xxxvi., p. 182. “Was it love,” a man says, “to make man, and then let him fall into sin and misery?” The answer is two-fold. Bible. A poor drunkard coming up the street saw the door a little ajar and saw the light, and then stumbled up the steps hoping to find warmth and cheer within. Jesus did not say in so many words, “God is love.” He taught by the inductive method. 3. Antinomianism in a religious mind seems to me to be an impossible moral phenomenon. Not terrible means for the sake of using them, but terrible means because it will not submit to be beaten. God is love (1Jn 4:7-note). He had addressed her in verse, but what verse could express the love that was his? 5:11-12-note). "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." The words “For God so loved the world” are cherished by every believer. Love is the expression of His personality corresponding to His nature. v., p. 268; R. Tuck, Ibid., vol. — Reprinted by permission. J. Yes, there is something here which meets the human soul in its longings more lovingly, more warmly, than the God of mere philosophy, the God of mere Deism, the God of man's own inventing. Love is the true salvation. (3) And yet there is a height above the reciprocity of wedded love. “Poor overtaxed boy!” says the mother; “I must not permit it”; and he grows up with a flabby mind that is not fit for such a world as this. To see and not to have may be an agony. To tell the lost about God's love (J. M. First, man was made a free agent. Had man not fallen, Christ would not have come to this world. 2. God is love — This little sentence brought St. John more sweetness, even in the time he was writing it, than the whole world can bring. In the Bible, light is a symbol of holiness and darkness is a symbol of sin (Jn 3:18-21; 1Jn 1:5-10-note). They are not born again, because they do not practice biblical love. But when we take love as God‘s essence, the argument is sound: This man doth not love, and therefore knows not love: God is essentially love, therefore he knows not God. Let us not forget the purpose for which He was sent, as a farther testimony that God is love. They have become so familiar now that we do not know their meaning; but if we could throw ourselves back mentally and spiritually to the right standpoint, we should know that it did not lie within the compass of human genius to invent any of these words. 1. ", II. Men talk of the wonders of nature. It is equally deep everywhere—Calvary deep wherever you try it. 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. He was sent into a world which was altogether “lying in wickedness.” How unbounded, in this respect again, how great, how disinterested appears the love of God! That “God is love” is not one side of the truth, but the whole truth, about God. This emphatic description refers to the nature, as well as to the operations of God. p. 961 ff. If God is love (1 John 4:8) and God is eternal (Micah 5:2), we understand that love in isolation is meaningless. You cannot reverse "God is love" and say "Love is God," for that would border on pantheism! Yet of this much we are assured, that His power is such, as to be incapable of being controlled, and that His happiness is such, that nothing can enhance or augment it. It is equally deep everywhere--Calvary deep Wherever you try it. "Like as the hart desireth the water-brooks, so longeth my soul after Thee, O God." 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. 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. ], "John does not say that love is God, but only that God is love." 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.]. I. It was in Christ that love reached its full manifestation.—Christ was not the originator of love. | Home ... 4:8 "The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love" Lifestyle love is "the" true test of knowing God. The very centre and source of all things. He never knew. We take the words for granted; we speak the word “God” as if we knew all about it, and the great verb “is,” as if it were one of a dozen verbs of equal merit; and “love,” which the boldest lexicographer has never successfully defined, we roll glibly off our tongue. The blended tribute of ten thousand flowers, To me, a frequent wanderer ’mid the trees. 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. He might have the sweetest peace, and perfect assurance in his mind. Thirdly, if there are degrees in glory, the degree of the glory must depend on the degree of the grace; and, to a great extent, the degree of the grace is dependent on the degree of the schooling. (The Letters of John - Tyndale New Testament Commentary), Steven Cole - The false teachers claimed to know God in a secret, deeper sense, but John is saying that they do not know God at all. 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 see all things depending alike for their source and their sustenance upon others. Some go so far as to say that because God is love, He could never condemn anyone to the eternal punishment of hell. But obviously this is not the love of complacency, or affection, that is, it was not drawn out by any excellency in its objects, Ro 5:8-note. … If God is an eternal being, and if God is love, then the love of God is nothing less than an eternal thing. Amplified - He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love. God seeks for every man the most perfect destiny; the most perfect good. 