15 February 2013

1 John 4:1-21

"If we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us." (v. 12)


John Wesley, one of the founders of Methodism, spoke a lot about 'Christian perfection', and it was the title of 1 of his 44 sermons.

But Christian perfection and God's love being "perfected in us" has created a lot of confusion.

It does not mean that we are perfect or that we will ever be perfect. Only God is perfect. Throughout the whole of our lives we will all continue to make mistakes and be subject to temptation.

Instead, 'perfect love' (or Christ-like love) is what we should set our hearts on. It is about wanting the love of God to be in every cell of our body, contained within our DNA, and for that divine love to be shown through our lives to others.

Perfect love means that there is no better and no greater love than this.

John Wesley believed that a Christian can reach a point where the love of God reigns supreme in their heart. And that it is only possible if they depend completely on Christ.

To Ponder

  • Verse 12 talks about God's love being shown in action. What can you do to love one another showing that God's love is being perfected in you?
  • Read this prayer from the Wild Goose Resource Group of the Iona Community.

Look at your hands, see the touch and the tenderness -
God's own for the world.
Look at your feet, see the path and the direction -
God's own for the world.
Look at your heart, see the fire and the love -
God's own for the world.
Look at the cross, see God's son and our saviour -
God's own for the world.
This is God's world, and we will serve God in it.

From 'A WEE WORSHIP BOOK' (Wild Goose Publications, 1999)
Text (c) 1999 WGRG/ Wild Goose Resource Group, Iona Community. Glasgow G2 3DH, Scotland.; Reproduced by permission.

What are your thoughts and feelings as you pray this?

Bible notes author

Ken Kingston

Ken Kingston preaches in the High Wycombe Circuit. He has worked for the Connexional Team since 1992 in a variety of roles and has been involved in 'Called by Name' and 'Time to Talk of God' amongst others.