], O plenteous grace that nerved my soul to raise, Within its depth I saw that by the chains, Whate’er the universal world contains;—. In ever-varying hues at morning’s dawn. (The Epistles of John- An Expositional Commentary) (See also related journal article - 1 John 4:7-21 - Excellent). This individual absolutely does not know God. - Bible verse I feel inclined to deny it. The scientist, for instance, traces him to the ape, and says, “This is where he came from”; or he dissects his brain, and says, “Thought, emotion, love, imagination, poetry, worship--see the marks of every one of them upon this material tablet, which we call the brain.” And this gospel story the cynic indulges in cheap sneers at it, and asks if you are going to make an angel out of this sorry being with his vulgar appetites and animal lusts. 1. He would go on holding fellowship with his own soul’s visions in the soul’s private sanctuary; but he would not demean himself by selling his soul to the man who merely could pay the highest price for it. Apart from God—who Himself is love—none of us could truly love or be loved (1John 4:7-8). Profoundly philosophical, therefore, is the statement that “He that loveth not, knoweth not God.” (Homilist. See on love of God (1 John 2:5). Macfarland (C. S.), The Infinite Affection, 23. And he longs for some other art than poetry to tell the one word more that was in him. Those who love Christ have a love for the lost. The only specific moral fault the author ever charges his opponents with is failure to show love for fellow believers when they are in need (1John 3:17-note). Indulgence not love. As far as God’s love is concerned, the Cross might be placed in Genesis as well as in John, in Leviticus as well as in Luke. As they were in the glow of the great, glad sun. What a hackneyed text you have taken!”, But look here—look into all old creeds, where God is said to be Cruelty, and Lust, and Caprice. Your intellectual life; you read, you think; but you read and think that you may have fuel for the fire. By David C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Browning compares himself to that artist in addressing the wife whom he loved with such adoring self-abandonment. Düsterd. One truth is written: all conspire to prove. It may be a token of the greatest love that you know nothing of it. Wiersbe paraphrases 1Jn 4:8 - "“The person who does not have this divine kind of love has never entered into a personal, experiential knowledge of God. God is often styled holy, righteous, wise; but not holiness, righteousness, or wisdom in the abstract, as he is said to be love; intimating that this is his darling, his reigning attribute, the attribute that sheds an amiable glory on all his other perfections. Bible. That is Buddhism. And the fact is only intelligible in the light of this first fact, “God is love.” It is very easy to prove the insignificance of man. All rights reserved). 1 John 4:7–8 Six times in this letter John employs the personal address “beloved” ( niv , “dear friends”), expressing his pastoral, heartfelt concern for the welfare of his followers. Man is responsible for it, not God. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 506 See the discussion of major divisions in 1 John in the previous section “Structure and Purpose of 1 John.”. It is when you speak of the Cross, when you speak of the “Lamb of God,” of the sins of the world being laid upon Him, that men begin to hesitate and stammer. But these were the mere trifles of God’s works. The man who believes in no prophet but the political economist thinks that Christian philanthropy is sheer infatuation, sheer waste of human energy. 3. A T Robertson adds that "Present active articular participle of agapaō = “keeps on not loving.” Considering that this agape love is divine love implies that it must have a supernatural source, the indwelling Spirit (Gal 5:22-23-note). ), God has many attributes, and we see Him and adore Him under many aspects; but the essence of Deity is single, and His being is “love”! 8.] For God is love.— God is the most benevolent of all beings, full of love to his depending creatures; so that in him there is nothing wanting to the highest perfection of love. Denomination: Pentecostal. Be, that thy grasp may fail not! But I hear it said again: ‘Why has God left such a vast proportion of the inhabitants of this earth ignorant of Christ and of the way of salvation?’, (a) God has not left them ignorant. No one in the whole world ever knew that God is love until it was revealed from heaven and written in the New Testament. This emphatic description refers to the nature, as well as to the operations of God. I see all things depending alike for their source and their sustenance upon others. 