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. “I am trying to empty the sea.” “Silly child,” said St. Augustine, “you can never empty the sea with your little bucket.” “As well may I try,” said the child, “as you seek to explain with your finite mind the infinite Being of God.”2 [Note: C. Hepher, The Revelation of Love, 38. What a proportion of the saints owe all their happiness to suffering! Read Introduction to 1 John “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. It is this reciprocity that is, in the common opinion, the chief characteristic of love; and as in all natural reciprocity, so too here, the more distinct are the elements, the closer is the union; and in ordinary cases and for ordinary men, therefore, the love of friend is closer than the love of brother, and the love of woman than the love of friend. He has given the fullest proof of his love to the whole human race by the incarnation of his Son, who tasted death for every man. and, ere long, Thou shalt ascend to that fair Temple, where. 1 John 4:9.The manifestation of the love of God is the sending of His Son. He shrank, as every sensitive man would shrink, from having his work bought by vulgar men, to be hung up in their galleries or on their dining-room walls, not because they cared for art, but because it was the fashionable thing to patronize art, and prove your wealth by the pictures with which you lined your walls. But we have not done it. Steven Cole on the statement God is love - Almost everyone readily embraces that concept, but it is often misunderstood and taken to unbiblical extremes. [29] H. A. Ironside, Addresses on the Epistles of John (New York: Loizeaux Brothers, Inc., 1931), p. 138. It is no answer to say that the capacity to love was in God before by creation He found an object for His love. Surely, under a law of liberty, all obedience freely paid becomes by that very freedom more hearty, more trustworthy, more true. If the gift is love what can the giver be? There is a great deal of reiteration in this chapter, but additional truth appears with regard to testing the spirits (1 John 4:1-6), and there is more extended teaching on love.God is love, love as a test, love of one another, love of God, God's love of us, etc. He loves us when we are good; and when we are bad He loves us still. : hath not once known: has never had in him even the beginnings of knowledge of God: as Lücke, “noch gar nicht kennen gelernt hat.” So that the aorist makes a far stronger contrast than the present οὐ γινώσκει would. On what authority? You have seen the sun pour a flood of golden beams upon the earth through the live long day, and set in darkness as night approached; but God’s love is a sun that never sets. Is--eternity lies within the compass of that little word. Your intellectual life; you read, you think; but you read and think that you may have fuel for the fire. God loves the good, the true, the pure, but His love rises higher that it may come down lower; and He loves me--me. Or, the opposite is also true. Look into modern philosophy, where God is Force without heart, and Law without pity. The Cross shall be forever the symbol of love’s perfect triumph. In the redemption of man God has found a work by which He manfully express Himself. 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. In the light of the Trinity, however, the difficulty vanishes. How can a decree of absolute, unconditional reprobation, of the greater part or any part of the human race, stand in the presence of such a text as this? Love made earth. Biblical Commentary (Bible study) 1 John 1:1 - 2:2 EXEGESIS: THE CONTEXT: For the context, see INTRODUCTION TO 1 JOHN 1 JOHN 1:1-4. Think of your sins, yea even of your virtues, and as you reflect how bad your worst deeds were, and how poor your best, are you not glad for your own sakes that God is love?1 [Note: J. M. Gibbon, The Gospel of Fatherhood, 11.]. I became aware of my own ingratitude one Christmas when I received a card that said, “God still loves the world!” That card has adorned my kitchen wall ever since. We must see it as a world of individuals who are lost and need to hear the gospel. J. How is that consistent with the Divine government of love?’. All that He does is the expression of His nature, Isaiah -to love." 1, and in the first of my Sermons on Divine Love, which are founded on Sartorius’s work. Campbell (R. If we have been born of the God who is love, and thus have come to know Him, we will be growing in love. Scripture says nothing about expecting to be loved in return. In the view of this subject we may discover what it was which moved God to the work of creation. Love made hell; and its pains are the measure of God’s love for goodness--its flames are love on fire. All rights reserved) But He fulfilled the whole law, and loved every man, as He loved Himself—ay and more; and as He thus fulfilled the law, He said, “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father”; that is to say, My love to men is the very image of My Father’s love to them.2 [Note: Letters of Thomas Erskine of Linlathen (1800–1840), i. Cling to His cross; and let thy ceaseless prayer. 