No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. (1 John 4:12)
“Beloved.” Six times John uses that word to address his reader. “Beloved.” You are loved. In fact, “love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (4:7-8).
And where does God’s love come most sharply into focus? “God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (4:9-10).
“Beloved,” this ought to change our lives. “If God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (4:11). And notice, meditate on the potential behind the “ought.” “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”
Amazing. What we’ve just been told is amazing. God is love and when we love, the influence of the One who has never been seen can be seen in fleshy, tangible, relatable ways.
When we are patient and kind, we are reflectors of otherworldly light.
When we stop insisting on our own way–leaving rudeness, arrogance, envy, and resentment behind–the darkness is forced to forfeit a little more of its territory.
When we bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things in the name of the One who is love, the unseen God abides in us. More than that, his love is perfected in us. Even more than that, the influence of the Invisible comes to be on full display for those who do not know God. Love comes to life.
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (4:16)
The invisible made visible. At home. At work. At school. At the restaurant. In the neighborhood. Christians believe the love. We know the love. We abide in the love. And we’re to be living representations of the love.
Love in the flesh. That’s Jesus. Love come to life. That’s the blessing and the calling of his “beloved.”