1 John 4:5, KJV: "They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them." Always. What has Christianity done to make good its claim to the proud title of the Gospel—the one good message of glad tidings to mankind? We must see it as a world of individuals who are lost and need to hear the gospel. and, ere long, Thou shalt ascend to that fair Temple, where. Surely, under a law of liberty, all obedience freely paid becomes by that very freedom more hearty, more trustworthy, more true. There lies the difference between Divine love and human love. As W E Vine says "Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. The love of the Eternal for every human soul is an eternally enduring love. They try to rationalize this aberrant interpretation by saying such a person is saved, but they are just not mature. (3) And yet there is a height above the reciprocity of wedded love. Where there is a love stronger than death there must be a soul stronger also.2 [Note: John Ker, Thoughts for Heart and Life, 7.]. If He creates, He creates in love; if He rules, He rules in live; if He judges, He judges in love. In revealing the truth of the Trinity, God does much more than show to us an abstract doctrine: He unveils to us Himself. “God is love.”, IV. Love is the central emotion in God.—When the Apostle tells us that God is love, he means to say, not that God has this attribute and no other, and not that He has this attribute paramount to others; for, as the attributes of any mind must partake of the character of the mind which exercises them, so the attributes of God must partake of the essence of God, and be in all aspects, therefore, infinite and Divine; none, therefore, can be more than infinite, none less than Divine. Yet joys partaking, past my utmost praise. In 1Jn 4:7-note the apostle says "love is from God" but that is not saying that "love is God." This was a first principle in the creation of this world. I know now how He feels and thinks and acts. Here is indeed the point of contact between the sublime truth of the Holy Trinity and the humblest, smallest, most trying claims which one poor, suffering human being may lay upon another, if this other is a Christian, a child and servant of this God. They are all determined, limited, described, if God is love, by love. Some mother quails have lost their lives in that way, no doubt, but they have saved the nest. “Of course!” you say. Is it conceivable that through an eternity the Infinite Perfection should have been yearning in unsatisfied longing for something to love? Not only was God in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, but God also was in Christ making Himself known unto the world. , “did not get to know,” i.e., at the initial crisis of conversion. To love, to be loved, is a restraint, a constraint, a transformation. The text takes us up, as it were, above the veil; we are caught up through the door of this vision to the sanctuary of God's throne. The summer makes the flowers, and they declare its glory. He might be quite confident of the love, the infinite love of God. Of course Jesus loved all of the disciples with a special love (John 13:1), but He loved John in a unique sense.Carson goes on (pp. It matters not; to God to tell Himself was a necessity, for “God is love.”1 [Note: J. M. Jones, The Cup of Cold Water, 162.]. If new emotions fill His heart, as one by one His works are done, that is but incidental, and not the object of His toil. Men have rejected it, scorned it, treated it with contempt. (W. J. So is it with some of you. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love, Is God knowable? Never was a more important declaration made than this; never was more meaning crowded into a few words than in this short sentence - “God is love.” In the darkness of this world of sin - in all the sorrows that come now upon the race, and that will come upon the wicked hereafter - we have the assurance that a God of infinite benevolence rules over all; and though we may not be able to reconcile all that occurs with this declaration, or see how the things which he has permitted to take place are consistent with it, yet in the exercise of faith on his own declarations we may find consolation in “believing” that it is so, and may look forward to a period when all his universe shall see it to be so. As well expect the fly that crawls on the dome of this majestic cathedral to interpret the purposes and methods, the disposition and attributes of the architect. I know that He will be a God of love, but oh! If the gift is love what can the giver be? Hastening so swiftly to the vale beneath, To cheer the shepherd’s thirsty flock, or glide. viii., p. 398; J. Baldwin Brown, Ibid., vol. Conversely, a stranger to love is a stranger to God. Adam Clarke - God hates nothing He has made. 1 John 4:10, 1 John 4:11.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. It is the office of love to seek the final good of its object; to bless the object rather than pamper it; to raise and ennoble and glorify it rather than minister to its passing whims and caprices. Most lively image of Thy Father’s Face. The beginning of the Epistle is much the same as the beginning of St. John’s Gospel. He has been telling it unweariedly through the ages. Of saints and seraphs, round the Throne above, Proclaim for evermore, that God is Love!1 [Note: Thomas Davis.]. So Nature gives eloquent witness to the power of the law of love.1 [Note: W. E. ‘God is love.’ That is one of the golden sentences only to be found in the Book of God. Jesus tells us (John 14:21), “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”, I might add that, perhaps another aspect of Christ’s love was His special love for the apostle John, who refers to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 13:23). Our witness will lack power without the force of God’s love. 8.Loveth not, knoweth not God—It is the true heart that truly knoweth God. The absence of God’s love in their lives revealed their unregenerate condition as conclusively as did their aberrant theology." I often saw in Upper Egypt an ancient temple pulled to pieces to build a village of hovels. His beneficence is love showing itself in deeds which we recognize as helpful. And Mungo Park saw this beautiful little bit of moss; and it said to him, “God is love”; and he was not afraid, for he saw, even in the little bit of moss, “God is love.”2 [Note: James Vaughan. But Christ came; Calvary came. Far from condoning sin, his love has found a way to expose it (because he is light) and to consume it (because he is fire) without destroying the sinner, but rather saving him." Further, because God is love, love which he shows is occasioned by himself only and not by any outside cause. (1 John 4:7-11 Why We Must Love) (Bolding added). We must integrate these truths in biblical proportion and balance. God’s love is the key to the mystery of pain and sorrow.—This epigrammatic sentence fits all graves, it fits all cemeteries; it is the word that is written on the portals of the churchyard, “God is love.” I have seen a strong man reel over his son’s grave as if he would plunge himself into it, for there was nothing worth living for after that one boy had gone. He thought of Him who went about doing good; of His self-denial and poverty for man’s sake; of His compassion on the multitude; of His sympathy for the bereaved; of His kindness towards the outcast; of His tears at the grave of Lazarus; of His message of forgiveness to the sin-stricken; of His words such as never man’s sake; of His washing His disciples’ feet; of His death in pity for human sin; of His resurrection into immortality and glory, John thought of all this as setting forth the life of God in its fundamental meanings. It might be called "caring commitment." And so the suffering all turns to reward, and the compensation is abundant! Love built heaven. Consequently, if there is no warm glow in our hearts for our brother, if we do not thrill to the lovely name of Jesus, we may well question the reality of our conversion experience. It is no answer to say that the capacity to love was in God before by creation He found an object for His love. Let me address careless sinners in the language of warning and reproof. “Sometimes love sure hurts!” The mother and father were expressing the difficulties and heartaches of guiding their children through their teen years. In the midst of all that occurs on the earth of sadness, sin, and sorrow, there are abundant evidences that God is love. Gibbon.). The frosts of winter work for the harvest. They exist merely for the sake of a greater thing than themselves. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Absence of love shows that a person does not have intimate fellowship with God. Beyond these there is something still sacreder and more precious--the spirit. He commanded us, “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn. God cannot love one and withhold His love from another, for God is love, and He cannot help loving. Why we are not informed. His character and His service, these were left to Him, and in His calling to these He recognized that God loved Him. You do not say that dawn makes the sun? The highest characteristic of our religion is “love.” If you have no love, you have no God! And yet what can it avail to tell of love? Commentary on 1 John 4:1-6 (Read 1 John 4:1-6) Christians who are well acquainted with the Scriptures, may, in humble dependence on Divine teaching, discern those who set forth doctrines according to the apostles, and those who contradict them. Next week perhaps we may meet him, and even then we must hold ourselves remote, and yet be near at hand, and when the lull comes, the only sentence the man can bear—and at first he may receive it with unbelief and partial scorn—is, “God is love.” It does not seem like it. God is love (1Jn 4:7-note). There are many in evangelical churches that claim to be born again, but they do not love others and they do not even make an effort to do so. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly be broken. Love must have an object of its affection! The loving heart, not the excited conscience. God has poured out the wealth of His redemption. May the mighty God bless him, and strengthen him for the work that he may be called to! seems to make it: “non novit, saltem practice non ostendit se nosse et agnoscere, Deum esse … caritatem:” in that case it would be either οὐκ ἔγνω, ὅτι ὁ θεός … or οὐκ ἔγνω τὸν θεόν, ὅτι ἀγ. “He was sent that we might live through Him”: for us men, and for our salvation He came down from heaven. To never demonstrate love indicates that one is not a possessor but a pretender. His justice is love looking out on the great mass of His creatures. III. Light is not God. The love of God finds its free expression in Christ.—“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” His love had been given to men since the creation, but men shut their hearts and contracted their lives, and the love of God had no free course. This love of the being of God came forth unasked, unmerited, in the love of His actings. There are others who vaguely believe that He is good and kind. He has been telling it unweariedly through the ages. 1 John 4:5, ESV: "They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them." The excited conscience has formulated a God, but it has been a God of vengeance, wrath, and fury. ), The Divine Opportunity, 25. Not that he gives up painting; but he adds sculpture to it, in order to relieve his own soul, that he might put into marble what he could not put on the canvas. Love Hurts! My conceptions of Him are imperfect. God loves the good, the true, the pure, but His love rises higher that it may come down lower; and He loves me—me. (Brian Bell), Stott adds "Not only is God the Source of all true love; He is love in His inmost being… It is the most comprehensive and sublime of all biblical affirmations about God’s being, and is repeated here twice (1Jn 4:8, 16)." But it is a luxury to her to serve him. But the Bible is clear that God’s love does not negate His holiness and justice, or vice versa. Do not expect that because God is love you are going to understand all that God is doing around you and for you. 1 John 4:10 - In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. In Christ the Divine love comes to us, and, mounting, towers far above any conception of love the world has ever known before. The Love of the Trinity is nameless: human tongue has no words to express it; no creature may inquisitively look into its eternal depths. The sole hope of retaining God is in the absoluteness and the universality of the Divine love. ), The Roots of Christian Teaching, 15. "It is here, and nowhere else; it is not found in all the literature of mankind."[29]. 1 John 4:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓] 1 John 4:5, NIV: "They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them." 8. I. p. 961 ff. He hates no thing that he has made. Love is self-sacrifice, and the death of Calvary is the self-sacrifice of God. 143.]. Mant. He has made no human being for perdition, nor ever rendered it impossible, by any necessitating decree, for any fallen soul to find mercy. I have nothing by which to know the Omnipotent. Here descends this great ladder of light from the throne above all heavens to the stones of the desert road. But whether He be merciful or beneficent or just or righteous or holy, He is love.1 [Note: Lyman Abbott. It was a necessity. 4:9-10-note). In other words they have never been born again and are not genuine believers regardless of what they claim! It is significant that we have these words not from Jesus but from John. Read 1 John 4:8 commentary using Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Tell me of Him as the Omniscient--the All-wise. It is co-essential with Him: He is all love, love is all of Him: he who has not love, has not God. O glorious Morning-starre, O lampe of light. He “overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.” And by the kiss or the rod; by caress or correction; by “gentle gales from the wings of angels that fan His Mercy-seat,” or by hot blasts from the burning marl of hell; by the blood of Christ, and pleading love, or by fire and brimstone of punitive love, God seeks to overthrow all evil in all men and beings, and will not rest until the Holy Spirit shall say of the New Creation, “It is finished”: for “God is love.”, 1. His retribution must be the recompense of love. See 1 John 4:9-16, &c. He is the great fountain and exemplar of love; he recommends it by his law, and produces and cherishes it by his influences; and the due contemplation of him, will of course inflame our hearts with love to his Divine Majesty, and to our fellow-creatures for his sake, whose creatures they are, but especially to our fellow-christians. He might have the sweetest peace, and perfect assurance in his mind. The climatic demonstration of His love came when He sent His own Son to die for us on the cross. Doubtless there are difficulties. Love needs an object, and since there was a time before anything was created, there