The letters of John, written in his old age, “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:7,20) are fruitful with a range of heart-warming meditations. John writes, “… let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (4:7).

What is it to “know” God? It is to have a true ongoing spiritual relationship with Him. It is a “spiritual marriage” through loving and developing a relationship with His Son. An intellectual understanding is the essential foundation for this – but it is only the foundation: we must ‘build upon’ that foundation, having made sure it is not a faulty foundation. Jesus is our “mediator” – he is not God, he represents God (John 14:8-10), remember Paul’s words to Timothy (1 Timothy 2:5).

John then makes another vital point, “anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 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” (verses 8,9). God initiated the true spirit of love – but today ‘love’ is a much misused word.

Paul told the Corinthians, “In Christ, God was reconciling the world unto himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19). Late in the first century this ‘reconciling’ was already being distorted. John wrote to warn them that “many false prophets have gone out …” (4:1) and succeeding centuries saw the situation go from bad to worse. What a blessing it was when God’s word could be printed and made widely available, now we each can read and get the full sense of what God inspired the disciples, the prophets and others to write. The onus is on us to read it – and allow the words to ‘live’ in our minds and influence all our thoughts.

Our Judges chapter contained a terrible example of a world without the influence of God – and today’s world is just that. This world will soon face God’s judgements. Let us all “abide in love … there is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear” (verses 16,18). So as this world really experiences God’s judgements, we will have “no fear”! This is a most challenging concept! Recall what Peter writes, “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled” (1 Peter 3:13,14).