1 John, Part 8
As we dive into the book of First John, I don’t want to rehash everything that John’s been about for us. We’ve studied the backdrop. I’ve mentioned the backdrop over and over as to why John’s doing what he’s doing, but I do want to begin this section where we’re going to begin in 1 John 4:7. That’s where we’re going to pick up. I want to begin this section by reminding us of where we left off in these first few verses of this chapter, because I wasn’t here last week. And so tying it back to a couple of weeks ago, it becomes important to understand how this chapter moves forward. If you remember at the beginning of chapter four, when John is sharing this message with us, he wants us conscious of the world that we walk in to recognize that what you see with your eye isn’t all that there is. There are spiritual forces at work and he doesn’t want us to bug out or freak out about the spiritual forces either. He wants us to recognize that in Jesus we have overcome.
But the reality is that there are spiritual forces at work. And when we understand the idea of spiritual forces, these spiritual forces can give the perception of light, though they be dark. It even tells us in 2 Corinthians 11, that Satan appears as an angel of light. When he came into the garden of Eden, he came as looking as an angel of light. Sometimes we think about Satan, we think of his personality as being “kill steal and destroy,” right? And I think that that very much, renders a great picture of what Satan ultimately is driving toward. To “steal,kill and destroy.” But that is not the way he personifies himself when he first comes before us.
Sometimes we think about Satan, we think red horns and pitchfork and a tail. And if Satan came to you that way and he gave you this message, “Look, here I am. Go steal, kill and destroy.” All of us sitting here this morning, we’re not going to take that message, walk out and live that in our lives. Like when you think about Adam and Eve, when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden, all of sin, all of destruction that was ever made known, was birthed in those moments of disobedience towards God. But when Satan came into the garden, he didn’t say, look, “Go, steal kill and destroy, Eve. Adam, do this. Be dark in this world.” He didn’t do that. Rather, all Satan has to do, it’s to get you to believe into a lie. If you believe a lie, it can destroy the soul. But if you walk in truth, it will set you free. And I think John starts chapter four under that backdrop. For us to not fall asleep in understanding the truth that God has given to us, but see, the power of this truth has the ability to transform life. But the truth not believed is then to believe a lie and that lie can destroy the soul.
John writes chapter four though, verse four as he talks about the idea of spirits in this world, he wants us to walk in truth and then he reminds us of this, so we don’t live paranoid in light of spiritual forces of evil. But he says this, “Little children you are from God and have overcome them. For he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
Meaning what John is saying in light of spiritual forces of darkness and spiritual forces of light and in light of who God is, in light of Satan, that sometimes we tend to be people that live in the negative and worry about things. To the point that will build bunkers and hide in somewhere in the remote parts of the woods, right? And so we live in light of the negative in this world. Like sort of this fear-based theology. But what John wants us to recognize in the midst of all that is that God has a plan for your life. And in fact, it’s not a plan where you walk into feet, but you are an overcomer in Christ. And so live out what it means to be an overcomer in Jesus.
What does that look like? And that’s where John and verse seven starts to encourage us in our lives. Look, there are spiritual forces of darkness, but you don’t live with that label on you and they don’t have control over you. But rather you belong to Jesus. And in Jesus, you are an overcomer.
One of the joys that I had this past week, my wife and I flew back to the east coast. We had our little bit of time for our anniversary celebration and during our time back east, I sat down with a pastor that has since retired and, and it was a joy for me to sit and listen to him because he really shared our story as a church. And just label that as something to sit back and rejoice over, which was wonderful for my soul because sometimes when you’re in the heat of doing things, you forget to stop and just appreciate what God’s already done in your life, right? He’s been to Utah several times. He came out to Utah before we built Alpine Bible Church here. He came to Utah and we shared a vision for wanting to see a church in this valley, in this city. That we wanted to build the first church building to ever exist in this town, of mainstream Christianity. And and then we did, right?
