That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched —this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:1-3 NIV)
John writes this letter towards the end of his life, as he looks back and reflects he seems to have one overriding emphasis that he wants his readers to understand. He wants us to see that their relationship with God is deeply rooted in love. He is not presenting a theology or theory but rather showing what his own relationship with God has been like. He is the disciple that leant against Jesus at the last supper and the one who more fully understood the walk of love.
What he describes for us is a relationship. In many ways he shows us what his relationship with God is like, how he has walked with God over many years. What he describes is something he has heard, seen and touched. He writes about an experience and it is that which he wants us (his readers) to imbibe. The climax of his letter is chapter four, verse sixteen where he makes a simple, three word statement which is probably one of the most powerful statements ever said. In those three words he sums up the nature, personality and character of God and also allows it to define the way we can relate to him.
"God is love".
Simple, yet powerful. These three words sum up the way in which John has come to know God, the Father. Our relationship is not based on performance, trying to do the right thing, following every aspect of the law. No, we simply become beneficiaries of the love that flows from the Godhead. We are made complete in love, love does not carry any of the fear associated with the law. We can come as children to our Father.
John has learned to live like Jesus lived. Embraced in love, living in the love of the Father, relying and trusting in the experience of being loved. His encouragement for us is to live the same way. In fact, he says it is the only way for us to have confidence on the day of judgement, "in this world we are like Jesus" (1 John 4:17). Just as John experienced the love of the Father, he'd heard, seen and touched something; we, too can have the same experience. The love of the Father is not something we understand with our mind, it is something we live in - we experience it. As we do it will transform every area of our lives.
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Mark Gyde - A Father to YOU