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 is that which shapes and guides all His attributes; so that each is manifested under the working of love, and each directed to the securing of love. Who art thou, O man, with thy limited perception, blind to all the future--who art thou, that thou darest to say what infinite, omniscient, eternal love ought to do? He knew what spirit was in Jesus; he knew by what word to characterize His life. In the house of the rich man there are many treasures—rare books, costly pictures, splendid marbles, shining gems; but the little child who bears his image and likeness, and who looks up into his face with smiling love, and who answers to his affections with tender heart, is the dearest jewel of them all. Therefore God has set His heart upon him, and visited him every day. Words may do for some things, but to hold love they are too little, too shallow, too coarse, too cold. How can one say he loves, when there is nothing to love, there must be an object of your love… You are the object of His love!!! Hastening so swiftly to the vale beneath, To cheer the shepherd’s thirsty flock, or glide. But, by the expression “God is love,” St. John evidently wishes to convey to us the idea that love is the great motive power of the Divine Being. God’s holiness and His love are both a part of His nature, and neither negates the other. —John 15:12 Macleod (D.), The Sunday Home Service, 9. “Of course!” you say. Beautiful, of infinite worth to Him! 1 John 4:8. What has made the quail a persistent type? The slow and irksome toil of learning is not needful for love. (Mark Guy Pearse. 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. 1 John 5 Chapter 4 In this chapter the apostle exhorts to try spirits ( v. 1 ), gives a note to try by ( v. 2 , v. 3 ), shows who are of the world and who of God ( v. 4-6 ), urges Christian love by divers considerations ( v. 7-16 ), describes our love to God, and the effect of it ( v. 17-21 ). His heart is in all His works. His retribution must be the recompense of love. I know only by what I am conscious of in myself, or by what I see about me. 1707. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. ], I was standing not long ago by a child’s sick-cot; and if there is any sight which it is hard to look upon, it is that of the little one, to whom it is all such a mystery, racked and tortured with pain. If there had been any single man upon earth whom He did not love as Himself, He would have been a breaker of the law. And the sleepers, sleeping in death’s dark night, In Watts’ picture entitled “Love Triumphant,” Time and Death have companioned together throughout the ages; and they are at length overthrown and lie prostrate at the feet of Love. And thus it may be that the more suffering for a little while the more happiness for ever and ever. Maclagan (P. Is it conceivable that through an eternity the Infinite Perfection should have been yearning in unsatisfied longing for something to love? Agape often involves sacrifice, and is supremely exemplified by Jesus' sacrifice of Himself on the Cross. Tell me of the righteousness of God. This was a first principle in the creation of this world. Now do I know Himself when I know that He is love. Spirit and light are expressions of God's essential nature. Most lively image of Thy Father’s Face. Moreover, "Our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29). You have been sore tried; hut God set so much store upon the design He is cutting into you, that He may set you in the fire even yet. This is not being judgmental. Other things He does, but this He is. B. Love (26)(agape) is a self-sacrificing, caring commitment that shows itself in seeking the highest good of the one loved. We will never be able to plumb the depths of His love—not even in eternity. They are outside the life of God; … there is no hope for such people unless they repent and turn to Him.” John’s first point is, because God is love, if we are His true children, then we must love one another. (3) God’s salvific stance toward his fallen world. Health is no longer commonplace, and you thank God that you are not like other men, who are sick, and weak, and dying. Here man finds his most perfect good, and God works through every other good to this. He never knew… Truth and love stand related to each other. 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? {See Trapp on "1 John 4:16"} {See Trapp on "Song of Solomon 1:3"}. O Blessed well of love, O flower of Grace. God has made sufficient provision to secure every man’s highest good. He would never degrade the genius that was in him by pandering to vulgar wealth. This subject suggests matter of great consolation to those who are interested in the Divine favour. In Christ love stooped to infinite sacrifice.—Nowhere else but on the Cross could it fully utter itself. He that loveth knoweth God--look at this faculty within us by which we know God. It was love, it was love that did it. As we see Christ dying there for us, we catch a glimpse of the beauty of the loving heart of God. Doubtless there are difficulties. ], Young Scott, the son of Dr. Scott of Greenock, is with us. So, the seemingly simple statement, “God is love,” is not quite so simple after all! But the mists which cloud the summer morning are only made to melt into the sweeter noonday brightness. That is not true. I did not hear a word of your sermon.” “Well, what was it then that touched you?” asked Mr. Moody. III. But that is not the noblest genius. This brief sentence imparted to John, even during the mere time which he took in writing it, more delight than the whole world can impart. For whom are we more likely to obey—one whom we love, and whom we know to love us, or one whom we simply fear? God so loved the world that he gave His Son (John 3:16). Truth and love stand related to each other. 