The interaction between the Father, the Son and the Spirit is perfect and complete. We are invited to share in that interaction.
1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.
We are about to read the passage 1 John 4:16 where, two different times, John proclaims that God is love. I asked myself this question,
“If God is love, but I act in hate, should I expect God to hate me?
The answer: No. Why? Because God is love.
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 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.
Literal- John is likely on Patmos and is writing to his congregation in Ephesus. His phrase, “My little children” (2:1, 3:18) and “Beloved” (2:7, 4:1) indicate that he knew them very well and was responsible for them. The letter was designed to assuage their fears concerning his future and their own. He wanted them to know that God loved them deeply, and to know and trust that love would cast out their fear (4:18). He was encouraging them to keep their faith and trust in Jesus and that He is who He says He is (God in the flesh) and that He did what He said He would do, which was to save the world from their sins.
Moral- His theme in these verses is that we can know God personally and intimately, that we are in God and He in us, and that because God loves us, we should and must love one another. Being Christ to each other is huge in His eyes. The phrases, “born of God” “God abides in us” and “abides in God,” show the depth of the relationship the Father wants to have with them–and us. Jesus was God in the flesh and is now in the Spirit. It is by the Spirit that they, the Father/Son, come to “live in us (and we in them).” To have one is to have the others. If we have the Trinity “in us,” then we express that love to those around us. The phrasing in verse 20 seems to indicate that hating makes us lose our salvation or indicates that we never had it, which we know is not the case. What John wanted his followers to do, and us, also, is to allow Christ to love others through us. Even though is it we who are doing the loving, it is Christ who is giving us first the desire and then the power to love (Phil. 2:13).
Spiritual- Verse 19 says it all, “We love because He first loved us.” God went first. He proved His love for us on the cross. He took our sins to the grave and left them there. Now, having believed Him for this wonderful salvation, He asks us to do the same. Through Him and with Him, we are to be the agents of His love. As we share in the Trinity, for that is what it means to abide in Him and He in us, we experience His perfect love. That perfect and complete love casts out all doubt, all hate, and all fear. We’ll deal with the “fear has to do with punishment” another time. Suffice it to say that we have no reason to fear God or punishment.
I hope that these posts on the Trinity have given some insight into the relationship between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, Three-in-One. We are constantly in their presence; pretty neat, huh?
Abba, because You are in me (my heart and mind), I trust You. You say to love, therefore I make up my mind to love. As for feeling that love, I ask for Your compassion. When I see people through Your eyes, I feel the love You have for them, and that’s what I want. Help me to love, Lord. Amen.