For The Love of God!

By Rev. J. Loren Russell

1 John 4:20-21 NKJV
“If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.”

The concept of brotherly love is as old as time itself. Cain and Abel were examples for us that our actions speak louder than our words. The phrase ‘for the love of God’ likewise can disprove or confirm our actual feeling about our love of God. It is a phrase that might be voiced when someone is extremely frustrated or proclaimed when exceptionally glad.

The Apostle John wrote this epistle so that his readers would be able to identify genuine Christianity using three (3) tests, the test of belief, the test of obedience, and the test of love. The text focuses on the third of the three tests, that of love. It suggests that not everyone who says I love God, really loves God. The evidence, John says, is in the love one shows to his brother. Just saying I love God does not make it real. Real love is not only audible, but also visual, physical, and spiritual.

But, for the love of God, you will love your brother, do good to those who spitefully use you, repay no one evil for evil, have regard for good things for all men. For the love of God, you can’t help but to love your brother. John is quite firm in his assessment; if someone says that they love God but hates their brother, they are liars. Anything less than genuine love of God and brother is a fabrication, a knock-off, bogus, an imitation, a lie…, it’s just bootleg!

Genuine love of God must give expression by loving your brother. I am not only talking about your brother or sister by blood, but the person who is your brother by relationship, by community, by fraternity, those who are brothers by choice. The love of God is made manifest in the love we show to our brother.

The challenge for us is to embrace the genuine love John talks about and put that love to the three-part test that distinguishes us as true lovers of God. If we pass the test of belief, the test of obedience, and the test of love, verse eighteen says we have the perfect love that casts out fear. We accept and embrace God’s love of us and share that love with our brethren. None of this would be possible but for the love of God! “We love Him because He first loved us” (v.19).

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is President/CEO of The JLR Company/J Loren R Consulting, LLC for Church Financial Strategy & Consulting; an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; creator & host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM on Facebook LIVE and author of Matters of Faith: The Book (eBook available at

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