Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11
Sometimes Greek grammar can illuminate our responsibilities as Christians—as in 1 John 4:11. When the Greek word “if” is followed by a certain kind of verb form (in this case, “loved us”), the “if” condition is assumed to be true. So we could translate the verse, “If God so loved us”—and indeed, He did—then we also ought to love one another in the same way. “So loved us” forces the question, How did God love us? The answer is found in the preceding verse 10: He sent His Son into the world to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Putting verses 10-11 together, we see our responsibility. God loved us sacrificially. If God loved us sacrificially—and indeed, He did—then we also ought to love one another sacrificially. Our responsibility, then, is to love one another the same way God has loved us. God sacrificed His Son to love us—what have we sacrificed to love others? Have we sacrificed anger, pride, resentment, material goods, time, self-interest?
Greek grammar makes our responsibility clear. Since God sacrificed for us—and indeed He did—we ought to sacrificially love others as well.
Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.
Isaac Watts, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”