After a long walk in faith and serving the Lord, disciple John gave this encouraging and important message about love, because through love we can know God.
Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love 1 John 4: 8
God is in heaven while we are on earth. We can know God is up there through our reasoning power by observing the universe in order. In Greek, the word for universe is “Cosmos”, meaning order. The opposite is chaos. If the world existed by chance, it would have exploded long time ago. Romans says we can also know the existence of God through our intuition. However we cannot know exactly what this God is like.
We cannot get to know God clearly except when He reveals Himself. God revealed Himself to us in Jesus who came to us in flesh. Jesus died for us on the cross, paying penalty for our sins, thus revealed to us the love of God for us.
Let us take an example from the Bible to see what God’s love is like.
The parable of the laborers in the vineyard from Matthew 20:1-16 illustrated God’s love well. This is a parable about the kingdom of heaven, where the owner is God. Those who were called at five o’clock into the vineyard and worked only one hour received the same wage as those the owner invited at nine o’clock. It is grace for the last ones. Those who were called in the earliest hour complained against the owner for making the last ones equal to them. They had born the heat of the day and worked really hard all day long in the vineyard. However reasonable their complaint might sound, the owner did not wrong them at all. The owner trusts them that they would understand his dealing with those who came last but they had forgotten the grace they received.
We might stand in either group’s position. The challenge for us is that when we see others receiving more grace or other churches doing better, we should still believe in faith that God loves me or my church as well.
This parable illustrates the principle of grace in heaven which was in effect throughout the history. In Genesis 48, Jacob bestowed on Ephraim greater blessings than Manasseh despite the fact that he was not the firstborn of Joseph. In Deuteronomy 33, several generations later when Moses blessed the tribes of Israel, we see the blessings on Manasseh and Ephraim continued from the time of Jacob. Manasseh did not doubt but believe God’s love by faith, so his blessings continued to grow in history.
In verse nine, it says God’s love was revealed among us not to us. God’s love is close to us and requires our response. We live in the world but God is invisible. Living in the world, we are also under the influence of Satan who will make us doubt God’s love. It is like we are standing in the midst between God and Satan and we need to make choices as to who we follow every day. How can we receive the love of God? By faith!
Bible Portal Contributor