Friday, 22 May 2020
And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16
John now continues to explain the state of love which he has referred to already. He has shown that believers can know that they abide in God and that God abides in them. This comes from testifying to the fact that Christ is the Son of God, and thus fully God. In that, John then says, “And we have known and believed.” Both verbs are in the perfect tense, indicative mood. It shows the complete and continuing effects of what has occurred, and that this is an absolute fact.
Believers have known and believed, and they continue in this state. It is concerning “the love that God has for us.” The Greek reads “in us,” and it should be translated this way due to the words of the next sentence which speak of the love of God abiding in us.
The manifestation of the Son is what makes this love of God known. If God never sent Christ, how could we be sure of anything? But in the coming of Christ, when we were already dead in trespasses and sins, it shows how very much God loves us. John then repeats his words from verse 4:8, “God is love.”
As before, there is an article before God. It says, “The God is love.” Thus, the words cannot be transposed to say, “Love is God.” Love is merely an aspect of God, but He is more than love. Love, however, is not more than God. It is one of His characteristics that reveals His character to us. With this repeated for effect, John expands on it by saying, “and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”
This is similar in thought to what was just expressed in the previous verse –
- Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God
- God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
Confessing Jesus is what makes this union possible. When the union occurs, the state of love, which reveals God’s character, is now also realized in the believer. Thus, to “confess that Jesus is the Son of God” is to “abide in love.” The state results from the confession.
Life application: Through the apostolic testimony, there is the ability to both know and have faith in the great display of love that God demonstrated for us. This is why John says for a second time that God is love. Because He is, and because it is His very nature, then anyone who lives in that love must also abide in Him; the two are inseparable.
And if we abide in Him, then because of the nature of the relationship, He also abides in that person. There is a bond which is intimately woven together, and which is complete and unspoiled – the bond of the perfect love, which is God.
Because we share in that perfect love, it should then be the very mark of our lives as Christians. Although we are bound by our physical bodies, we can still strive to demonstrate God’s love in our lives and in our actions. Let us determine to do so to testify to the world that God truly abides in us and that we abide in Him.
Lord Jesus, help us to be the proper and loving example of the Christian faith that You would have us to be. It is not an easy walk at times, but we truly wish to reflect Your love – the infinite love revealed in who You are. Give us that ability so that others can see You in us and desire that same love for themselves. Thank You for hearing our prayer, O God. Amen.