So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.
Know AND believe.
I don't believe John was being redundant here. Instead, I think he was making a point. But first, what is "the love God has for us?"
Back up to verse 14: the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. This love is seen and proven in the Father sending his Son into the world to save it...to bear the heaviness of sin on the cross, burst the bonds of death in His resurrection, and breathe the Spirit into us with His ascension (because if He stayed, the Helper wouldn't come...(John 16:7). In short, God's love = the gospel.
So we have come to know AND believe...the gospel.
Many of us know the gospel. We can recite John 3:16 with the best of them. We would adamantly reject the belief that the gospel is really us modifying our behavior to be accepted by God. But here's my question, do we BELIEVE the gospel?
For me, it's all too tempting to "know" the love God has for me and not believe it too. Instead, I live my life as if I still have to earn it...as if it wasn't freely given and shown on the cross. Sometimes I live my life as if He has to prove His love again because I'm not trusting He has my good in mind.
There is a daily need to remind myself to not just know but to also believe.
Lord, help my unbelief!