1 John 4:12-13 – No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
John previously explained that God is innately Light, and those that know him will walk in in Light (1 John 1:5-7). Similarly, God is love; so those that know him will produce love (4:7-8). God took the initiative to demonstrate his love, and we respond to that love by looking to Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection and accepting him as the atonement (propitiation) to save our souls (4:9-11, 19). Although no one has seen God in the fullness of his glory, people can experience the beauty of his love through the Holy Spirit (4:12, see Romans 5:5). Love is produced for God and for others by participating with the Spirit (4:13).
The production of love through participation with the Spirit is like drawing water from a well. The Spirit is the bucket that we lower into the well of God’s love. The bucket is filled, and we obtain the water and distribute it to others. The well, of course, is inexhaustible. John recorded a similar explanation of the Spirit by Jesus (see John 7:37-39). The drawing out of God’s love shows the mutual relationship of “abiding” or “dwelling” with God. Moreover, John connects love, faith (4:14-21), and obedience (5:1-5) as a three-fold cord running through this epistle. The presence of one necessitates the reality of the others.
Are you participating with God through the Spirit to distribute love to others? Moment by moment, we must draw from the inexhaustible well of God’s love to distribute to everyone (3:12). Have you been to the well? Have you refreshed yourself in the thirst-quenching waters of God’s love? Are you languishing in the dry, barren desert of self-absorption?
Refresh yourself by making ourselves at home with God. Dwell with him. Listen to his words. Speak with him. Trust his will. Understand his desires. Obey his truth. Participate in life with him. Draw from God’s love like drawing water from a well. You will then experience the greatest love offered in this life.
Daily Reading: 1 John 4:7-5:5
Bible Reading Challenge: 21 Days of Love