“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.” 1 John 5:1-2
The apostle John has just spent nearly a quarter of his letter telling the first century Christian Church that they cannot love God if they don’t also love their fellow believers. Now, as we begin the final chapter of his epistle, John flips the argument around and tells us that we can’t truly love the children of God if we don’t love and obey God.
It’s like a man who’s set his sight on becoming the husband and father of a single mother and her children. One night, as they’re getting home from a date, the woman tells the man that he’ll never be able to convince her that he loves her and that he’s the right man for her if he doesn’t also show her that he loves her children.
So the man begins to intentionally spend time with her children, helping them with their homework, working them doing various chores around the house, taking them on outings , and sometimes just playing with them; all so he can get to know them and prove his love for them to the woman.
Then one day as he and the eldest child are washing the dinner dishes together the child turns to him and says, “You’ll never be able to prove that you love me and my brother if you don’t love my mother too.”
A husband, if he’s going to truly be husband, must be a loving father to his children. And a father, if he’s going to truly be a father, must be a loving husband to his wife.
God loves the world and all the people in it. We can never demonstrate that we love God if we don’t also show that we love the people that he loves.
At the same time, there are people in this world looking for Christians that are completely committed in their devotion and love for God. It’s not enough to be civic minded and good to the people in their community. If they’re really Christians they’ll show it by their obedience to God.
You see being a Christian demands that we be loving people. There’s no consideration regarding who the object of love is because our love for them isn’t dependent upon them. We love them because we’re loving not because they’re lovable.
That’s how Jesus is and that’s how we’re being called to be.