By Stan Brown
I John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Love remains the topic as John uses the word three times in this verse. The statement he makes here is the only proper conclusion to the two great assertions concerning the incomprehensible love of God that he has made in the two preceding verses. In verse nine he has asserted that God sent His one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. He did this not only that we might live forever with Him in eternity but that we might also be undergirded by loving fellowship with God as we live in a world that progressively flirts with chaos under an ever-increasing burden of sin. In verse ten he has asserted that the one and only Son came to be a propitiation for our sin. That one and only Son has taken on Himself the penalty for each and every sin we have ever committed and ever will commit. John cries out to those he deeply loves as he calls them Beloved. He cries out because he loves them. He simply asks that they do the only possible thing in light of God’s superlative love. He asks that we love one another because of the manner in which God loves us.
One cannot read this verse without being reminded of the great verse that John had likely penned only a short time before when he wrote For God so loved the world. Here he says if God so loved us. In both verses he is saying God loved us like this. In John 3:16 he proclaims that God did it all because we could do nothing. The only requirement for eternal life is that we believe. Here he says much the same thing. In both cases he speaks concerning God’s love. God loved the entire world in the manner described. Since Jesus did this for us there can be no excuse for our failure to love one another.
We live in turbulent times but then so did John. Few of us ever imagined that the events swirling around us today would ever have come to pass. In the midst of it all, God loves us with an unmatched, infinite love expressed in the gift of His one and only Son. As we live in the knowledge of that love, we can do no less than love one another. Someone has written, “At the foot of the cross a failure to love one for whom Christ died is a failure whose proportions can only be measured against the divine love which sacrificed His Son for that same brother”. Since God loved us like this we must love. We must even love the unlovable sister or brother.