June 17, 2014
READ: 1 John 4:7-21
This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins (v.10).
Standing near the body of his older brother, his pain was visible. Adding to the weight of death was the knowledge that their relationship had been the closest thing he’d ever known to that of a father and son. His brother had always said, “I love you,” whenever they parted. But the differences in their lives, the jagged edges of their arguments and the absence of true intimacy left this grieving man wondering if his love was real.
Beloved. We find this deeply powerful word at the start of 1 John 4:7 (NKJV). It’s translated from the Greek word agapetos, which means “beloved, esteemed, dear, favourite, worthy of love”. More than a passive acceptance of another, the word is replete with action and commitment.
Firstly at Jesus’ baptism and later at His transfiguration, the Gospels record God’s declaration of Jesus not simply as His Son, but His beloved Son (Matthew 3:17, 12:18, 17:5 NKJV). Later Paul used this same terminology to describe God’s gracious rescue of humanity in “the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6 NKJV). In this way, the word “beloved” points to His great love for us.
But are we convinced?
The pain in our lives can sometimes make us feel rejected by God. When we listen to this false message, we begin turning to lesser gods to find comfort—like food, television, sex or our careers. We hide from relationships, get lost in various activities or try desperately to prove that we’re worthy of love.
Even so, God keeps pouring out His grace on us. His call to us has already gone forth: “I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’ and her who was not beloved, ‘beloved’ “ (Romans 9:25 NASB; see also Hosea 2:23). He is the faithful Father whose love is more than abundant. It’s more than enough.—Regina Franklin
John 1:35-51 ‹365-day plan
Read 1 John 3:1-16 and consider how knowing we are loved by God can affect our choices and relationships.
Why have you sometimes felt that you’re unworthy of love? How can our sense of rejection be a place of idolatry in our lives?