16a And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.
The apostle John here speaks of his experiential knowledge of God’s love, which is not only his most cherished spiritual blessing, but also that of all other believers. All true Christians have tasted God’s love and can speak of its wondrous blessing in their lives in the most enthralling and confident manner. They do not speak of God’s love as a mere philosophical concept or ideology or possibility, but as their most intimate of experiences.
Knowing the love of God is the dearest and sweetest experience of Christians. They perceive the love of God in their minds, as the apostle John said in 1 John 3:16, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us.” This is not a mere intellectual opinion or proposition about God’s love, but a deep conviction and full assurance resulting from the working of the Holy Spirit through the Gospel of Christ. As Paul said in Romans 5:5, “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us”. The Holy Ghost imparts an intense appreciation and sense of God’s love declared by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So like the apostle John, all genuine Christians are able to say most sincerely, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1)!
Once we are loved and adopted as God’s children, we will be led by His good and gracious providence to more and more blessings of the love that God has towards us. God’s promise is that His children would discover more and more blessings of His love with each new day. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things” (Romans 8:32)? Thus, it behoves us to pray like Paul for greater perception of His unending, infinite love towards us – “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19).
Christians are the authentic witnesses of God’s amazing love. Hence, every Christian ought to be one who testifies to God’s love, both from the heart and with the lips. Let us sing of His love. Let us proclaim His love with our voices and actions. Oh, the love of God that will not let us go!