1Jn 4:7-9 “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 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.”
Little words sometimes carry a lot of weight. The word translated “of” denotes “origin (the point whence motion or action proceeds)” according to Strong’s. God is the origin of love and He is the point from which love proceeds. Without God, love is an impossibility. If love is an impossibility without God, then loving one another is also an impossibility without God.
Loving one another is a sure indication that God has worked in us according to the counsel of His own will. When we are blessed to love, it assures us that we are born (regenerated) of God. God is the origin of love, and He is the origin of our ability to love Him and each other. He is the point from which the action of regeneration proceeds. Notice the order of things here. Everyone that loves God is born of God and knows God; knowing God follows being born of God and is vital to our ability to love one another.
John does not say if we don’t perform the action of love we are not born of God. He does say that without the performance of love we don’t know Him. There is an intimate knowledge of God that only comes when we are humbled sufficiently to love one another. Jesus told us that all men would know we are His disciples if we have love one for the other (Joh 13:35). John is telling us that loving one another is a vital part of our knowing God.
God made His love toward us apparent when He sent His only begotten Son into the world. The love of God is instrumental (see Strong’s definition for the word translated “toward”) in all of His dealings with us. We know this because God is not only the origin of love; God is love. It is an aspect of His divine nature; as He is eternal so His love for us is eternal. It historically manifest by the coming of Jesus into the world literally. The power of that act is made alive in the hearts of God’s children daily as He reveals His Son in us (Gal 1:16). His love manifested through the life of Jesus in us gives us courage to do His will without relying on the arm of men.
When God manifests His love toward us by sending His Son into our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit, we live through Him. We are blessed to experience Jesus as the conduit of God’s love toward us and our love to Him and one another. He is the means by which we live a life that has purpose and peace. He is the means by which we are able to abandon our self-centered existence and truly live a life of service to God and our brothers and sisters.
May we be given the joy of understanding that God is love and love is of God; with that understanding we truly can love one another!