As I was sharing this with him, he said, “You know, I was on that first trip before a church existed. The joy for me in seeing that is that the people that became part of Alpine Bible church literally carved something from scratch out of the side of a mountain. A church was born.” And really that’s the beauty of our story. Is that when you see churches start throughout this country, there’s oftentimes a lot of funding, a lot of planning, a lot of resources that go into that. But really ABC’s beginning was just a group of people in a living room that quickly moved into a hotel room that God is just continuing to build a family together. And out that, from nothing, something’s happened. When you share a story like that, let me just be clear in saying I’m not sharing that to give us the praise. I think the reason that that happens or has happened is that long before we got here, the Lord was already here. God cares about this valley. And he wants a people that are committed to him. And when you’re willing to do whatever it takes for the cause of Christ, mountains can be moved in the name of Jesus. When John thinks about this phrase, “overcoming.” It’s not because you have this innate power within you, but because of who God is and that God working through you.
And so John is saying to us, look, there are spiritual forces of darkness. Don’t be lulled to sleep by the reality of spiritual forces of darkness. Satan will appear as an angel of light. Satan doesn’t have a problem with good. As long as that good doesn’t lead you to God. Satan’s problem is with God. If he could just twist the truth to get you to believe a lie, it can destroy the soul. But John wants to encourage us in the idea of being an overcomer. To living in the reality of what Jesus has done and continuing to see Jesus move in this world. And so in 1 John 4:7 he begins to explain to us what this looks like.
And so look what he says, “Beloved, let us,” how profound, “love one another.” You want to see the power of God moving this world? You want to be an overcomer? Live in the light of the love in which Jesus manifested in you. Love one another. I love this, the simplicity of this thought, which John is expressing for us. If you think about this, when you talk about spiritual forces of darkness or the negativity around that, sin, things that are negative, things that make you feel defeated, they get you trapped in the past. You don’t move forward. But love is an action word that causes us to live in the moment and look to the future. It’s about separating yourself from the things that might have weighed you down and now living in light of what Christ calls you to in this world because you have already overcome. They don’t have ownership over you, and so John is saying to us, look, you want to know the secret to being an overcomer, beloved, let us love one another because love is about advancement and is what Christ has called us to in this world.
Live with a godly love. Even with those that oppose you. This idea of love is unconditional, sacrificial, right? I said this in the very beginning, that a church committed to Christ at any costs can do tremendous things in the Lord. The Bible says that mountains be moved. Unconditional, sacrificial love, and how do we know this happens? Because that’s what Jesus’ love does for you. It transforms your life from death to life in Jesus. In the midst of our sin, while we were enemies of God, God loves us and gives his life for us and that love transforms us.
How can we possibly love this way? Well, John says in the next phrase, “For love is from God.” Love flows from God. This love is unending. We don’t love so that God loves us. We love because God loves us. So when you think about the idea, of us as God’s people, living as overcomers, loving one another, loving as God calls us to love, unconditionally. How in the world could we possibly do that? Well, the answer is, and John’s going to build on this, that love flows from God. The source of our lives, that fills our cup and flows out from us is found in us as we root ourselves in him.
Jesus is the source. And so John then raises the stakes in this next phrase for us to begin to understand how this love flows from God. He says, “And whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” And then he contrasts this thought. So if you love, as God calls you to love, that love comes through connecting to God who has loved you unconditionally. And as you love this God, you begin to learn in this love and love as God loves. And so therefore, whoever loves has been born of God and God and knows God. And then he says, contrasting that, “Anyone who does not love does not know God.” And then he gives this statement, this important thought to consider, “Because God is love.”
A great marker in the life of the Christian, as seen by those who love. When it’s inconvenient to love. Even when it’s difficult to love. He doesn’t say in this phrase, in verse eight, that God is loving. He says that God is love. And if you trust in him and your pursuit is Christ in your life, then you’ll begin to mimic what you love, which is God who is love. And so made known through your life, despite circumstances of adversity, despite inconvenience and difficulty, our life becomes one of love. Because God is love and love flows from him. As you think about that in your own life, God is love. What does that mean? I know that we fail.
God is love. He’s never less than love. God is love. And does Nathaniel Wall deserve that love? No. I failed God. But God is love. What does that mean for us? What it’s saying to us is love is not based on your performance. God’s love is not based on your performance, but rather God’s love is based on his character. It’s who he is. God is love. He’s never less than that. God is love. And so the call to John in this passage is for us to open ourselves up to that love that’s called to flow through our lives, to fill our cups. You will fail. But here’s the reality. Guys we come to God and we seek his love and then we fail. And then we say, you know, I’m not worthy of his love. I shouldn’t have God’s love. But, but the reality is you shouldn’t have had God’s love to even begin with. Despite our sin, God pursued us because God is love. What does that phrase mean? God is love. If we camp on that thought for just a little longer. God is love.
