Reading: 1 John 4:7-19
Yesterday we saw that we are God’s image, where it comes to the relationship Father- Son/Parents-children.
This close unity between parents and children, and as a result of that also between siblings (coming from the same parents), can be taken broader as well, reflecting the unity of God. Out of one man, God created the entire human race (see Acts 27: 26: And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth). God wants His children to be one people, one body of Christ. God decided not to have m/b-illions of relationships with individual believers, but one relationship with them all as the one people of God. The Bible emphasizes this unity in many places. This unity among all believers reflects again the unity of the Triune God. Jesus Christ even made this an important part of His prayer in John 17: 11: that they may be one as we are.
In 1 John, John even says that who does not love, does not know God. 1 John 4:7: Let us love one another, for love is of God: and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. And in verse 11 he writes about reflecting God’s love for us: Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
It is to protect these three forms of relationships, in which we are God’s image, that God gave the 5th commandment (authority: parents – children), the 6th commandment (murder: all people as brothers/sisters) and 7th commandment (adultery: protection of marriage).
(Another aspect of mankind as the image of God is ruling over this creation. In that perspective we must see the last three commandments: no stealing, no lying, no coveting.)
Do we want to begin to understand how God is, then we should look at ourselves, from the Biblical perspective: this is how God intended the relationship husband and wife in marriage, this is how God intended the relationship parents – children, this is how God intended the relationship between all mankind as brothers and sisters, because in these relationships we shall reflect God. In all these relationships, love has an important place. God is love and therefore we will reflect Him by having love.
Each of these three relationships is different and each has their own specific elements and their own specific forms of love. Transferring the love of the first relationship to the second or third would be sin (incest, adultery), while the love which is required in the third relationship is part of but in itself not sufficient for the first and second. While at the same time all three forms of relationships with their form of love reflect the one only true God.
Not everyone is called to reflect God in all three relationships. Not everyone is called to reflect God in the relationship husband-wife. Not everyone is called to reflect God as parents (even though we all have been or are in this kind of relationship as children). But everyone is part of mankind and as such everyone has at least one kind of relationship to reflect God. Therefore, everyone has the task to reflect the love which is in God. Being created in God’s image means that we will love the LORD our God, with all our heart and soul and mind, and love our neighbor as ourselves.
Key Text: John 17: 11: that they may be one as We are.
Meditation: It is Christ’s strong desire that we are one, as He and the Father are one. The extent of our love for our neighbor reflects our love for God. Evaluate your love for your neighbor and draw conclusions from that about your love for God.