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God Is Love

7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.


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7. Resumption of the main theme (1Jo 2:29). Love, the sum of righteousness, is the test of our being born of God. Love flows from a sense of God's love to us: compare 1Jo 4:9 with 1Jo 3:16, which 1Jo 4:9 resumes; and 1Jo 4:13 with 1Jo 3:24, which similarly 1Jo 4:13 resumes. At the same time, 1Jo 4:7-21 is connected with the immediately preceding context, 1Jo 4:2 setting forth Christ's incarnation, the great proof of God's love (1Jo 4:10).

Beloved—an address appropriate to his subject, "love."

loveAll love is from God as its fountain: especially that embodiment of love, God manifest in the flesh. The Father also is love (1Jo 4:8). The Holy Ghost sheds love as its first fruit abroad in the heart.

knoweth God—spiritually, experimentally, and habitually.

8. knoweth notGreek aorist: not only knoweth not now, but never knew, has not once for all known God.

God is love—There is no Greek article to love, but to God; therefore we cannot translate, Love is God. God is fundamentally and essentially LOVE: not merely is loving, for then John's argument would not stand; for the conclusion from the premises then would be this, This man is not loving: God is loving; therefore he knoweth not God IN SO FAR AS God is loving; still he might know Him in His other attributes. But when we take love as God's essence, the argument is sound: This man doth not love, and therefore knows not love: God is essentially love, therefore he knows not God.

9. toward usGreek, "in our case."

sentGreek, "hath sent."

into the world—a proof against Socinians, that the Son existed before He was "sent into the world." Otherwise, too, He could not have been our life (1Jo 4:9), our "propitiation" (1Jo 4:10), or our "Saviour" (1Jo 4:14). It is the grand proof of God's love, His having sent "His only-begotten Son, that we might live through Him," who is the Life, and who has redeemed our forfeited life; and it is also the grand motive to our mutual love.

10. Herein is lovelove in the abstract: love, in its highest ideal, is herein. The love was all on God's side, none on ours.

not that we loved God—though so altogether worthy of love.

he loved us—though so altogether unworthy of love. The Greek aorist expresses, Not that we did any act of love at any time to God, but that He did the act of love to us in sending Christ.

11. God's love to us is the grand motive for our love to one another (1Jo 3:16).

if—as we all admit as a fact.

we … also—as being born of God, and therefore resembling our Father who is love. In proportion as we appreciate God's love to us, we love Him and also the brethren, the children (by regeneration) of the same God, the representatives of the unseen God.

12. God, whom no man hath seen at any time, hath appointed His children as the visible recipients of our outward kindness which flows from love to Himself, "whom not having seen, we love," compare Notes, 1Jo 4:11, 1Jo 4:19, 20. Thus 1Jo 4:12 explains why, instead (in 1Jo 4:11) of saying, "If God so loved us, we ought also to love God," he said, "We ought also to love one another."

If we love one another, God dwelleth in us—for God is love; and it must have been from Him dwelling in us that we drew the real love we bear to the brethren (1Jo 4:8, 16). John discusses this in 1Jo 4:13-16.

his love—rather, "the love of Him," that is, "to Him" (1Jo 2:5), evinced by our love to His representatives, our brethren.

is perfected in us—John discusses this in 1Jo 4:17-19. Compare 1Jo 2:5, "is perfected," that is, attains its proper maturity.




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