I John 4

God’s people must be ever cautious concerning false teachers that may arise to deny the incarnation, deity and atonement of the Lord Jesus, and must accept none of their claims without testing them by God’s Truth in the light of the Holy Spirit’s teaching. The spirit of truth is known not only by doctrine but by love which is the natural fruit of the Spirit. The manifestation of divine love through the life argues a true and just apprehension of the divine nature, and such love can never deny the Lord Jesus.

1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.

6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

9 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.

10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

19 We love him, because he first loved us.

20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

1 John 4:1-11 – The Token of God’s Love

   In those days the intense ferment of men’s minds wrought many delusions and heresies which were fraught with temptation to young converts, and the Apostle wished to give tests for determining which voice spake from God. The confession of Jesus Christ as the Incarnate Word, a spirit of love and gentleness, and the willingness to abide in the doctrine of the Apostles, were signs that the speaker was commissioned by Christ.
   Wouldst thou overcome the world? Let Christ enter, and the world will have no charms for thee. There is only one source of pure, divine love, and wherever that love is present, you know that the possessor has found its source in God. God’s love is absolutely selfless. He loves the unloving to make them love, putting away their sin and perfecting their union with Himself. —Through the Bible Day by Day

1 John 4:12-21 – The Test of Our Love

   If we are willing to be channels through which God’s love flows to others, there need be no limit to the fullness of that holy current. In humility, selflessness, and gentleness, it will become perfected. The vessel placed beneath the waterfall is filled to overflowing.
   Through our Savior we know the Father who sent Him, I John 4:14. See John 14:9-10. We first venture on God’s love by faith; afterward we know it. Dare to affirm that God is love. Love is the wafted fragrance of Paradise. If thou lovest, heaven and earth will answer thee in terms of love. By strong, patient, selfless love thou wilt abide in unbroken touch with all pure and loving souls—whoever and wherever. Where love was crucified there was a garden. Where there is love, lonely places blossom as the rose. Be not afraid! Love on! Love always! “This is the true God, and eternal life” (1 John 5:20). But one thought of hatred or ill-will will cause thy wholly happy experience to vanish. —Through the Bible Day by Day

I John 4:16—We have known and believed the love that God hath to us.

   Life is one long education in various phases and aspects of love. First as a child, then as a friend, then as a lover, as wife or husband, as father or mother. We are perpetually being allowed to sit in some higher form for the progress of this Divine study. For to love is to live. To be loved is to drink of the sweetest cordial that can be prepared from the vintages of earth. And all is intended to help us to understand better the nature of God, who is love. As each new experience enters our life, we should consider a fresh facet or angle to break up and reveal to us the glory of God’s love. We should say to ourselves, Now I understand and know more accurately than before how God feels, and what his love is.
   The apostle says we have known the love of God.—Indeed, it is so. Through years of life, each of which has been filled with the most various experiences, but filled also to the brim with proofs of God’s tender loving-kindness, we have had innumerable proofs of his love, for
       “E’en the cloud that spreads above, and veileth Love,
          Itself is Love.”
   The apostle says we must believe God’s love,—Standing on the sure foundation of what we have proved God to be in the past, we may look on the present and future with perfect faith. We have known Him too well to doubt Him now. We have known, and now we believe. He has made no mistakes. He is making none. He has done the best; and is doing it. We do not understand his dealings, but we know Him who is behind the mystery of providence, and can hear Him saying
       “It is all right, only trust Me. Fear not! it is I.” —Our Daily Homily

​1 John 4:16 – When one who has never sailed out upon the ocean stands on its shore and watches the trembling waves as they surge and break upon the sands, how little does he know of the majesty and grandeur of the great deep, of its storms, of its power, of its secrets, of its unfathomable chambers, of its unweighed treasures? He sees only the little silver edge that breaks at his feet. So we stand but where the Spirit of God breaks upon the shore of our world. We see its silver edge. We feel the splash of its waves upon our hearts. But of its infinite reaches and outgoings beyond our shores we know almost nothing. Yet blessed are they who even stand by the shore and lave their hearts in even the shallowest eddies of this divine ocean. (J.R. Miller)

1 John 4:18 – ​Fear and love rise up in antagonism to each other as motives in life, like those two mountains from which respectively the blessings and curses of the old law were pronounced—the Mount of Cursing, all barren and stony, without verdure and without water; the Mount of Blessing, green, and bright with many a flower, and blessed with many a trickling rill. Fear is barren. Love is fruitful. The one is a slave, and its work is little worth. The other is free, and its deeds are great and precious. From the blasted summit of the mountain which gendereth to bondage may be heard the words of the law, but the power to keep all these laws must be sought on the sunny hill where liberty dwells in love and gives energy to obedience. Therefore, Christian man, if you would use in your own life the highest power that God has given us for our growth in grace, draw your arguments not from fear but from love. And if you would win the world, melt it, do not hammer it. If you would grow in power, holiness, blessedness, remember this—”love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10). (McLaren)