If anyone obeys his Word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:5
If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:12
We know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God and God in him. In this way love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him… the one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:16-18
John was nicknamed “the Apostle of Love,” and for good reason. He was so sure that Jesus loved him that in his Gospel, he spoke of himself in the third person as, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” He was the one who had the nerve to lean over and rest his head on Jesus’ chest at the Last Supper, and the love theme tends to dominate his writings, especially 1 John. He was a man who knew he was outrageously loved by God, returned his love with a vengeance, and demanded that true disciples love one another as they’ve been loved.
John claimed in the verses above that God’s agape can be “made complete” in us. Was he implying that sometimes there’s something incomplete or unfinished about God’s love? Is his not a perfect love, a love without flaws? I know that my love contains gaping gaps, but God’s agape?
“But if we love one another, God abides (lives and remains) in us and His love (that love which is essentially His) is brought to completion (to its full maturity, runs its full course, is perfected) in us.” 1 John 4:12 The Amplified Bible
I like this translation. It implies that, though perfect in itself, God’s love isn’t complete – hasn’t run its full course – until it’s received, reciprocated, and reflected by his beloved. Until then it hasn’t come full circle. Until we accept his love, return it back to him, and share it with others, like any good melody line should, it doesn’t resolve itself. Speaking of melody, did you know that God sings? If he sings, what’s he sing about?
The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
He sings about those with whom he is delighted. His “great delight” in his beloved reaches way beyond mere forgiveness from sin or pardon from penalty. These could be misconstrued as mere legal transactions. A pardoned criminal is allowed back in the community, more tolerated than welcomed or respected – certainly not cherished. But the Father’s lavish love for us goes much further, it brings him “great delight.” He’s delighted when he thinks of us, and his delight makes him sing.
He sings his eternally beautiful anthem, a love song that he relentlessly croons to all his humans. His song brings pleasure to all who stop and listen, is intended to elicit an antiphonal response, wherein singers find other singers and sing in harmony with them in such a way that non-singers are enticed to join the song.
[Stay tuned for part 2…]