“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
We come now to the third and final development of the nature of true love (2:7-11; 3:11-18). With each advance of the subject of love, the subject becomes more searching.
There is a correlation between love and belief. A person truly born of God loves as God loves. From 4:7 to 5:5, John weaves together the ideas of love, belief, and righteousness. We cannot separate these ideas from each other in the Christian faith.
John addresses his comments to believers, believers of all kinds, whether carnal or spiritual. He punctuates this epistle with the word “beloved.” His readers are “beloved” regardless of their spiritual condition. God expects those He loves to love others.
John is in the process of refuting false doctrine so that his readers in Asia Minor might have a clear idea of biblical love. If they understand divine love, they will have a fulfilling Christian life.
Divine love flows from the divine nature.
Pure emotional love is superficial love; true love results in true knowledge. You must get to know a girl if you are going to love her properly.
Many groups in evangelical circles today argue that we should put up with false doctrine by “loving one another.” This idea is love based on unadulterated emotionalism. Unadulterated emotional love without truth is the enemy of biblical love. Biblical love is based on truth. False doctrine obscures truth, erases truth. It is impossible for any believer to love with divine love as long as they are under a system of false doctrine. “True truth,” as Francis Schaeffer used to say, is what is most beneficial for our lives.
Much of what we hear today about love is hot air. Some say, “Oh, how I love God,” but they know very little about God. That is maudlin sentimentality. It does not mean a thing to God. As we cannot love someone fully without knowing him so we cannot love God without knowing Him. They might as well say, “I love a king cobra.”
Many Christians claim superficial love, but they don’t know the first thing about biblical love. They do not comprehend biblical love because they do not understand biblical principles. They know little of Jesus’ person and work. When a false teacher comes down the pike with maudlin sentimentality, they buy into it hook, line and sinker because they do not have the doctrinal foundation to ward him off. They operate on the superficial principle of attraction rather than the sound principle of character.
Many marriages end in disaster because they based their marriage on attraction rather than more important underlying factors. Sooner or later, the attraction palls away. Antagonism or indifference then replaces attraction. Attraction means that you do not truly know the person.
Love means that we care about the person we love with all their quirks and faults. We love them although we know everything about them. This is love from stability. Mature believers distinguish between different kinds of love.