overwhelmed we fall in the Spirit, or we are glued to our chairs, or we cannot speak? It’s His unexplainable love!
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God (1 John 4:15).
The only way God will abide in us is if we are born again. I say that because to get born again we must confess that Jesus is the Son of God. It’s so incredibly simple, and yet so hard. That confession must come from the heart, not from the head. So many people come to the altar to say what we call The Sinner’s Prayer: Father, forgive me of my sins, thank You for sending Jesus, I now submit my life to Him, and make Him my Lord.” And off they go back to their pew. The only problem is, they didn’t mean a word they said. Oh, it sounded reasonable, it sounded right. The mind is a devious thing; it changes its opinion with every new thought.
If you say that prayer with your heart, then you have seen how filthy your life is, and how far away you have drifted from God. Crushed, you surrender your all to Him. I’m not saying that one has to have a sobbing, hysterical, almost embarrassing moment; I’m saying you must see your own reality in comparison to Jesus. You must know you need a Savior, and then you need a Lord. After all, once you are saved, how are you going to lead this new life without a Lord. It’s impossible. He must be both!
And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world (1 John 4:14).
John is speaking as someone who was there, a reporter on the scene, but he was not distant. Jesus loved John, specially, because they were so closely related. John was the son of Salome and Zebedee. Salome was Mary’s sister. John and Jesus were probably the same age. They grew up together, and loved each other as best cousins. When Jesus entered His ministry, John immediately followed him, as did his brother and his mother. Peter was the first of the disciples to have the revelation that Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah Israel had been waiting for. I’m sure John came into that revelation shortly after that, even though it is difficult for relatives to accept great changes in other members of their family.
Tradition has it that John became so holy, that when the Romans tried to kill him by boiling him in oil, he was not burned or blistered, he did not drown, and the effort failed completely. John did see Jesus as the Savior of the world. His life’s work was to testify to that fact, hence the Gospel of John is so different from the other three because it is written from the heart about a man he loved and followed. The book of 1 John contains the entire Gospel, that which Jesus came to preach and teach: there are two laws to follow, the law of love and the law of faith. With those we enter into heaven with John, the beloved!