“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).
The blazing mark of distinction for a true child of God is that he has a deep, abiding
love for other people. In scripture, the command to love is not conditional, based on
the actions or reactions of others: it is absolute, even for those who don’t care for us
or who treat us badly.
This love is not the kind that refers to passion nor is it the kind that refers to familial
relationships. Rather, it is the kind that reaches to that lofty level of deep concern
for the welfare of others: it encompasses the idea of “self-sacrifice, self-denial, and
self-devotion.” John speaks of this kind of love in this passage.
Love is not a condition for obeying the gospel, but it is a condition for attaining the
goal of every devoted Christian: heaven. John says only a truly converted Christian
can demonstrate the kind of love he is talking about, for it is the embodiment of all
that God is and for all that He did in giving Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins.