Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. – 1 John 4:7-12
Verse 12 makes clear that there is a direct connection between Christians loving one another and the love of God being made manifest in the world.
As David Jackman observes:
[Love] is an integral part of the witness of the church in the world to the reality of the gospel and the love of her Lord. No one has ever seen Good is a statement almost exactly paralleled by John in the prologue to the gospel (John 1:18). There it is the incarnation of Jesus which is thought of as the visible manifestation of the invisible God. Here it is the love between Christians. That in itself should make us stop and think about how important this responsibility is. If the church is he body of Christ on earth, then she must reflect His character in her relationships and inner life. The supernatural love of God for sinners like us has often been made more credible when unbelievers have seen it reflected in the lives of His children. R. Francis Schaeffer rightly described such love as ‘the ultimate apologetic,’ for the LORD Himself said, ‘All men will know that you are My disciples if you love one another’ (John 13:35).
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 90
Q. 90. How is the word to be read and heard, that it may become effectual to salvation?
A. That the word may become effectual to salvation, we must attend thereunto with diligence, preparation and prayer; receive it with faith and love, lay it up in our hearts, and practice it in our lives.