HEREIN IS LOVE
1 John 4:6 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.
Since the matter of love is so great, as “God is love,” John is directed by the Holy Spirit to give both the effect and origin of love in the individual believer. For he gives an emphatic statement that only those who have this love as a guiding principal within are the actual born-again believers. And then he makes sure we know that the origin of this spiritual love is God and not the believer. As soon as he states, “Herein is love,” he give a negative statement, making immediately sure that everyone clearly understands that its origin is certainly not the believer. Because one can only love God from the love wherein God has originated love for them. For since God alone is love, he solely gives of himself by the sending of his only begotten Son, in order that our hinderance of receiving his love, due to sin, should be properly removed. And in verse six John gives us understanding that it is this love of God within that enables us to effectually hear the gospel message. And we can rightly discern those who are not born-again believers as being those who cannot hear our message. For in that Christ gives his true people hearing ears and following feet, those who do not hear and follow are of “the spirit of error.” John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, (hearing ears) and I know them, and they follow me: (following feet).
Also we are instructed that true believers, without fail, always have love one for another. 1 John 3:14 ¶ We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth 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. John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
And we are instructed that those worldlings, even though highly religious, can neither effectually hear us, nor properly love us. 1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 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. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
And these will eventually go out from us, not having God’s love as the enduring factor for their perseverance. 1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
For it is only God’s love in the heart which causes true believers to endure all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. And it is only those with this enduring love who are shown to be genuinely saved! Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
There will be those who look like true believers as they start out in religious practice. But without the quality of God’s enduring love they will finally fall away. They are but stony, and thorny ground hearers. Mark 4:5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: 6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
Mark 4:16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. 18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
Dear Reader, it is not those who look good coming out of the starting gate who are true believers, but those who cross the finish line!
The Apostle Paul informed the Galatians that enduring faith is set forth and sustained by God’s true love. Therefore lack of endurance reveals an absence of God’s effectual, all-sustaining love within the heart! Galatians 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. 7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? 8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.
And as we have stated in a previous article, holiness is ascribed to the Lord, but we never read, “God IS Holiness!” Revelation 4:8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
Yet, here in John’s writings we read, “God IS love.” For we are never to be directed to obtain religion’s legalistic morality for our acceptance with God. But we are to find that acceptance in the beloved, through his imputed righteousness. Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
And it is by the indwelling love of God within us, by which the law is dealt! Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
The Lord Jesus informed one rigid law keeper that there was still an absence of one thing in his life which was necessary as evidence in having obtained eternal life. – He lacked love to others! Luke 18:18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. 21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. 22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. 23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. 24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
1 John 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
God so loved that he gave! He even gives “liberally!” James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. Therefore one who refuses to give cannot show that they are actually true believers! Mark 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
And this shall be the principle of judgment at the last day. Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
God is love. And in him is no darkness at all. That is, his love cannot lie dormant! Therefore those who do not walk in the light of love are but liars to themselves, and to all others to whom they claim to be true believers! 1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.