was a time when the only love in the universe was between the … The absence of love in the life of any individual proves that he “knoweth not God” (ouk egnō ton theon); he has never come to know God personally. (3) God’s salvific stance toward his fallen world. (2) But with the passing away of childhood a new need dawns upon the spirit of man: the wish to be one in whom others can rest, as he finds rest in them; the need for reciprocity of affection, such as is found in a brother, a friend, a wife. II. The suffering is the result, directly or indirectly, of voluntary sin, which might have been avoided. (b) But secondly, this world, having fallen, is now passing under discipline and training for another and a better world; and the suffering is the discipline essential to the educating processes of the present life. Men say that by the Divinity of Christ, and by His death considered as an atonement for sin, we destroy this aspect of the Divine nature. That is not true. ‘Was it love,’ a man says, ‘to make man, and then to let him fall into sin and misery?’—The answer is twofold. And these are two of the Divine attributes which, when we reflect on the Godhead by Himself, tend most satisfactorily to prove His benevolence in condescending to interfere for the salvation of mankind. It is a failure to recognize that no single word is capable of describing the ineffable God which leads to a gross perversion of this marvelous text in the popular mind. He never knew… Truth and love stand related to each other. To have communion with God we must be like him in love. There is nothing in the nature of God which any of His creatures can imitate, except His benevolent feelings. And yet such thoughts should not detract from the unique glory of this text. 1. We must keep loving that spouse, that teenager, that neighbor, that co-worker. He said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” John looked at Him, leaned on His breast, stood beside His cross, gazed into His empty tomb, listened to His words when He had risen from the dead, and said “God is love.” He knew, because he had seen Christ. The aorist tense apparently refers back to the time of his professed conversion. Banks (L. There is singular force in the expression “God is love.” He does not say that God is benevolent, or kind, or merciful, or compassionate, or affectionate: he does not say that God is a Being of infinite goodness, or mercy, or loving kindness: but, as if he intended to magnify above measure this most adorable of the Divine attributes, he pronounces Him to be the quality in the abstract, and thus, as it were, identifies the Godhead with love. And we believe that the heathen who have not known God will not be judged as we shall be. All rights reserved. To be sure, Jesus Christ now has a glorified body in heaven, and one day we shall have bodies like His body. And if I turn from these aspects to the moral character of God, I am yet more bewildered. Thy God, in human form! (David Smith, Expositor's Greek Commentary). At the same time, Carson points out that we must not compartmentalize the various loves of God, as if they were each independent of the others. Meantime, let us hold on to the truth that he is love. You shall see the world burning, and the stars drop from their orbits, and the heavens be rolled up like a scroll; but God’s love lasts forever and ever. Denomination: Pentecostal. (J. M. Although this is the one truth about God which we can know, yet it is the last truth which we accept. And thus it may be that the more suffering for a little while the more happiness for ever and ever. But these things are preliminaries. I. Do not grieve Him any longer by doubting it. Children of God should emulate their Father. God may loose the tongue so that it may shout and sing to the praise of eternal Love, but the intellect remains powerless. The first word, Apokalypsis (revelation), gives this book its title. J. If God were well known, he could not but be best beloved, and all that are his, for his sake. He that loveth not, knoweth not God - Has no true acquaintance with God; has no just views of him, and no right feelings toward him. Thus they do not know the God Who is love! Such, then, are the three elements which go to make up love, reverence, desire, sacrifice, inextricably intertwined into a new something which is none of them, and yet all of them together—the whiteness of the prism, the trinity in unity of love. Love made hell; and its pains are the measure of God’s love for goodness--its flames are love on fire. In Christ love stooped to infinite sacrifice.—Nowhere else but on the Cross could it fully utter itself. III. La persona que conoce a Dios le dará un gusto experimental de la bondad de Dios, de que Dios es bueno, pero un tonto obstaculizará su propia competencia en el conocimiento de Dios para poder hacer el mal a su satisfacción. Οὐκ ἔγνω, knoweth not) Is not born of God, and knoweth not God.