“…His love is made complete…” 1 John 4:12 (NIV)
Using well known teaching techniques of his day, modeled to Him by the Master Teacher, John had revealed the litmus test for a true disciple: love for others, a sacrificial love shown to us by Christ’s sacrificial death. John contrasted God’s way with the world’s way; the purity of God against the polluted world; the darkness of sin shattered by the light of His goodness. We are not to love worldliness (2:15), for this world and all the desires we experience in it will pass away. The one who does the will of God lives forever. (1:17) John pointed to Christ’s return, and the confidence one can possess knowing no shame upon seeing Him as the returning conquering King. (2:28-29) In this, we discover that God is greater than our past. (3:20)
And we, too, will be like Him (3:2) on that day we behold Him as He really is… as He has been from the beginning: one with God, reigning forever as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. However, He is not some King alienated from His people. He is the sovereign Who demonstrated His unmatched love for His Kingdom by laying down His own life for all, and conquered death and hell through His blood and His resurrection. (3:16; 4:9-10)
John invited the first century church to beware of teachers who may compromise the simplicity of God’s redemption – devising new requirements, actions, etc. to be recognized as a true believer. (4:1-3) John engaged the new converts to understand the dynamic of the faith community: love in action. God loved us; we love each other sacrificially; and we show the world sacrificial love. When this dynamic is working, God lives in us and the cycle of love is made complete as He loves through us. His love is made complete in the evidence of changed hearts no longer ruled by the selfishness of worldly gain, but by the joy of spiritual giving… demonstrating Christ’s love in a practical way that will connect hearts to the heart of God. (v.’s 16-17) In so doing, we will have confidence on the day of judgment (2:28; 3:21; 4:17), a point John repeated three times (recognizing the value of repetition in teaching).
There is a void in each person’s soul that can only be filled by Jesus. People may try filling the void with success, power, drugs, illicit relationships, sex, denial, etc., though only Jesus fits the desperate need in each person’s heart for significance and fulfillment. When we agree with God concerning the sin that separates us from Him, and invite Christ into our hearts as we thank Him for His redeeming work upon the cross, we experience a wholeness we’ve never had before and… HIS LOVE IS MADE COMPLETE in us.