“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19We love him, because he first loved us. 20If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” (1 John 4:1-21)
My inclination to repeat certain profound truths of the Gospel pale before the repetitions of the Apostle John in his constant emphasis on the meaning of Love I bring today’s text to the bar as evidence. I have excerpted much of today’s devotional texts from the lectionary text for the day. In this fourth chapter of his Epistle, John lays bare the essence of the love of God, and the manner in which that love is an echo in the hearts of His chosen. This is John’s crowning tribute to the Love of God and how we must respond thereto. His love for the Lord Jesus Christ is a consuming obsession, and so should it be for all believing Christians. John’s every mention of our governing natures in Christ is bound up in our love for Him and those of His people.
Why does hate, and not love, excel in the world? It is because the world does not know God and does not share in His nature. “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 7Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (1 John 4:6-8) Those who know and love God, and share in His nature, bear the burden of love to the creatures of His making. Have you wondered why God ever created such a beautiful and wondrous world for us, and for all living creatures – even the green vegetation, majestic mountains, and fish of the sea? He placed our world right in the midst of all the heavenly bodies. The Milky Way itself was the artful array of the Hand of God. There is another quote of John that satisfies the answer: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)
How can God love this sinful world? God created this world of beauty in perfection and unmarred by sin. He only gave one commandment to Adam which Adam could not obey: “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
Adam was the first type of Christ mentioned in Holy Scripture. “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (1 Corinthians 15:45-49) He was the federal head of all mankind and of every beast. As you will recall, there TWO trees in the midst of the Garden. “And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:9) Adam partook of the wrong tree, but why? “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (1 Timothy 2:14) So, if Adam knew with certainty of his doom in partaking of the wrong tree, why did he do it?
In addition to the above text, how was Adam a type of Christ? Did love have anything to do with it?
I believe, since Adam was fully aware of the consequences, he loved Eve to such a measure that he was willing to share in her spiritual death and separation. He was willing to share in the unhappy destiny of his beloved Eve just as Christ loved the Church so much as to lay down His life willingly for her. Love can move in amazing ways. God demonstrated His love in Eden by promising a Redeemer, and He demonstrates His mighty love to us today. John was filled with love because his heart had a bountiful source of love streaming down from the Father of Lights. His love, and ours, is an echo of that love of God. As John tells us in the Epistle, “We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)