“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?” (1 John 3:17 NKJV).
Not only did God profess to love us, He actually demonstrated His love toward us by giving us His only begotten Son as a propitiation or atoning sacrifice for our sins.
The Scripture states:
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8 NKJV).
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV).
We would not have known how much God loved us if He did not send His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to demonstrate or manifest God’s pure and selfless love towards us in words and deeds, by His life and death on the cross for our sins.
The Scripture states: “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10 NKJV).
The Lord Jesus Christ did not merely profess God’s love towards us in His teaching; He also demonstrated it through His actions. Christ’s exemplary life and substitutionary death are clear manifestation or demonstration of God’s love towards us.
A call to be a follower of Christ is essentially a call to conform wholly to Christ both in His life and death. Therefore, anyone who claims to be a believer is expected to not just merely profess love, but to walk in love as Christ did.
The followers of Christ are not called to just love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth, just as Christ did. It is simply hypocrisy to love in words only or with the lips, and not in deeds or acts. God’s love is not passive; it shows itself in good acts, deeds and works!
The Scripture commands:
“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18 NKJV).
“He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” (1 John 2:6 NKJV).
“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” (Eph. 5:1-2 NKJV).
Every born-again believer is a partaker of God’s nature which is essentially love; for God is love (2 Pet. 1:4, 1 John 4:8). The Holy Spirit has poured out God’s love into the hearts of the believers at the new birth (Rom. 5:5).
Therefore, every true born-again believer has the divine potential or capacity to walk in love as Jesus did while in the world. God will be unjust to command us to walk in love just as Jesus had walked if we cannot, or if we don’t have the potential to do so.
As a believer, you will not be able to walk consistently in God’s love toward others if you fail to set the Lord Jesus Christ before you as your ultimate model, example, or standard of love.
The New Testament saints are not called to love others just as they love themselves, or just as others have loved them, but they are commanded to love one another just as Jesus Christ has loved them.
Jesus clearly said, “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” (John 15:9 NKJV).
“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12 NKJV).
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34 NKJV).
How did Jesus demonstrate His love while in the world?
First, the Lord Jesus demonstrated His love by keeping God’s commandments.
Jesus’ life of perfect obedience to His Father’s commandments and total devotion to His Father’s business on earth was a clear manifestation of His love toward His Heavenly Father (Luke 2:49).
Jesus said, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (John 6:38 NKJV).
“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” (John 4:34 NKJV)
“And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” (John 8:29 NKJV).
“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” (John 15:10 NKJV).
It is a contradiction to profess to love God and not obey God’s commandments. A lifestyle of prompt obedience to God’s commandments is a true demonstration of love towards God. If you claim to love God and yet continue in a life of disobedience to God’s express commands in His Word; you are a blatant liar and hypocrite.
The Scripture states: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3 NKJV).
It is impossible to truly love God and not seek to keep God’s commandments.
Jesus clearly said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments. (John 14:15 NKJV).
“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.” (John 14:23-24 NKJV).
Second, the Lord Jesus demonstrated His love by loving and serving people selflessly and sacrificially.
Although Jesus was God in every form, yet He emptied Himself of His divine attributes and laid aside His divine privileges, and took upon Himself the form of a bondservant when He came into the world to redeem us (Phil. 2:5-8).
Though Jesus was the Creator, yet He came into the world, not to be served but to serve His creation.
Jesus said to His disciples, “And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave– “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:27-28 NKJV).
While in the world, the Lord Jesus went about doing good, caring for the poor and the needy, healing the sick and those who were oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38). He identified with the poor, the scum or trash of the society and preached the gospel to them.
Jesus didn’t condemn or repel sinners from Him, but He sat and ate with them and showed them His salvation. He attended to the widow (Luke 7:12); He fed the hungry (Matt. 15:32); and He visited those abandoned by relations and friends (John 5:6).
Ultimately, the Lord Jesus demonstrated His love by receiving in His own body all the punishments for our sins. He laid down His life on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. He didn’t do it under any duress or out of a sense of obligation; He was simply motivated by love.
The Lord Jesus undoubtedly had the supernatural power to defend Himself, but He chose not to use it. He willingly laid down His life to save us because He deeply loved us.
He said, “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (John 10:18 NKJV).
What a selfless and sacrificial love!
Therefore, it is a contradiction to profess to love God and not love or care for people. Your love for God is measured and revealed by your love for people. If you truly love God, it will show in the way you treat or care for the people created in God’s image.
The Scripture testifies to this truth in 1 John 4:
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. (NKJV).
Also in 1 John 3:
16 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.
17 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? (NKJV).
Friend, your love for God is not only revealed by the way you treat your relations and friends who deserve your love, but also by the way you treat your enemies who don’t deserve your love, care, or help.
Jesus said in Luke 6:
32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
33 “And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
34 “And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.
35 “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. (NKJV).
Therefore, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8 NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to demonstrate Your love towards me. Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me daily to love not just in words but also in works or deeds, in Jesus’ name. Amen.