Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. 1 John 4:7
The great and first commandment, said Jesus in reply to a question is this: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). A second commandment, following from it as a corollary, reads: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). Loving God and loving human beings whom He has made and placed in our midst, while we can distinguish between the two, are really of one piece. Reduced to one word, God’s expectation of His people is LOVE. What is the source of love?
“God is love,” writes Saint John in 1 John 4:16. As our heavenly Father is, so we, His children, are expected to be. Our response to Him and all His saving acts in our behalf is to be love. But something has to happen before there is such a response in human beings. Our love to our Father and to a brother or sister in Christ is not self-generating. Love does not proceed out of the hearts of people as they are by nature, for sin has deadened and dried out the heart and made it a desert from which no streams of love can flow.
Our love to God and to man represents God’s workmanship. It is the Holy Spirit’s accomplishment in us through the Gospel and the sacraments as He creates and sustains faith in Jesus Christ. Love is God’s great gift. The tide of divine love, cresting in the sending and sacrificing of His Son for our salvation, is the source of our love to God.
The apostle whom Jesus loved and who loved Jesus puts it very plainly: “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). And for that reason we love our brothers and sisters, even when they are less than perfect.
PRAYER: Lord God Heavenly Father, increase my faith in Jesus my Savior, and increase my love to You and to my brothers and sisters in the faith. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)