In my sermon they let me give last Sunday, I talked about the Kingdom of Grace. Grace is for ME, Grace is for US, and Grace is for THEM. I’m skipping to something I want to share here from the Grace is for US section of that message.
Consider this passage:
10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
(1 John 4:10, 11, NASB).
If I think this means that I am responsible for producing feelings of love, or some kind of service oriented ongoing help to a person, I am like a flashlight. I can shine only so much light in a particular direction for so long before I become worn out.
The love John is talking about is the love which God has for us. Love is about recognizing the love which God has for a person, and acting in concert or in harmony with it. It is more like opening our eyes to the sunshine that is already shining down on everyone. I can’t turn off the sun, or force it to shine selectively. I don’t have to produce this kind of love, I’m not primarily responsible for it. I just have to recognize it. In the same way that radical grace opens the door to my love for God (see In This is Love), it opens the door to love for others. They are also loved by God, and part of God’s love for us individually is to have our eyes opened to how much He loves others around us.