I think in our culture today, that is one of the most theologically abused terms, when we think of it in light of who God is. God is love. What does that phrase mean? Well I think what John is driving at, by even bringing this up for us, is that all of us have a deep need to be loved and valued. That’s the relevance of this passage. In our lives we want to know that we’re important. We want to be loved, otherwise John wouldn’t have mentioned it, but he wants us to connect the character of God to what our soul craves. And so he says this, he thinks about being an overcomer, that God is love. And the reason that God is love is because from the beginning, God has always existed in community. In Christianity, we call this the triunity or the trinity. God has existed in perfect, harmonious, loving community from the beginning. And so when God created you in his image, God created you with this longing to be a part of community, because you’re made in God’s image and God has always been community from the beginning in the trinity. And so now within your DNA is the structure of who you are as a human being, you desire and long for community to love and to be loved. And so John wants us to connect this idea of God being loved to the way that we have been created as as his creatures in his image.
And this phrase, when he says, “God is love,” notice he doesn’t say God needs love. Or God is loving. He’s not saying God needs love, in the sense that God is lacking and out of a lack of not feeling loved he made you, hoping that you would just love him. God doesn’t need love. God doesn’t need anything. If God needed anything that would make him less than God, because he’s dependent on something to supply for him. God doesn’t need love. Why in the world did he make you? Because God is love and flowing from him is love and love is about giving itself away. So He created you as a creature in his image so he could connect to you and give of him himself out of love, which he possessed because God is love. That’s a securing thought for us.
Because when you think in terms of God needing you, rather than, God doesn’t need you, that God himself is love. What it’s saying is he has a continuous flowing of love to satisfy your life and fill you up. And so when he’s saying God is love, what he’s recognizing for us is that God is the unending source of love. And so when you think in connection to who you are, being a creature created for community, designed to be loved, find worth value and meaning, he’s saying that you find your driving force for love in this world, which God called you to by connecting to the one who created you.
That’s important. Here’s why. You want to find the destruction of your soul? Try to find your fulfillment in anything else. You’re created as a worship being, which means you will look for your worth value and meaning in something. And when it’s not God, it will rob you. Here’s how we tend to think about it in life is that we’re a creature that needs something and so we’ll go find those things to satisfy our needs that we feel whole, that we feel worth value and meaning. But what we ultimately find in the end is that rather than those things serving us, we become a slave to those things to help our worth be discovered. In the end, it just robs us. Even in terms of human relationships. It’s unfair for those that you care about, for you to look to them as if they were God to supply every source of loving need that you need in this world. They weren’t created for that. People can never fully satisfy that. Yes, we experienced the love of God in community. I think it’s a beautiful thing that God compares his relationship to us between a husband and a wife because he wants us to recognize in the most intimate forms of relationship that God’s relationship is like that. But every human relationship will fall short.
I even had this conversation with my wife this past week in Walmart. I did something this past week, I can’t remember what it was, but something spazzy. It’s my human nature sometimes to spazz. And then she pointed out my spazziness in a very gracious way. And I thanked her for it because she could have downgraded me. She could have spoke low of me, but she just in a gracious way, identified it for me and just moved on. And that made me feel like she was for me. And so I just thanked her for being so gracious to me in my imperfections. And I told her, I said, you know, I want to be a model of God’s love for you, but I’m imperfect. And I thanked her for being such a gracious wife to me, in the middle of my imperfections, I could learn to grow in God’s love. But the reality is, if I looked to her as my source, she looks to me as the ultimate source of love, which we should love one another and try to mimic God’s love for one another, we’re never fully gonna satisfy for what the soul was created. Because God is love. Now I am loving, sometimes. But my love, will fall short. And whose love doesn’t? Christ. God is love.
