Read 1 John 3
John continues his emphasis on love, now turning to the love that God has shown us in Jesus Christ. Whereas in chapter two, John was giving direction on who and how to love, as well as where not to place our love, now he shows the example of perfect love that comes only from God.
God’s infinite love is beyond amazing. Far too often we talk about it in a limited fashion, referencing it simply to the forgiveness or sins, or God not getting mad at us when we don’t live the way He calls us to. Both of those are true statements but fail to get anywhere close to the far-reaching depth of God’s love.
Through the love of God shown in Jesus Christ, we aren’t just given a free pass, God actually adopts us as His own, calling us His children and, as Scripture says, making us heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. Our old self, the sinful dirty part of us, is put to death, washed away, and completely covered Jesus Christ, whom God sees when He looks at us.
There is very intentional imagery being used here because it gets at the importance and intimacy of the relationship that develops here as well. God is the loving Father who lavishes love on His Son and on us as those who are marked with His Son’s blood.
In response to this, John writes, we should love one another. When he says this, he is using the same form of the word “love,” meaning that our love for each other should be modeled after God’s love for us. This is supposed to be the foundation for our relationships with each other in the Christian community and with all of those we come in contact with.
It is enough to say that we fail at this often. But John also offers a reminder and an encouragement that we have hope in God, that He is greater than our sins, and both forgives us and works to build into us and shape us more into the image of His Son.