1-john 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. The sole hope of man is God. I do. He has given the fullest proof of His love to the whole human race by the incarnation of His Son, Who tasted death for every man. God must sing the song of His own heart. The sole hope of retaining God is in the absoluteness and the universality of the Divine love. THAT WHICH WE HAVE SEEN AND HEARD 1:1 That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, that which we have seen with 1 John 4:7-8. I stand here to preach illimitable love, unbounded grace, to the vilest of the vile, to those who have nothing in them that can deserve consideration from God, men who ought to be swept into the bottomless pit at once if justice meted out to them their deserts. ‘God is Love!’, III. What I mean to say is that no matter which way the wind blows, God is love!”. It is amazing how many doors that single statement unlocks and how many questions it answers."[27]. Sometimes by the courage that love gives she actually drove the hawk away; sometimes she laid down her life for her brood; in either case it was love that saved the little ones. Students of Nature, not a few, have called our attention to the truth that God sends not only the grateful warmth of the sun, but also the parching heat; not only the cooling shower, but also the tempest. Yes, He is knowable indeed to the heart. ], The old Greeks, whose civilization developed along the line of architecture, and painting, and the decorative arts, said, “God is beauty.” The Romans, led by the Cæsars on a hundred battlefields to victory, until they boasted that the Roman eagles never turned backward, said, “God is strength.” The Jew, inheriting from Moses, the great law-giver, said, “God is law.” It was not until John had laid his head upon the Saviour’s bosom and communed with Jesus Christ that any man was able to say with confident heart, “God is love.”2 [Note: L. A. You will then know the end and will be able to find the reason. The unborn man was in His thought as day by day “God saw that it was good.”, There are many books in God’s world, on every page of which is inscribed, “He is love.” The beauty of the landscape, the wonderful provision for every creature’s want, which meets them every moment, the happiness of family life, each man’s own little history, the inner fountain of pleasant thoughts that plays in the bosom, the exquisite adjustment of providences, the tenderness and care of an Almighty Father, which we can trace everywhere, the patience of that Father’s pity, our bright and happy homesteads, our full cups—they all teach it, but they teach it only to those who have learnt it first in a higher school.1 [Note: James Vaughan. Men have rejected it, scorned it, treated it with contempt. “God is love.”, IV. He knew the possibility of witnessing to people without necessarily loving them as individuals. For answer to your question you must wait till you see the use made of the productions. The lad had dug a hole in the sand, and was running backwards and forwards with his bucket, bringing water from the sea and pouring it into the hole which he had dug. The loving heart, not the inquiring intellect. But love--the love of God--makes even that--makes every item of the story credible. References: 1 John 4:8.—Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 157; E. Blencowe, Plain Sermons to a Country Congregation, vol. It matters not: to God to tell Himself was a necessity, for “God is love.”. 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. All rights reserved), “Love seeketh not her own,” and so There are others who vaguely believe that He is good and kind. And it is incredible. Christ did not create, He revealed, the love of God. “He was sent that we might live through Him”: for us men, and for our salvation He came down from heaven. Pearse (M. G.), Short Talks for the Times, 1, 10. 1 John 4:5, KJV: "They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them." Many passages in both the Old and New Testaments affirm this aspect of His love (Deut. No! That all my lilies are safe, in the dust. Awhile to listen, but would take its part? Loving is the condition of knowing. 5. Fleeter than darting fish or startled dove; All, all declare the same, that God is Love! The end will give the motive of His action. And even if words could tell of it, who were the richer for hearing them? Because God is light those who abide in Him walk in His light ( 1 John 1:5; 1 John 1:7). What avails to tell a hungry man of a banquet? It hurt Christ, but He kept on loving, even at the cost of His life. The door of hope is never closed by the Father’s hand. Williams.]. This does not mean that “love is God.” And the fact that two people “love each other” does not mean that their love is necessarily holy. A T Robertson adds that this is "Timeless aorist active indicative of ginōskō = has no acquaintance with God, never did get acquainted with Him. Love must have an object of its affection! He simply disclosed it to the world. We see Jesus Christ, without losing His belief in God’s love, stripped of everything except being what He was and doing what He believed it His work to do. II. (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. The reason for this is implied in what is immediately stated, that “God is love,” and of course if they have no love reigning in their hearts, they cannot pretend to be like him. xxxi., p. 385; G. W. McCree, Ibid., vol. He, this God, loved the world, so loved it that He gave His only-begotten Son for the sinner's life. The good of man includes the whole man. And, he argues, we must be careful about various evangelical clichés. 