1 John: A 15-Day Devotional


This is a rich text in terms of doctrine, delight, and duty. We need to think long, deep, and often on the reality of God’s love. Knowledge of such love is the crying need of the soul. Broken, needy souls trample and devour one another looking for this balm, though they do not know that this is what they seek. J. I. Packer is right to note that “to know God’s love is indeed heaven on earth.”* We should revel in this reality and allow it to lead us to worship. Then we must take this glorious news to those who do not yet know it. 

Since John calls us to love as we have been loved, we would do well to contemplate how it is that God has loved us:

• He loved first. He did not wait for us to make the first move. Ours must also be an initiating love.

• He loved those who hated him. We cannot excuse ourselves from love because people are difficult. If the "sinless" God can love "sinful" people, then "sinful" people can surely love other "sinful" people.

• He loved those who were different than he. No human will ever be more different from us than we are from God. Our love must not be limited to those who are like us.

• His love accomplished what was best for us even though it was not what we wanted at the time.

• His love continued when it was not convenient.

• His love perseveres even though we wrong and offend him.

• He loved at extreme cost.

• His love found concrete expression—not merely vague feelings but real action.

Furthermore, churches must be communities marked by this intentional care and love. All the outreach programs in the world cannot approach the power of seeing this love lived out in tangible ways on a consistent basis. John has told us that this is the way God will be seen. But, too often, it is easier to plan another program than to engage in messy, vulnerable love for one another. This commentator has seen this lived out as fellow believers went out of their way to minister to my family in times of grief and suffering, and onlookers were bewildered by what they saw: “Who are these people? Why would they go to such trouble for you?” When I told them they were members of our church, they responded, “What kind of church do you go to?” Even in my Bible Belt community, the door was now open to explain the love of God.


*Packer, Knowing God, 106.