We love Him, because He first loved us.
1 John 4:10
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:20
If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
We love Him because He first loved us.
Other translations says:
We love because He first loved us.
We love one another because He first loved us.
In order to get the meat out of this verse, we need to start with the context. 1 John 4 is a love chapter. It is specifically God’s love chapter and how His love affects us.
God is love. So as we meditate the whole chapter we find that this love is not ordinary. It is not self generated. It is not a feeling. It is not driven by physical senses. You may be the most charitable person in the world but have no love at all. This love is available from only one source. It comes from God through Jesus Christ. This love is God Himself. He has to abide in you and you in Him to be able to love. He has to give you His Spirit for this love to be perfected. All fears flee. We can’t spin around with this. We can’t receive this love through Muhammad or Buddha or Krishna. This love is only available to us through Jesus Christ. And when you receive His love then He enables us to not only love Him but also others. Jesus Christ is that love.
Before Jesus came to us, we were incapable of loving God in our own will power. Go to the Old Testament and read the history of the children of Israel’s roller coaster ride with God. No matter how much He showed them love, they were incapable, absolutely unable to love Him back. They resorted in idols and man made religions even when Jesus was physically with them.
Peter spent three years with Jesus, yet, when Jesus was captured, what did Peter do? Three times he denied of knowing Him. Peter was incapable of loving Jesus on his own despite of boasting he could. All of them represent our nature.
“We love Him because He first loved us” tells us, only God can supply this kind of love. He had to act first or else that relationship would have been forever destroyed.
We should be grateful He took initiative to first love us. Our gratefulness shows when we also love others as He loved us.
You know you love God when you love others. You cannot say I love God and hate your brethren. If God’s love abides in you, loving others is an easy cake 🎂.