— ὁ Θεὸς ἀγάπη ἐστὶν, God is love) ἀγάπη, without the article, as in 1 John 4:16. Look into modern philosophy, where God is Force without heart, and Law without pity. Truth and love stand related to each other. But think again. My own experience; I have dug a grave as deep as you, and I thought just as you are thinking now; I said there are a thousand happy families, and one of the children might have been taken, but I had only one. All that He does is the expression of His nature, Isaiah -to love." The whole subject grows up so naturally to its grand, simple apex, that every thought can find expression in no other words but these, “God is love.” Therefore, in part, for this very reason, this little, inimitable, most eloquent sentence was reserved for almost the last book in the Bible. He has a Father, a tender, loving Father in heaven. Or what can prize that Thy most precious blood?1 [Note: Spenser.]. I hear of the Almighty, but what does it mean? “Was it love,” a man says, “to make man, and then let him fall into sin and misery?” The answer is two-fold. Cabal. 5:11-12-note). So the Shekinah is, by the Cabalistic JewsF20Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 1 John 4:7-12. (The Letters of John Tyndale New Testament Commentary), Marshal adds that "God is love’ is rightly recognized as one of the high peaks of divine revelation in this Epistle. I judge of strength by my own arm, or by the winds and angry seas; or by the power of human mechanism. I did not hear a word of your sermon.” “Well, what was it then that touched you?” asked Mr. Moody. God also has His fire; and the fire is your religious life. On the basis of the affirmative as shown in the preceding verse, if a man does not have love as a predominant factor in his life, it is proof that he has not yet become acquainted with God. God said something quite different. II. A sinning Christian needs to understand that he abides in God’s love only when he obeys God. IV. It reminds me that God’s love is always and forever in the present tense. There is a very famous English poem--of course you know who wrote it--it is called “Pictor Ignotus,” the painter who chose to remain unknown; the man of genius, the born painter, who refused to paint because men would not understand, would not properly appreciate his work. "All His activity is loving activity. 2. 15:12). But secondly, this world, having fallen, is now passing under discipline and training for another and better world; and the suffering is the discipline essential to the educating processes of the present life. This subject suggests matter of great consolation to those who are interested in the Divine favour. The very centre and source of all things. And heart so moved with beauty, perfume, song. We may reject it or receive it: God must give it. Their teaching and their behavior simply promoted self, not Christ. Before God created heaven and earth with all their inhabitants, the Eternal Love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit shone with unseen splendour in the Divine Being. The love of God has no shallows. God’s love is seen in the gift of His Son, 1 John 4:9, 10. It will be found set forth in Augustine, de Trinitate, ix. And observe the power of the present tense. How have you been hurt by those you've tried to love? God’s love is a sufficient guarantee for the future.—Our immortality is a necessity to God. I. (Bolding added). He wrote it in the lives of heroes; spoke it from the lips of prophets; told the wealth of it in the life and death of Jesus. In the week, as he walked by the shore pondering his discourse, he came upon a child at play. What is that? St. John was now a very old man. The loving heart, not the creative imagination. Now, one word as to the effect this revelation ought to have on us. God will work out the provisions that He has made so that they shall not miss what they aim at. He never knew. St. Peter, St. James, and St. Paul had all gone ‘to be with Christ,’ and St. John survived them all. At this moment there is not a person--whatever his past might have been, or whatever his present is--who might not, this very day, be freely and perfectly forgiven, and be quite happy. God’s love is like His sunlight, diffused throughout the heaven, catching the heights of the hills and crowning them with ruddy gold and clothing them in purple. God’s holiness and His love are both a part of His nature, and neither negates the other. (N. Emmons, D. D.). Beautiful, of infinite worth to Him! [Note: Marshall, p212. [Note: Ryrie, "The First . This is God; this was the solution of the world’s problem: God had told Himself at last. Here is the fountain of comfort.—‘How refreshing to be able to fall back upon this truth in a world in which there is so much to make us welcome it—tears, difficulties, anxieties, burdens, clouds, heart-achings, heart-breakings, sick-beds, death-beds, graves—but “God is love.”’ Every believer may say—, (b) Heaven is light.

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