No War in Love
Christopher B. Harbin
1 John 4:7-21
Would it be news to anyone if I said that the Bible teaches love? Can you think of anyone who has not at least heard that God loves us? How many verses and stories from the Bible can you come up with that proclaim that God loves everyone and that we should love one another?
''For God so loved the world...'' ''For God showed his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.'' ''All men will know that you are my disciples if you have love one for another.'' ''You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'' ''For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.'' ''If I have not love, I am nothing.'' ''There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.'' Then there is the song I grew up on, ''Love, love, love, love, everybody's talking 'bout love, not living it. Love, love, love, love, somebody ought to live love.''
You would think that we might have gotten the message by now. God wants us to love one another. God wants us to love everyone. Jesus taught us to love all people, without exception. So why is it so hard for us to accept that this is our highest calling? Why do we continue to ignore this most basic commandment that Jesus said was the basis of the entire instruction of God?
When John wrote his letter to believers, it seems odd that he would spend so much time on the issues of God's love and our responsibilities to love one another. After all, this is basic Christian teaching. It is based on rather standard Hebrew teaching. It is a rather universally accepted ideal to which we should ascribe and seek to implement in our lives. Most every culture and people group understands the importance of love. In an age where writing materials were expensive, when every word needed to count due to the cost of writing, why would John devote so much time to something so very basic?
Most likely, the issue was that the believers ...
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