John has already stressed the mark of love in I John and he will do it again.  He has masterfully interwoven love into every fabric which is worn by the true Christian:

Earlier verses…

  • 2:9 – “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.  Whoever loves his brother lives in the light…”
  • 2:15 – “Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
  • 3:10 – “This is how we know who the children of God are:  Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.”

Later verses…

  • 4:7 – “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”
  • 4:11 – “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
  • 4:12 – “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
  • 4:16 – “God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”
  • 4:18 – “There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
  • 4:19, 20 – “We love because he first loved us.  If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar.’”
  • 4:21 – “Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
  • 5:3 – “This is love for God:  to obey his commands.”

Over and over again the Apostle John stresses this mark of a Christian.  I believe that John experienced the love of God so clearly that it marked his life in every way.  Never forget that John called himself in his gospel “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”  But John never thought that the love of God was only for him.  Never forget that it was from John’s Gospel that we get John 3:16:  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son…”

Love is the major characteristic of I John.  John presents the importance of and command to love in every chapter of I John.  It is like John is driving into our minds and hearts that if we don’t have the love for God and others, then we miss the boat in being a Christian.  When you hammer a nail into wood you do not hit it once to accomplish the task.  You hit it time and time again until it is driven into the wood to accomplish its purpose.  John does that with love. 

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