And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
1 John 2:5
Whoever obeys his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him.
It is one thing to acknowledge that “there is a god.” It is quite another to acknowledge that the Lord God is worthy of our love, heartfelt service, fear, and obedience! God requires that we fear, love, and trust him above all things (as Luther would say). And that’s no small order. In fact, it is impossible to do so perfectly. We are doomed to fail – try as we may.
We would have no hope were it not for God’s love. John tells us that God’s love is perfected in those who obey his word; not that our love for God and others is perfected. Elsewhere John tells us that we love because God first loves us. God’s love is his first move; it is steadfast, redemptive, and unconditional. God’s love moved him to send his Son to redeem and save us from eternal condemnation, for an eternity of joy, praise, celebration, and delight.
God had rescued his people from bondage in Egypt when Moses wrote the words of Deuteronomy 10. Now that they had been rescued he required their complete devotion. God’s love has been displayed in Jesus’ perfect life, ministry, suffering, death, and resurrection. He is our righteousness. He is our perfection. We are now called to obey his word because of God’s love to and in us.
To believe that Jesus is Savior and Lord is to rely on his righteousness and to reflect that righteousness in all we do and say. When we fail and when others fail us, we can thank God for his forgiveness and reflect that same forgiveness to those who have sinned against us. Thi sis the perfected love of God: to us and through us to others.