Is it possible to hate another Christian and at the same time love God? Well, the short answer to this question is no. That’s right. I am saying that it is not possible to hate a fellow Christian and love God at the same time. Consider this verse:
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? (1 John 4:20)
This verse seems very simple. What many people do not realize is that love, in the life a Christian, is an awesome responsibility. In this same chapter John gives a wonderful history of love from God to man, man to God, and finally man to man. Let’s take a second and look at the order of love.
The Origin of Love
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)
John says that in the death of Christ, God’s love was “manifested.” The word manifested means “to come out in the open, to be made public.” Under the old covenant God was hidden behind the veil of the temple. Under the new covenant God has revealed His love openly.
The sending of Christ into the world was not prompted by man’s love and desire for God. Instead the coming of Christ was prompted by God’s love for mankind. Two reasons are given for the coming of Christ. In verse nine Christ came so that we could live through him. Second Christ came to be our propitiation.
The word “propitiation” has been used before.
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)
The word “propitiation” means a “mercy seat.” In the Old Testament this word meant to cover or atone for. Christ is like the mercy seat in the tabernacle. It was to the mercy seat that the high priest came yearly to offer sacrifices for the sins of the people.
Jesus is our mercy seat. He has paid the price for redemption in His own body. Christ’s death was not an accident, his death was an appointment.
Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (Romans 4:25)
The truth is, that many people assume God saves people based on love. While it is true that God does love, He does not saved based on love. God can’t just let someone into heaven because He loves them. God is too holy to allow that. Therefore Christ had to come. Because God does love, Jesus was born to pay the penalty for our sins, and make a way for us to come to him.
Notice that all this was not done because we loved God. God loved us long before we ever loved Him. God does not even love us because we are lovable. God loves us while we are sinners. The person that states “God would not send anyone to hell because God is love” will find themselves mistaken. Because God loves He made a way for us to be saved, but be assured that a person who does not accept the work of Christ will spend eternity in hell.
The Order of Love
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. (1 John 4:11)
Now that God demonstrated His love to us, it is our turn to display love. This is the natural order of things. God loved us, we have fellowship with God, and therefore we love others. Notice that displaying love is not a duty, but a privilege. We have been given God’s love, therefore we love. When we realize what Christ did for us, we should be willing to love others.
How did I say that Christ loved? Did Christ love us because we loved Him first? No, God’s love is not selfish.
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? (Matthew 5:46)
Notice what Christ said about love.
I ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. (John 15:12)
This is serious business. John is mentioning this over and over. It is terribly important that we are demonstrating God’s love in our lives.
The truth of the matter is that others cannot see the love of God in our heart. Maybe God has saved you, changed your life and you are in love with Him. Your neighbor isn’t able to see your heart. You must display that love for it to do your neighbor any good.
I wonder how many people have determined not to go to a church because some member is not displaying the love of God. I would hate to think that someone would refuse to come to my church because they saw me as hateful, angry or miserable. What good am I doing this world if I go around bitter and angry all the time? The answer is none.
Unfortunately we live in a day when many church members feel that it is there job to correct everyone around them, pick fights on some social network, and talk bad about others on Facebook for everyone to see. I understand that I’m not going to make many friends by pointing this out, but the truth is that all these things are hurtful to the cause of Christ. You will not win anyone to Christ in these ways. God help us to display Christ’s love in every area of our lives.
John finishes the chapter by stating:
And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. (1 John 4:21)
Are you in the habit of loving others? Why not, God commanded you to?