1 John 4:19
KJV - 19 We love him, because he first loved us.
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In this verse, John is pointing out that all humans, in their "natural" (that is, sinful), unsaved condition are in a state of enmity toward God, and are incapable of either abiding in His presence, or offering Him works of righteousness that He will find acceptable (Isaiah 64:6). Instead, God out of pure grace (undeserved love and mercy) toward fallen humanity made eternal fellowship with Him once again possible by becoming human Himself in the person of Jesus Christ; living the sinless life of perfect obedience to God of which none of us are capable; undergoing in our place the penalty (death and eternal separation from God) that all humans justly deserve; and then rising from the dead to live eternally as evidence that God had found His substitutionary payment to be acceptable. All those who then place their faith in Jesus' death and resurrection (rather than in anything that they have done or can do) to make themselves acceptable in God's sight have Jesus' perfect righteousness imputed to them by God. In response to this tremendous love that God showed us (before any of us were capable of loving Him), Christians therefore can now offer in joy and gratitude to God a love that God will accept, because it is a love made clean by faith in Christ and His righteousness.
I'm glad you asked. We see in 1st.John 4:19 (Life Application Bible Notes) God's love is the source of all human love, and it spreads like fire. In loving his children, he kindles a flame in their hearts. In turn, they love others, who are warmed by God's love through them. (vv.20-21) But the real test of our love for God is how we treat the people right in front of us: our family members, and fellow believers. We cannot truly love God while neglecting to love those who are created in his image.
Marvelous question, Michael, and so I voted it up! God first loved us when we were still sinners (Romans 5:8 says, "But God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.") Notice the context of 1 John 4:19 1 JOHN 4 John writes about discerning false prophets and loving one another. I. LOCATE THE SPIRITS (4:1-6): We are to test those who claim to speak by the Spirit by asking whether their message comes from a false prophet, a demon, or from God. II. LOVE THE SAINTS (4:7-21). A. What love proves (4:7-11, 14, 19-21) 1. Our love for God is proven by our love for one another (1 Jn 4:7-8, 11, 19-21). 2. God's love for us was proven by the sacrificial death of Christ (4:9-10, 14). B. What love produces (4:12-13, 15-18) 1. God is joined to us (4:12, 15-16). 2. We are joined to him (4:13). 3. We are given confidence (4:17). 4. We are protected from fear (4:18). Harold Wilmington outline 1 John 4:19 first loved us God demonstrates this by offering salvation through Jesus. --Faithlife Study Bible Love with patience, kindness (Romans 2:4), love thinking of others before yourself, love with short records (Isaiah 43:25), and love your enemies. --5 Practical Ways to ‘Love Because He First Loved Us’ Clarence L. Haynes Jr.
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