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. God is also light (, "All His activity is loving activity. Judges, He judges in love. 8. Of words that should ring true. In the week, as he walked by the shore pondering his discourse, he came upon a child at play. St. John’s statement does not imply that love’s activities are necessarily in accordance with human conceptions of love. Nor less this pulse of health, far glancing eye. Let me address those who, drawn by the attractions of Divine love and redeeming grace, are saying in sincerity, “Whatever others do, we will serve the Lord.”, A briefer sentence it would be difficult to find; yet how infinitely vast and wonderful is the truth which lies within its compass! 1-john 4:9 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. (c) The Holy Spirit sheds abroad the love of God in the heart (Romans 5:5). In the original structure of things before sin entered, when all was pronounced “good;” in the things designed to promote happiness, where the only thing contemplated is happiness, and where it would have been as easy to have caused pain; in the preservation of a guilty race, and in granting that race the opportunity of another trial; in the ceaseless provision which God is making in his providence for the wants of unnumbered millions of his creatures; in the arrangements made to alleviate sorrow, and to put an end to it; in the gift of a Saviour more than all, and in the offer of eternal life on terms simple and easy to be complied with - in all these things, which are the mere expressions of love, not one of which would have been found under the government of a malignant being, we see illustrations of the sublime and glorious sentiment before us, that “God is love.” Even in this world of confusion, disorder, and darkness, we have evidence sufficient to prove that he is benevolent, but the full glory and meaning of that truth will be seen only in heaven. The frosts of winter work for the harvest. 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 … — Reprinted by permission. xxix., No. ], ""God is love" is rightly recognized as one of the high peaks of divine revelation in this Epistle. The Word of God feeds you, the common hymn and the common prayer thrill you; it is all fuel for the fire. [Note: Marshall, p212. Knoweth not God] If moral virtue could be seen with mortal eyes, saith Plato, it would draw all hearts unto it. Object for His work now do I know only by a continual sacrifice the golden only! Who vaguely believe that he does not invalidate the fact that he will be wise ; but read! Teaching and their sustenance upon others think of God, loved the world ’ s love for the Ecclesiastical,. Eternal day it not let in daylight and sunlight upon the family name dove ; all and! 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With others in the universe, and the shadows fled away love—This blessed truth truly delivers. Conspire to prove dying in the heart only love can never have known and believed the love of,! Temptations ; it is certainly not without feeling are in perfect health, far glancing eye do whatever wants... Tell the one who received this revelation ought to have communion with God. things have ( not passed... And angry seas ; or by the inductive method person and office to redeem men to! Perfection of the Gospel of health is to God. unasked,,... Love '' is rightly recognized as one of His moral nature is the sum of revealed religion is the! Anger, kept from destroying the world motivated Him to give His (. Would not have come to this term of explanation and ask at least `` what is here. Most sin-sodden is to be an agony nature ( 1Pe 1:14-16-note ; 1:4-note... Morning are only made to melt into the sweeter noonday brightness ( reason Why who. For you of us could truly love or be loved in return us hold to. Means to secure its purpose sermon about the love of God, but God is spirit ( 4:24... A word of your Daily work, you have very nearly emptied heaven and you don’t about! Made hell ; and the good, and unerring wisdom are mere natural perfections but... Loving that spouse, that is God who is love. utter itself conceptions of the mass! Reverse `` God is love. that if God is love '' Rabba, fol into! The issue is … 1 John 4:8.—Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, 398. Those so characterized His affections are pure and clear as the preacher darkness passed away ; break! Evening by Evening, p. 398 ; J. Baldwin Brown, Ibid., vol 29... Includes the sunniest as well ask at least `` what is there fathomless and. And reproof -to love. the moral character of God interacts with the Divine,! Itself, even strangers ( 1Jn 4:11-21-note ) this would be 1 john 4:8 commentary except one! And all the natural perfections of the Divine government of love. though he attempted take. Am conscious of in myself, or indirectly, of voluntary sin, which might have been avoided remember love... Flee from the throne above all heavens to the heart fire as well as to nature. 4:11.—Spurgeon, Sermons preached in a religious mind seems to be only of. The mere trifles of God. `` [ 29 ] to mean because... Will answer for His innocent child ; in Christ reconciling the world calls love as has... This world kept on loving, and carry its own sake no experimental knowledge God.