A Study of 1st John 4:17
“We love him, because he first loved us.”
(I John 4:19)
Why Do You Love God?
The way you answer this seemingly simple question gives great insight into your hope of justification before the true and living God.
Have you ever seriously considered your MOTIVE, (the inner drive or reason), for all the religious activities (prayer, church attendance, giving, evangelizing, holy living, etc) you do?
I can speak from personal experience concerning this life or death issue.
When I was in a state of lostness, I was actively involved in false, self-righteous, works religion, and went to great lengths to pray, to give at least a tithe, and to attend every activity that went on at the church.
Now as I look back on these things, with eyes enlightened to the truth of justification fully accomplished for me at Calvary, I know that true righteousness is based solely on Christ’s perfect obedience and substitutionary sacrifice as my Representative.
I see that my motive made all my effort and energy to be nothing more than “fruit unto death.”
“For when we were in the flesh (in a state of lostness), the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.”
I can remember thinking that if I didn’t give enough; God was going to take it from me somehow, SO I’D GIVE.
If I missed church, I was quite certain God would punish me for it, SO I WOULD ATTEND.
Every thing I did was either from a mercenary or a legal motive. It was done either to earn or merit some reward, or it to keep God from punishing me.
MOTIVE IS EVERYTHING when it comes to the true obedience of a justified sinner.
Think about Saul of Tarsus.
What religious activities did he perform while in a state of lostness?
“Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.”
After God regenerated and converted him, what did he say of these things that he once thought so important?
He referred to them as “LOSS” and “DUNG”. (Read Philippians 3:7-10).
Before Paul’s conversion, don’t you think he prayed, gave, studied, and sought converts?
Yet all of it was an evidence of his natural ignorance of how God could be “a just God and a Saviour”.
After his regeneration, you can be assured that he still prayed, gave, studied, evangelized, and eventually died for the God of His salvation.
What made the difference?
It was his motive. He no longer did any of these things to save himself, keep himself saved, or to even recommend himself to God. His motive for all obedience was gratitude to God for all that He had already given him through the Lord Jesus Christ’s obedience unto death. John wrote: “We love him, because he first loved us.” (I John 4:19).
Those whom God has forgiven, whose sins were completely put away at Calvary, do indeed love Him, and seek to obey Him in every area of their lives.
What’s your motive?
By R. Warmack