I John 4:19, “We love Him, because He first loved us.”
This verse is often assigned to young children as a Sunday School memory verse. Even pre-schoolers can master the verse without major difficulty. However, despite its brevity, it is worthy of thorough investigation and appreciation. Let us consider why we love God.
- Because we are saved. Ephesians 2:4-5 tells us, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved.)” We (Christians, i.e. those who have experienced His love) love Him. This is because He FIRST loved us. Our ability to love Him is made possible by His efforts to offer reconciliation. In other words, people need to get saved in order to truly know God’s love. People need to approach the Creator on His terms in order to have a relationship with Him. I cannot truly say, “I love God, “ and yet completely disdain or disregard my need to be saved according to His plan.
- Because it is the only right thing to do. We LOVE Him. The Christian has a new nature. Love is a natural thing for the Spirit-filled believer. It is not just something we could do or should do. Loving is what we do now. Paul told the Corinthians that if anyone is in Christ he is a new creature. Paul also explained to the Galatians that love is the beginning of the fruit of a Spirit-filled life. Having correct motives for what we do is not an option. Living for God out of love is just what we do—at least that is the way it should be.
- Because He is worthy. Our God is worthy. God is worthy of respect and obedience because of His greatness, His power, His creativity, His wisdom, and other such qualities. But God is worthy of love because He loved us when we were His enemies. He is worthy of respect because He is magnificent. He is worthy of love because He is magnanimous. We love Him BECAUSE He first loved us.
Let us love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength because He has saved us, because loving Him is what we do, and because He is worthy.