God causes love

The Distinctiveness of Christian Love

An Exposition of 1 John 4:7-12

God’s people love one another. It is a truism. It isn’t an aspiration or something that we hope is true. Rather, when someone encounters the life-transforming power of God in the Gospel they are given a new identity and brought into the family of God, and they are compelled to have a love for the brethren.

In fact, this is one of the ways that you know you are saved. One marker of your assurance of salvation is a supernatural love for God’s people. John makes that clear throughout this little letter.

By way of implication then, when you encounter someone who says, “I love Jesus, I just don’t love his people or the church.” That person has no biblical grounds for assurance that they in fact know Jesus in a saving way. I’m not making a personal judgment when I say that, I’m just applying the words of John to a practical situation:

1 John 4:20–21—20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

John Provides 4 God-Centered Encouragements for Self-Sacrificing Love 

  1. Your Mandate (7a, 11) God commands love
  2. Your Motivation (7b-8) God causes love
  3. Your Model (9-10) God characterizes love
  4. Your Mark (12) God completes love