Do you receive the Father’s love as his beloved child with the same simple faith that you believe that Jesus died for your forgiveness?
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16
It is understood that in the New Testament, when the word “God” is used, in most all instances, the writer is referring to the Father.*
Thus we can see what John is writing here in a more personal and attention grabbing manner when we insert Father into this verse:
So we have come to know and to believe the love that the Father has for us. The Father is love, and whoever abides in love abides in the Father, and the Father abides in him.
The Father is love. He has demonstrated that by sending his Son. Jesus embodied the love of the Father before us (John 14:7). Jesus on the cross, as the atoning sacrifice, is the greatest, clearest, most stunning display of the Father’s love.
Have you “come to know and believe the Father’s love” for you, personally?
In his first letter John clearly writes that this is a hallmark of matured elders in the faith – they know the Father (2:13, 14) and in knowing the Father they know the Father’s love for them.
An Odd Dichotomy in our Faith
We have come to know and believe that Jesus has died for our sins; that if we confess our sins, he will readily forgive us and cleanse us (1 John 1:9).
This is a hallmark of orthodox Christianity – to confess Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life. We have come to expect that of any one who names Jesus.
When invited to identify ourselves as the Father’s beloved, we often pause….We believe Jesus died for us, yet doubt, or maybe hesitate to believe the Father’s particularized love for us….
Jesus’ death did not win the Father over toward us. It was an act of the love that the Father sent Jesus. The Father has loved us from eternity. He sent his Son to seek out and save lost children. To those who receive, the Father now calls his adopted children (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1).
Jesus did not die so God could be turned from an frumpy judge to a gracious Father. It is was an act of grace from our Father that the Son was sent to die on our behalf.
This is the gospel message.
Coming to Know and Believe
Love is not a substance, love is a Person. God is love – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
Paul writes that the Spirit pours out within us the Father’s love (Romans 5:5).
The Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are no longer slaves but children. He beckons us to respond by crying, “Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:4-6)
The Father’s love for us is the same love he has for Jesus (John 17:26).
The witness of both the Holy Spirit and the Written Word is that we are beloved. Be encouraged. Simply receive His love for you. Confess this transformative truth.
When Faith Struggles
When I struggle to “know and believe,” I am reminded I cannot just try harder and well up within myself change of attitude.
I do ask the Spirit to remind me and to grant that I may be increasingly aware of the Father’s love which is a well-spring within me – ever flowing in me. The Spirit has been sent to guide us into all truth.
This is what a weary world yearns to drink, the overflow of the Father’s love in us to others.
How does this resonate with your faith journey with the Father? How is the Spirit beckoning you to respond by simple receptivity to the Father’s love to you?
Next: We will look at how the enemy seeks to deny us this reality.
* See this article that addresses why the Triune God and Trinitarian language is so crucial to our faith.