Behold, what manner of love
The Father has given unto us
That we should be called
The sons of God!
~ from the song “Behold What Manner of Love” by Patricia Van Tine
(and based on 1 John 3:1)
I recently read through the epistles of the apostle John. Have I mentioned lately how much I like John? I look forward to conversing with him someday in eternity!
John truly loved the people placed in his path, whether during his time as a traveling preacher or as the pastor of the church in Ephesus. His heart’s desire was that they love God, love one another, and walk in the truth. There are many well-known verses found in these three short books.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” ~ 1 John 1:8-10
“And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world… But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” ~ 1 John 2:2, 5-6
I have always appreciated how John tells us that not only does God love us, but that God is love. He Himself is love. (1 John 4:7-19)
But this time reading through, I was struck by the verses dealing with the world. And as this planet races toward utter chaos and destruction, how timely this seems.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” ~ 1 John 2:15-17
“Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.” ~ 1 John 3:13
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” ~ 1 John 4:4
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” ~ 1 John 5:3-5
“We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” ~ 1 John 5:19
And that is the cause of our struggles on earth in a nutshell: we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
Satan is the ruler of this world. For now. But we know the end of the story — that one day Satan and sin will be destroyed, all things will be made new, and Jesus will reign forever.
Again, the words of the apostle John:
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’ And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.’ ” ~ Revelation 21:1-7
The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one (1 John 5:19b). People around us need to hear the truth. Let’s walk in the truth and show them Jesus!
The very next verse tells us that truth:
“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” ~ 1 John 5:20
Jesus is our truth!
“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” ~ 1 John 3:16-18
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” ~ 3 John 4