We love, because He first loved us.1 John 4:19(NASB)
The wonderful love of God for those that trust in Him is once again laid bare in this first epistle of John. Perfect love casts out fear and our relationship with our heavenly Father, which is founded on Christ's finished work at Calvary, should give us an inner joy and a profound peace. As His blood-bought children we are reminded that we should have boldness in the day of judgement and not be filled with fear or concern. Fear causes our heart to become tormented and as John rightly points out in the previous verses: the one who fears has not been made perfect in love.
We have an assurance because our future is not only recorded in the Word of God and settled in heaven, but we have the indwelling Holy Spirit in our heart as God's guarantee that all that He has promised to those who trust in Christ for salvation - He will fulfil. The love that God has for the world and the love that Christ has for the Church was written in blood - on a wooden cross - 2000 years ago, and the future day of judgement should not hold any fear for those who have been saved by the blood of the Lamb - for there is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear.
We are therefore called to love Him because He loved us first, but do we simply express our love for the Lord as a required obligation or Christian duty as do unsaved tax-gatherers and sinners, who only love those who reciprocate love, or is there a deeper level of loving God because He loved us first? God's love for us streams from the perfection of His character and the eternal excellencies of His attributes.
Oh, we are indeed intensely thankful and eternally grateful that He loved us enough to die His ignominious death on the cross to save our damned souls, but God's Own love must be the foundation upon which our love for Him is firmly secured and His compassionate, perfect love in us, must be the fountain-head, through which our love streams-out into the lives of others.
Perfect love; divine love; the holy love of God which first loved us is surely established as the ultimately highest, pinnacled capstone in our relationship with the Lord, for the greatest of all is love. We are commanded by Jesus to emulate this love: love as I have loved you, so that Christ is seen in us.
Let us not only reflect in deepest gratitude our love for the Lord, Who willingly sacrificed His life to save us all - but let us also contemplate in reverent awe and hushed wonder His amazing grace; His eternal perfection; His gracious character and the immeasurable excellencies of the God whose nature is pure Love. Yes indeed - we love Him because He first LOVED us.
Father, when I think of the depth of Your love for me I am overwhelmed. I cannot love as You love unless You pour Your love through me - so that it may flow through me and out to others. Thank You that I am being conformed into the likeness of Christ. May the seed of love that You have planted within my heart blossom into a godly love. Take my life as a vessel through whom Your love is shed abroad into a world where real love has been corrupted. I love You Jesus, hear my prayer I pray, AMEN.