Followers of Christ are wrapped in God’s love. His love gives us hope, indwells us, matures us and empowers us.
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. (1 John 4:16-17)
I have a confession to make; I sometimes struggle with John’s writings. Not in the sense that I disagree, but in that I get lost in them.
I don’t deal with a sensitivity to flashing lights as some do. But sometimes my brain hits pause when I read parts of John’s writings. John’s penchant to come back around to specific words several times within the same body of text sometimes shuts down my ability to comprehend.
And yet, I find it to be worth the effort to wrestle with comprehending John, because when I can absorb what he is conveying, I find deep, challenging, encouraging biblical truth.
Today’s passage is an example of what I’m talking about. The repeated use of the words “love” and “live” in today’s passage, for some reason make my brain freeze. But eventually as I dig in, I am blessed to see an incredible truth; that we are wrapped in God’s love.
I see at least 4 different ways we are wrapped in God’s love from today’s passage.
Ways We Are Wrapped in God’s Love
God’s Love Gives Us Hope
Because we have come to know that Jesus Christ is the way of salvation for all of humankind, we have a hope for the future that can only be understood by His followers. It is a hope that helps us endure for a time the evil and sufferings of a sin-affected world (Titus 2:11-14).
Even more, it is a hope that we have in spite of the trials and sufferings we endure for our faith and for the sake of those we love. We have the hope that Christ gives us because He has overcome the world (John 16:33).
Followers of Christ are blessed to be given the fruit of the spirit, which fills us with a peace and joy that is unlike anything we could ever muster for ourselves. It helps us to live like kingdom people here on earth. Being wrapped in God’s love in this way allows us to hope even in the most hopeless times.
God’s Love Indwells Us
God gives us the gracious gift of the Holy Spirit, indwelling us so that we may have intimacy with Him.
How does the Holy Spirit provide for intimacy with Christ? Here’s how: Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit brings glory to Jesus Christ by telling us “whatever He receives from me” (John 16:14). One of the roles the Holy Spirit fulfills is to be a conduit between us and Christ while Christ is not here with us in person.
We live in God, and God lives in us. You can’t have a more concise description of being wrapped in God’s love than that.
God’s Love Matures Us
As we walk wrapped in God’s love, over time that love will grow us into a more mature follower of Christ. Our love will “grow more perfect” the longer we consistently live for Christ. By staying connected to Him, we will continue to understand and exhibit God’s love, both back to God and to others.
It is difficult to stay in one place in our relationship with God. We can be growing closer to Him, exhibiting a life that is more reflective of the life of Christ. Or, we can allow our intimacy with Christ to lapse.
This is why it is so important to continue to abide with Christ. It is practically impossible to be impacted by a relationship that we are not actively engaging in.
To grow in Christ, we have to go with Christ, following Him every day, in obedience and surrender.
God’s Love Empowers us
As we grow in love and intimacy with Christ, becoming more like Him, we will learn to love what He loves and hate what He hates.
God loves His creation. He has a desire that every person would come to repent of their sins and turn towards Him (2 Peter 3:9). But He will not force our love. God leaves the choice up to us, so that love can be genuine.
We too, as we grow closer to Christ, will love others, just as we will grow more to love Him.
God hates sin. He hates the consequences of sin. Because of sin, God’s creation has turned from Him.
The only way we can stand before God on the day of judgement and not be afraid is to be intimately connected with Him. We can believe He is God and believe we need to follow Him. But it isn’t until we give Christ our whole heart can we become wrapped in God’s love. Then we can be so in tune with His desires, seeking to please Him in holiness, that we can be near God on the day of judgement and not be afraid. Because we know Him, trust Him, and understand what pleases Him.
An Important Qualifier
The end of this passage does not speak specifically to God’s love. But it does speak to the affect God’s love should have on us.
It is because we live like Jesus in this world that we can have such confidence before Him.
There is a personal responsibility in following Christ that is undeniable once you have poured through the scriptures. To be wrapped in God’s love, one cannot expect to get there by saying a prayer and then going on about one’s life.
Following Christ is not about signing up for the right team; it takes effort and commitment to give up all rights to ourselves and follow Him daily. We cannot earn God’s love, but we can’t expect to be dismissive of it and there be no consequences for acting that way.
Consider the Parable of the 3 Servants (Matthew 25:14-30). Read it carefully. Jesus tells us this parable is an example of what the kingdom of heaven is like.
The servants who earned a return on their master’s investments were rewarded with more. But the last servant who hid the master’s investment in the ground did nothing with it. Even that taken away from him. Then he was cast into the outer darkness.
Please do not ignore the warning of this parable. Christ has done all the work of salvation for us. In that sense, it is absolutely free, only available by His unmerited grace. But if we ignore it, bury it, turn it aside, there will be eternal consequences.
If you have asked to be forgiven of your sins and accepted Christ, understand that it doesn’t end there; God has expectations of His followers. But if we commit ourselves to surrendering fully to Christ and follow Him in obedience, we will be wrapped in God’s love here on earth and in eternity.
More Bible verses about being wrapped in God’s love:
Deuteronomy 7:9; Psalm 36:7; Lamentations 3:22-23; Isaiah 54:10; Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 3:14-19