Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)
In order to understand the love of God, we must define it from the Bible, and not by human experience. The love of God, God’s quality of love, is not the highest and best of human love. It is a love that is unique only to God and comes from God alone. Love is not in the heart of man, nor in the mind of man, or even in the experience of man. What many claim as love are either extolling the best that man can do, or completely mislabeling love in some other term(s). Love is from God. I say it again: Love is from God. Therefore, only those reconciled to God, which can only occur through Jesus Christ His Son, can, and do, love.
Jesus taught the reality that union with Him, and the Father, is the normal Christian life. In fact, it was the prayer to the Father from the Son.
The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; (John 17:22)
Jesus Christ has been given glory from the Father, which existed in eternity past. This glory is infinite, magnificent, transcendent, and full of light. It is a glory that will be regained and restored to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ in the New Heavens and the New Earth (Matthew 17:1ff; Revelation 21:22-24). This glory is the prayer of Jesus Christ for His children. It is the desire to see His brethren be where He is, and has always been prior to His incarnation: in union with the Father.
With that in mind, it is not hard to understand 1 John 4:7-8. Brethren must obey the law of love because God is love. In fact, because of the power of the Spirit of God via the New Covenant (Ezekiel 36:27), this obedience must come from God. Beloved, we love one another because this kind of love is from God rather than born from the heart of man. In fact, only those born of God loves in this manner. The opposite is true as well: “The one who does not love does not know God…”
In other words, when Jesus Christ prayed that the the Father, Son and the brethren He has given to the Son, be unified intimately, Jesus was praying that the very relationship which the Son and the Father (and the Holy Spirit) share for all eternity would be shared with redeemed brethren.
Jesus further prayed in John 17:22–24,
The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
This is how you tell a brother or sister in the Lord: by the expression of the love he/she has for the brethren. And what does this look like? Simple. It looks like the love Christ has for the Father; the love the Father has for the Son; the love the Son and Father have for the brethren, ultimately stated in John 13:1:
Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
Beloved, we love one another because this quality of love is only from God, and is in no way inside the heart of man. We love one another because we alone share in the divine nature of God (2 Peter 1:2-4). We love one another not because of the “value and worth” of the brother, but because of the nature of love which is commensurate with the nature of God Himself.