There is a great deal of reiteration in this chapter, but additional truth appears with regard to testing the spirits (1 John 4:1-6), and there is more extended teaching on love.God is love, love as a test, love of one another, love of God, God's love of us, etc. The humanistic philosophy that reads this "love of all mankind" is an inadequate conception. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1964), p. 154. and every spirit that confesseth not Jesus is not of God: and this is the spirit of the antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it cometh; and it is in the world already. One who "knows God" but denies the Son of God is a liar. “I have sometimes noticed that, in addressing Sunday-school children, it is not uncommon to tell them that the way to be saved is to love Jesus, which is not true. Have boldness ... One grand dividend received from a love-oriented and love-motivated life is a dramatic diminution of fear, both with reference to earthly fears and those regarding the ultimate summons of all people to the judgment of God. In this great fact, the entire Christian religion is unified and bound together. As Denney observed: [34] James Denney, The Death of Christ (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1894), p. 152. Indeed, it is the same thing, exhibited, even as it was by the author of James, as God's basic requirement of all who would be saved! [13] John R. W. Stott, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Vol. "[51] Plummer's summation of John's thoughts here is as follows: May our attitude toward this holy commandment be that of freely confessing that the total fulfillment of it lies utterly beyond our unaided human strength to accomplish it; but may we also preempt unto that holy purpose the blessed promise of the apostle: "I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13). One another ... is incapable of meaning "everybody on earth," although of course, the love of every Christian reaches out to the ends of the world, but not in the intensity commanded here. God is love; and he that abideth in love abideth in God, and God abideth in him. As a consequence of such primary obedience, and subsequently to it, the Holy Spirit was given, not to make men sons of God, but because upon such initial faith and obedience they became sons of God (Galatians 4:6). Morris was impressed that, "Apart from Revelation, where it is used 17 times, 1John uses the verb to overcome more often than any other book (6 times)."[20]. The apostle John here presents one after another "all but impossible levels of Christian attainment";[44] (1) the love of all people with a self-sacrificing love like that of Christ; (2) the living of a life free from every sin; (3) confidence in the hour of the final judgment when people are pleading for the rocks and the mountains to fall upon them; and (4) the banishment of all fear; and notice that last phrase made perfect in love. (1 John 5:1). This is another in a series of tests by which evil teachers could be recognized and refused. Therefore we are given a command to love, that he who loves God must love his brother also. Please see our Privacy Policy for cookie usage details. Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary (concise), Matthew Henry Bible Commentary (complete), California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. This is not surprising. If we love one another God abideth in us, and his (1 John 4:12) love is perfected in us (1 John 4:12). 3. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God. The primary pre-requirements of salvation, the so-called "plan of salvation" is meant by this. "[8] Orr affirmed that a "better translation" of this verse is: "Every spirit which confesses Jesus as Christ come in the flesh is of God. But how can I love a God who is invisible?” God would say to us, “Learn to love Me, Whom you cannot see, by loving My children, whom you can see.”. There is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath punishment; and he that feareth is not made perfect in love. And whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1959), p. 189. One may know the Word, may never miss a service, may pray fervently, and may demonstrate gifts of the Spirit. "[3] The final clause of the verse states flatly that the "false prophets" were in view. You always can block or delete cookies by changing your browser settings and force blocking all cookies on this website. Everything that was ever advocated in the name of Christianity must pass this test. "[9] Whether or not that is the correct translation, it is, in any case, a proper understanding of what the passage means. Click on the different category headings to find out more. There is a difference between the love of man, and divine love. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of love. And concludes. He loved us when we were still sinners: “Every man that ever was saved had to come to God not as a lover of God, but as a sinner, and then believe in God’s love to him as a sinner.” (Spurgeon), ii. One wrote to F. F. Bruce the following question: Who has not encountered the same difficulty? Click to enable/disable Google reCaptcha. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar: By this crucial measure, Jesus said the world could measure our status as disciples by the measure of our love for one another. This is a fourth test of the false teachers, to be considered along with the three tests mentioned in the preceding verse. He that does not love the image of God in his people, has no saving knowledge of God. i. Only in the world's Saviour can human life be endowed with that purpose, significance and vitality, without which, human life tends to wretchedness and misery. But it is there, and its presence is demonstrated by our love for one another and our agreement with God’s truth – and that all serves to give us boldness. Finding the new version too difficult to understand? He sent his word to invite sinners to partake of this great salvation. (1-6) Brotherly love enforced. Is this anything less than the total God-like perfection enjoined by Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:48? We simply do not believe that the modern scholars have any more information regarding this than did the translators of KJV and ASV, nor that the recent ones are any more competent. No man hath beheld God at any time: if we love one another, God abideth in us, and his love is perfected in us: No man hath seen God at any time ... Blaney was probably correct in seeing this as a warning to Christians against "trying to know God in any other way than the one he is describing. and he in us (1 John 4:13). The Father sent the Son, he willed his coming into this world. No one in the whole world ever knew that God is love until it was revealed from heaven and written in the New Testament. Faith alone occupies that place.” (Spurgeon). For it is God's nature to be kind, and to give happiness. Much of the love that passes for such is merely bigotry. The sum of revealed religion is in the doctrine concerning Christ, his person and office. (3) It is also aided by the Christian's realization that he himself has "inconsistencies" and much worse; and that he has been forgiven; and that we who have lost such an intolerable burden of guilt in the love of Christ can best show our appreciation of so great a boon by forgiving and loving others. The New Testament reveals that "obeying the gospel" as the New Testament writers called it, meant believing in Christ, repenting of one's sins, confessing the Son of God, and being baptized "into Christ." It will be noted that such tests have a prominent place in this chapter. They are like that of a dutiful child, who does services to a beloved father, which benefit his brethren, and are done willingly. Please be aware that this might heavily reduce the functionality and appearance of our site. This somewhat sudden mention of initial Christian obedience, after all John had been saying, and continued to say about "love," reminds us that: [42] William Hurte, Restoration of New Testament Christianity (Rosemead, California: Old Paths Publishing Company, 1964), p. 489. This truth reveals that if we do not love the man on our doorstep, we do not love any man who is unknown to us in any personal sense; and the same thing is true with loving God. We must distinguish between the fear of God and being afraid of him; the fear of God imports high regard and veneration for God.