The theological question that you consider as you look at this, God is love. People come to this and ask this all the times, how can God be love if evil is in the world? And God is love and there is evil, and there’s sort of this quandary to try to figure out how in the world that works and what that looks like. Well, John is honestly answering that question for us here in these verses ahead. How is there “God is love” when the world is evil. How does that work? I think, when you look at the Christian answer to this, there’s different groups try to give different answers to that question. But the Christian answer, I think, harmonizes this beautifully for us to understand what God is doing this world. Why God is love, and the world does have evil. For example, if you don’t believe in a God. Trying to wrestle with the idea of wanting love to prevail, yet there is evil, becomes difficult because there is no ultimate basis without God for good and evil. Yet within our own DNA, we desire for good to win over evil. Like we go to the movies and we want the John Wayne’s to be victorious, right? We want Rocky Balboa to knock his lights out, right? Like we cheer for the good guy to win, right? Yet without God, does that happen? It’s the misery of life and then the end?
Or what about religious thinking that you see that there is a God, but your picture of God is one that’s always about Zeus with lightning bolts just zapping you in the rear when you do something wrong? Where is love in that? How can God be love? I even think in our cultures between east and west, there’s a couple of different pictures of God. That some cultures in the east, they see God as this being who all about wrath and justice. And in the west, we like this phrase, God is love. God is love, right?
So how do we recognize God is love in the midst of evil in this world? Well, sometimes we latch onto this phrase. I think even culturally we talk about love and say things like, “Got is love,” but when we typically say that, I think today, and at least in America, when we say God is love what we really mean to say is not God is love, but rather what we’re saying is love is God. That’s a different way of thinking about it. Not God is love, but love is God. And so we’re saying love is God, what we’re really saying is that love is greater and that God’s sort of underneath that. That whatever your picture of God is, that’s fine because love is God. Love is bigger than God and love is God, right? That’s not what John says. He says, God is love.
How does this work? When you think about God in his love, I think one of the most important things that we can contrast with is 1 John 4:9. What John’s about to do in the midst of talking about God’s love is to elevate the idea of God’s justice. I think this is a very important to think about theologically. When you think in terms of love, God is love, it’s very helpful to bring up justice. Or when you think in terms of God’s justice or God’s wrath, it’s helpful to think about it in light of love. And here’s one of the reasons why: when you understand that God is just. He’s 100% love, but he’s also just. You’ve got to understand the characteristics of God in its full display. It’s not just God is love and that is it. Love is God, right? If all God is his love and he is not just how in the world can God ever protect you? And is that loving if he can’t?
You think in terms of being a parent. Suppose you as a parent, in your home, you’ve got children. And there are bad people that want to get in your home and do things to your children. And you as a parent, don’t protect them. You allow the bad people in your home. Is that loving? What if you said you loved them? It’s that loving? So how has it, the love of God and the justice of God become loving? Like as a parent, when you protect that home, that justice at the door, guarding your home to be a safe place, that justice is a personification of your love for your kids. You care about them. You want the security of their future, and your concern for their lives to be made known at your home. When they walk through your door, it is a safe place. And so when you think in terms of God’s love, you cannot separate it from his justice, because his justice becomes the place that is love can be made known.
And that’s what John says here. “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 he has loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins.” So he’s saying, look, this is love. You want to know what love is? Not that you loved, but God unconditionally loved when you were unloving. That is incredible love. That is real love. That is agape love. Unconditional, sacrificial love, that God, being love, still chooses to love you because his nature is to love even when you don’t love him. His love is not based on your conduct, but his character. He is love. And so it begins to magnify that for us by saying he sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. This idea of propitiation takes the thought of love and wrath and marries it together for us to understand what it means to live in God’s love. Propitiation literally means the wrath of God was satisfied and in your bank account came the grace of God because of Jesus on the cross.
Jesus dies on the cross. He pays for your sins. The wrath of God is satisfied and the grace of God pours out over you so that His love flows through you. Can I tell you this guys? When we say God is love, that’s a wonderful fluffy thought. That’s like pat me on the back, I feel good. But when you contrast the idea of God’s love to God’s wrath and you see what Jesus did, it amplifies the beauty of this love. When you say things like Savior and you understand the sin that you owed, the payment that you owe to God. The wrath that was to come and you see what Jesus has done for you, the love of God explodes.
