|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:14-21 The Father sent the Son, he willed his coming into this world. The apostle attests this. And whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. This confession includes faith in the heart as the foundation; makes acknowledgment with the mouth to the glory of God and Christ, and profession in the life and conduct, against the flatteries and frowns of the world. There must be a day of universal judgment. Happy those who shall have holy boldness before the Judge at that day; knowing he is their Friend and Advocate! Happy those who have holy boldness in the prospect of that day, who look and wait for it, and for the Judge's appearance! True love to God assures believers of God's love to them. Love teaches us to suffer for him and with him; therefore we may trust that we shall also be glorified with him, 2Ti 2:12. We must distinguish between the fear of God and being afraid of him; the fear of God imports high regard and veneration for God. Obedience and good works, done from the principle of love, are not like the servile toil of one who unwillingly labours from dread of a master's anger. They are like that of a dutiful child, who does services to a beloved father, which benefit his brethren, and are done willingly. It is a sign that our love is far from perfect, when our doubts, fears, and apprehensions of God, are many. Let heaven and earth stand amazed at his love. He sent his word to invite sinners to partake of this great salvation. Let them take the comfort of the happy change wrought in them, while they give him the glory. The love of God in Christ, in the hearts of Christians from the Spirit of adoption, is the great proof of conversion. This must be tried by its effects on their temper, and their conduct to their brethren. If a man professes to love God, and yet indulges anger or revenge, or shows a selfish disposition, he gives his profession the lie. But if it is plain that our natural enmity is changed into affection and gratitude, let us bless the name of our God for this seal and earnest of eternal happiness. Then we differ from the false professors, who pretend to love God, whom they have not seen, yet hate their brethren, whom they have seen.
Verse 16. - And we have come to know and believe. Both perfects are virtually presents, expressing the present continuance of a condition begun in the past: "We know and continue to believe." Experience and faith are intimately connected; and sometimes the one precedes, sometimes the other (John 6:69). As in verse 9 ἐν ἡμῖν should be rendered in us, not "to us" or "toward us;" and here also the interpretation, "in our case," is certainly possible, and perhaps safer. But the meaning may be that the object of our knowledge and faith is that portion of his own love which God has in us. It is "in us," and is exercised towards him and our brethren, but in reality it is his - it is himself abiding in us. In either case love is the object of our faith. Thus love is not only the true note of the Church (John 13:35), it is also the Church's creed. The second half of the verse restates the main proposition of this section with a view to further development.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And we have known and believed,.... Or have a full assurance and knowledge of, and faith in,
the love that God hath to us; shown as in many instances, so more especially in sending his Son to be the propitiation for our sins, to be the Saviour of us, and that we might live through him.
God is love; See Gill on 1 John 4:8,
and he that dwelleth in love; who dwells by faith upon the love of God as displayed in Christ, and abides in the exercise of love to God and to the saints:
dwelleth in God, and God in him; See Gill on 1 John 4:13; the last clause, "and God in him", is left out in the Syriac version.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. And we—John and his readers (not as 1Jo 4:14, the apostles only).
known and believed—True faith, according to John, is a faith of knowledge and experience: true knowledge is a knowledge of faith [Luecke].
to us—Greek, "in our case" (see on 1Jo 4:9).
dwelleth—Greek, "abideth." Compare with this verse, 1Jo 4:7.
1 John 4:16 Parallel Commentaries
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