Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.—1 John 4:7–12
Love Is of God
Apostle John, the author of this portion of Scripture, also wrote two other letters, the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelations. He wrote much about love, the greatest of the fruits and signs of the Holy Spirit: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (1 Cor. 13:13). The Bible also records that Jesus had a special love for John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Therefore, he is sometimes referred to as “the apostle of love.”
John says that we who are Jesus’ own should love one another, for “love is of God,” and those who love are born of God and know Him, “for God is love.” The Prophet Micah related the same message, “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy” (Mic. 7:18).
Remain in God’s Love
John also warns that those who don’t love, do not know God. He then explains how we remain in God’s love, which we feel for all of God’s children, our brothers and sisters in faith. We are to believe God and also our sins forgiven in the name and blood of His Son, for “God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” We are assured of this: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth” (Rom. 1:16)
We live through this gospel; we need it all the time in our walk of faith. God’s Word teaches us to put all sins and burdens away. He has given us precious escorts, our believing brothers and sisters who are always ready, using the authority given by Jesus, to proclaim this gospel of the forgiveness of sins to us. We also have the grace privilege to approach one of these escorts when we are burdened by sins that we feel in our hearts and that trouble our conscience. We can believe the gospel message when it is proclaimed to us, freeing us from our burdens of sin.
A Free Gift
John describes how God’s love toward us as sinful people preceded our love for Him. We are not even capable of loving Him as we should, nevertheless He loved us and sent Jesus to be the propitiation for our sins. This love is a completely free gift, which we aren’t capable of doing anything on our own part to merit. Our love for God causes us to love one another.
John also says that no man has ever seen God, nor could any mortal person be able to withstand seeing Him. Moses felt His presence on Mount Sinai when God passed before him, but he couldn’t see Him. Yet, his face shone when he came down to speak with the people, so that they were afraid to go close to him (Exod. 34). We are assured, though, that God is with us and His love is perfected in us. Let us continue following our Savior Jesus in His kingdom, until He calls us from this time to eternity to dwell forever in heaven.