It’s important in the midst of saying God is love to recognize why exactly we’re even saying that. It’s because Jesus has come, given his life for you, so that you could be set free for him, the propitiation of Christ on the cross for your souls. God is love. When we think in terms of legal ramifications, and that’s what this idea of perpetuation, is this court room. You’re guilty. Jesus comes, pays your debt and frees you. He doesn’t just free you. He fills your bank account with the riches of his glory.
Like in terms of our society today in the courtroom, if you were to go before a judge and he was to find someone guilty for doing something against you and then just let them free. That’s not loving. That’s not gracious. That’s not good. What this verse is saying to us is that God deals with the judgment of which is owed and God also has a way to pour out his love. God is love. The idea of him being love in this propitiation is amplified with the identity that it tells us about him. It says that he loved us and he sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins.
What exactly is “son?” People get confused over that in verse 9 and verse 10 it refers to Jesus as the son. Let me just say this, for us as a church, when God has to explain himself, it becomes important for our understanding that he wraps his identity in relatable terms for us today. And so God, who is eternal, omniscient, this glorious being, that really nothing can truly grasp the identity of God. Like if I said to you, define God, like good luck for the rest of the day, filling those pages, right? How do you define God? Something so glorious that is the creator of all things. How do you describe that? Are there enough words to do that? So when God wants us to understand him, he’s got to put himself in certain terms for which we relate to. So when he talks in terms of relationship, what we find in relation to God is that he refers to himself, as Father and Son. Two separate persons, one being, but he describes that relationship between father and son.
And the reason I think God does that is so that we connect the identity of who the Father is to the same characteristics as the Son. It’s not teaching us that God literally has a physical child. Or that God even has a child. Some translations will say this, “the only begotten son.” That’s more King James style in it’s translation. The Greek says “monogenēs.” Which “mono” is one, “genēs” is the same place where you get the word genetic or gene. So what is saying is being the only begotten son, is Jesus is the only one who possesses the nature of the Father within himself. Why? Because he’s God.
What this is is a declaration to the deity of Jesus. It’s saying to us that God physically came in this world and God himself gave his life for you. So when I say to us, like we think about us being human beings that want to be loved, that want to be valued, that want to know we’re important and we are worship beings and we’ll look for that worth value and meaning in all sorts of places. What it’s saying for you is the greatest payment that can ever be placed on your life. The greatest value that can ever be given to you was given to you by God and there is nothing that can proclaim greater worth in your life. Why not live in that love? Why not embrace that love?
You think about the way Jesus is referred to as the son of God and what that means for us. In John 1:18, “No one has ever seen God, the only God who is in the father’s side. He has made him known.” Meaning Jesus has been the exposition of the Father. Like you want to know what God’s like, the Father, what he’s saying is look at Jesus. Here’s the exposition of God on display.
Hebrews 1:3, about Jesus, “Jesus is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” What it’s saying is God’s nature, God the father’s nature, and Jesus has that entire nature within himself because he’s God. Colossians 1:15, “He is the image of the invisible God.” Talking about Jesus. “Firstborn of all creation.” Firstborn doesn’t literally mean the first one born. It means preeminent. Psalm 89:27, if anyone wants to write that down and look that up. Psalm 89:27, Solomon’s called the first born of David. Solomon was not David’s first child born. But Solomon was the one that ruled and reigned after David. And so it’s showing the preeminence of his authority. Same thing with Jesus here being the firstborn of creation. He has preeminent over all of creation. How can he be born of creation when it tells us that he created all things in the very next section of this verse and it says in verse 19, “For in Him all the fullness of God and Jesus dwell in bodily form.” Colossians 2:9, “In him, the fullness of God dwells in bodily form.” First Timothy 6:15-16, “The King of kings, the Lord of lords, who alone is a mortal who dwells in unapproachable light who no one has seen or can see,” talking about God the Father.
The point of this is saying us, when we think in terms of Jesus, it is God becoming flesh. God giving his life for you. How can God possibly love you more than giving his life for you? So you can think in terms of, how can a good loving God exists with evil in this world? Remember in the beginning of the illustration, I talked about parents protecting a home, right? And that we don’t want allow evil into that home, because we care for those inside. Sometimes in our theological way of thinking when it comes to God, we automatically assume that we’re already a child. The Bible doesn’t say that. The Bible says in John 1:14, “To as many as received him, to them gave you the right to become the children of God.” Romans tells us that when we’re born in this world, what we live as enemies to God. But despite that, God still loves us because God is love and God gives his life for us.
The proclamation, the Gospel is that the king has come for you. Jesus has come for you, has given his life for you so you no longer live as an alien of God or an enemy of God. But rather you belong to him in his kingdom. The question is in your life, who wants to pay for the payment? You or Jesus? Because as it sets, when you think about God in terms of his home, his domain with the Bible describes us as is the enemy that comes to the front door wanting to get inside to wreak havoc. And God asked the question, where do you want to belong? Do you care about me, my kingdom, my home or do you want to live, live for yourself? When you give your life to Christ, he brings you into the home to as many as received of them become the right, the children of God.
2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God is long suffering towards us, not willing to any perish, but all come to repentance. What Peter is saying is that in this world today, there is evil. God will not let any tear go to waste. Any pain going to waste. God will reconcile it all. God will judge all. God will be just over at all. And in the middle of that, God’s also recognizing that we’re sinful. And rather than bring down the hammer of wrath on your life, he wants to lavish his grace on you because God is love and he created you to belong and to live in light of that relationship for all of eternity. And so God is delaying the justice on this world. that is evil, to give an opportunity to those that oppose him to say, rather than live life for my glory, I want to live for yours. God, lavish me in that love. Fill my cup. God, permeate my soul with the goodness of who you are
So then he says, verse 11, “Beloved, if God so loved us, then we also ought to love one another. Do you see that guys? How can we be overcomers? Love one another. How can we love that way? Love flows from God. And when you connect to this God, it fills your soul because you find the purpose for which you’re created in his existence in this world. He fills your soul. And you see the magnitude of that love by what’s demonstrated to the propitiation that he paid for your life. And then in recognizing that love being contrasted between His grace and his wrath, justice of God.
He then calls you in light of that to respond in love. And then he gives this thought, “No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” Now, I want to stop on this theological thought for just moment. No one has ever seen God. This is important to think about. No one has ever seen God. What John is saying is, yes, anyone that ever says that God the Father has a physical form, they’ve seen it, that is impossible in comparison to this verse. No one has ever seen God. No one has ever seen God. What John helps us understand in scripture, in passages he’s written and others, is that Jesus has explained him. That out of the triunity, God is not flesh and bones. God is never taken on flesh. God is spirit. And Luke 24:39 tells us the spirit has no flesh and bones. John 4:24, God is spirit. But Jesus then takes on flesh in order to cover your sins in flesh. And so Jesus becomes the manifestation of seeing God walking in this world because he is God.
But no one has ever seen God. These verses, “No one’s ever seen God,” John 1:18. Colossians 1:15, “He is the image (talking about Jesus) of the invisible God.” God is invisible. 1 Timothy 1:17, “He is immortal, invisible, the only God be honor and glory forever and ever”. 1 Timothy 6:15-16, “The King of kings, the Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in inapproachable light, who no one has ever seen or can see.” No one has ever seen the father. It is impossible. It is not even theologically capable.
But here’s what John is saying. He’s not saying no one has ever seen God, just so we can make a theological statement over the fact that no one’s ever seen God. He’s not saying no one’s ever seen God so people go hunt for God and look for God. Rather, what he’s saying is no one has ever seen God so that we all understand that we become the demonstration of God moving in this world. Look what he says. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
Here’s what he’s saying. God wants to make himself known in this world. God does make himself known in this world. And God wants to continue to make himself known in this world in a tangible way. The Bible says all of creation proclaims his glory. But God wants to make himself known in this world in a tangible way. And how does he best do that? Through lives he’s transformed from the inside out. As you’ve come to experience the grace of this God, and you allow him to fill your cup with his love, that love flows through you and you become the expression of his love in this world. And by that people experience firsthand the love of God because God moves through his people.
God calls his people to be overcomers carved out of the mountain there stands a church. And that church moves forward by the grace of God. How so? By finding ourselves surrendered to the goodness of who he is and saying before him, God have your way in us. And what happens? The love of God is experienced in this world because God is love and we ourselves find ourselves connected to that love and allowing that love to flow through us.