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.
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1 John 4:9. In this was manifested the love of God — Namely, most eminently above all other instances thereof; because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world — That is, evidently, sent him, who was his only-begotten Son before he was sent. “This,” as Macknight justly observes. “is an allusion to our Lord’s words, John 3:16, God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, &c. Christ is called God’s only-begotten Son, to distinguish him from all others, who in Scripture are called the sons of God; and to heighten our idea of God’s love to us, in giving a person of such dignity, and so beloved of God, to die for us. It is supposed, that by giving Christ the title of God’s only-begotten Son in this passage, the apostle intended to overturn the error of Ebion and Cerinthus, who affirmed that Christ was not God’s Son by nature, but that, like other good men, he was honoured with the title of God’s Son on account of his virtues; in which opinion these heresiarchs have been followed by some in modern times. They, however, who hold this opinion ought to show a reason why the epithet of the only begotten is appropriated to Christ.” That we might live through him — That the sentence of condemnation to the second death, to which we were obnoxious, might be reversed, and that being justified by living faith, and regenerated by the quickening Spirit of God, we might live a spiritual life in the divine favour, and in union with Christ here, and might be conducted to eternal life hereafter.4:7-13 The Spirit of God is the Spirit of love. He that does not love the image of God in his people, has no saving knowledge of God. For it is God's nature to be kind, and to give happiness. The law of God is love; and all would have been perfectly happy, had all obeyed it. The provision of the gospel, for the forgiveness of sin, and the salvation of sinners, consistently with God's glory and justice, shows that God is love. Mystery and darkness rest upon many things yet. God has so shown himself to be love, that we cannot come short of eternal happiness, unless through unbelief and impenitence, although strict justice would condemn us to hopeless misery, because we break our Creator's laws. None of our words or thoughts can do justice to the free, astonishing love of a holy God towards sinners, who could not profit or harm him, whom he might justly crush in a moment, and whose deserving of his vengeance was shown in the method by which they were saved, though he could by his almighty Word have created other worlds, with more perfect beings, if he had seen fit. Search we the whole universe for love in its most glorious displays? It is to be found in the person and the cross of Christ. Does love exist between God and sinners? Here was the origin, not that we loved God, but that he freely loved us. His love could not be designed to be fruitless upon us, and when its proper end and issue are gained and produced, it may be said to be perfected. So faith is perfected by its works. Thus it will appear that God dwells in us by his new-creating Spirit. A loving Christian is a perfect Christian; set him to any good duty, and he is perfect to it, he is expert at it. Love oils the wheels of his affections, and sets him on that which is helpful to his brethren. A man that goes about a business with ill will, always does it badly. That God dwells in us and we in him, were words too high for mortals to use, had not God put them before us. But how may it be known whether the testimony to this does proceed from the Holy Ghost? Those who are truly persuaded that they are the sons of God, cannot but call him Abba, Father. From love to him, they hate sin, and whatever disagrees with his will, and they have a sound and hearty desire to do his will. Such testimony is the testimony of the Holy Ghost.In this was manifested the love of God - That is, in an eminent manner, or this was a most signal proof of it. The apostle does not mean to say that it has been manifested in no other way, but that this was so prominent an instance of his love, that all the other manifestations of it seemed absorbed and lost in this.

Because that God sent his only begotten Son ... - See the notes at John 3:16.

That we might live through him - He died that we might have eternal life through the merits of his sacrifice. The "measure" of that love, then, which was manifested in the gift of a Saviour, is to be found,

(1) in the worth of the soul;

(2) in its exposure to eternal death;

(3) in the greatness of the gift;

(4) in the greatness of his sorrows for us; and,

(5) in the immortal blessedness and joy to which he will raise us.

Who can estimate all this? All these things will magnify themselves as we draw near to eternity; and in that eternity to which we go, whether saved or lost, we shall have an ever-expanding view of the wonderful love of God.

9. toward us—Greek, "in our case."

sent—Greek, "hath sent."

into the world—a proof against Socinians, that the Son existed before He was "sent into the world." Otherwise, too, He could not have been our life (1Jo 4:9), our "propitiation" (1Jo 4:10), or our "Saviour" (1Jo 4:14). It is the grand proof of God's love, His having sent "His only-begotten Son, that we might live through Him," who is the Life, and who has redeemed our forfeited life; and it is also the grand motive to our mutual love.

There could be no higher demonstration of his love, John 3:16. In this was manifested the love of God towards us,.... The love of God here spoken of, and instanced in, is not his general love to all his creatures, which is shown in the make of them, and in the support of them in their beings, and in his providential care of them, and kindness to them; but his special love towards his elect, and which was before it was manifested; it was secretly in his heart from everlasting, and did not begin to be at the mission of Christ into the world, but was then in a most glaring manner manifested: there were several acts of it before, as the choice of them in Christ, the appointment of him to be their Saviour, and the covenant of grace made with him on their account; these were more secret and hidden; but now the love and kindness of God appeared, broke forth, and shone out in its glory; this is a most flagrant and notorious instance of it, in which it is exceedingly conspicuous; this is a most clear proof, a plain and full demonstration of it:

because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world; the sender is God the Father, who is distinguished from the Son that is sent; of which act of sending; see Gill on Romans 8:3 and See Gill on Galatians 4:4; and for him, who is that God against whom we have sinned, and is that lawgiver that is able to save, and to destroy, and of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, to send his Son to be the Saviour of sinful men is an amazing instance of love; and which appears the more manifest, when it is observed that it is "his only begotten Son" that is sent; of which See Gill on John 1:14; and the place he was sent into is the world, where his people are, and where their sins are committed, he came to expiate; and where he was treated with great indignity and contempt, and suffered many things, and at last death itself: the end of his mission was,

that we might live through him; who were dead in Adam, dead in sin, and dead in law, and could not quicken themselves; nor obtain eternal life for themselves, by their performances. Christ came, being sent, that they might have life, and that more abundantly than Adam had in innocence, or man lost by the fall; and accordingly they were quickened together with him; when he was quickened, after he had been put to death, they were virtually and representatively quickened and justified in him; and in consequence of his death and resurrection from the dead, they are regenerated and made spiritually alive, and live unto righteousness; and through his righteousness wrought out for them, and imputed to them, they are in a legal sense alive unto God, and alive and comfortable in their own souls, living by faith on Christ, and have a right and title to eternal life; and which they also have through him, and which is chiefly intended here; for the design is not only that they may live spiritually and comfortably here, but eternally hereafter.

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.
1 John 4:9. The manifestation of the love of God is the sending of His Son.

ἐν τούτῳ refers to the following ὅτι.

ἐφανερώθη ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν ἡμῖν] ἐφανερώθη expresses the objective fact, not the subjective knowledge; the apostle does not mean that the love of God is known by us through the sending of His Son (comp. 1 John 4:16), but that it has by that means come forth from its concealment, has manifested itself in act. ἐν ἡμῖν is therefore neither “in” nor “among” us; neither must it be explained = εἰς ἡμᾶς; ἐν is here, as in 1 John 4:16 and John 9:3 = “to;” either connected with ἐφανερώθη or with ἡ ἀγάπη τ. Θ.; hence either: “it has been manifested to us” (Düsterdieck, Brückner, Braune, etc.), or: “the love of God to us” (Ewald) has been manifested. With the first interpretation the sentence: ὅτιεἰς τὸν κόσμον, makes a difficulty which has been overlooked by the commentators;[263] with regard to the second, the article is wanting before ἘΝ ἩΜῖΝ; but a direct connection of an attributive clause with a substantive, without a connecting article, is very often found in the N. T., and is therefore not “ungrammatical” (as Düsterdieck thinks); the idea is here, then, the same as that which John in 1 John 4:16 expresses by: Ἡ ἈΓΆΠΗ ἫΝ ἜΧΕΙ Ὁ ΘΕῸς ἘΝ ἩΜῖΝ.[264] The difference between ΕἸς ἩΜᾶς and ἘΝ ἩΜῖΝ is this, that the former indicates only the tendency towards the goal, the latter the abiding at the goal. By ἩΜῖΝ we are to understand not mankind in general, but believers in particular, so also 1 John 4:10 in the case of ἩΜΕῖς Κ.Τ.Λ.

In the following sentence: ὍΤΙ ΤῸΝ ΥἹῸΝ ΑὐΤΟῦἽΝΑ ΖΉΣΩΜΕΝ ΔΙʼ ΑὐΤΟῦ, the special emphasis rests on the last words, for the love which God has towards us is manifested in the fact that He sent His Son into the world for this purpose, that we might live through Him, i.e. become partakers through Him of the life of blessedness. It is especially in its purpose that the sending of His Son is the manifestation of God’s love to us. The more particular description of the Son of God as ὁ μονογενής, which is frequently found in the Gospel of John, appears only here in his Epistles. In Luke (Luke 7:12, Luke 8:42, Luke 9:38) and in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 11:17), ΜΟΝΟΓΕΝΉς denotes the only child of his parents. So the expression is used by John also to denote Christ as the only Son of God, “besides whom His Father has none.” This predicate is suitable to Him, inasmuch as He is the λόγος who is ἘΝ ἈΡΧῇ, ΠΡῸς ΤῸΝ ΘΕΌΝ, ΘΕΌς. Lorinus arbitrarily explains ΜΟΝΟΓΕΝΉς = ἈΓΑΠΗΤΌς; comp. Meyer on John 1:14. Calvin rightly remarks: “quod unigenitum appellat, ad auxesin valet.” How great the love of God, in that He sent His only-begotten Son in order that we might live! Baumgarten-Crusius: “ΜΟΝΟΓΕΝΉς and ΖΉΣΟΜΕΝ are the principal words: the most glorious … for our salvation!”

[263] Even Ebrard has not perceived the difficulty. It lies in this, that by ὅτι κ.τ.λ. something is mentioned which happened for us, but not which happened to us; differently in John 9:3. Brückner thinks that the difficulty is removed by the fact that “in the purpose of the sending of Christ there also lies something which happened to us;” incorrectly, since even if the purpose of that is our life (ἵνα ζήσωμεν), yet it cannot be said that the love shown in the sending of Christ has manifested itself to us; the result is then that ἑφανερώθη is taken = “has operated,” and that an emphasis is laid on ἐν ἡμῖν which it does not receive from the context.

[264] Lücke incorrectly observes that with this connection there is in ἐν ἡμῖν “something superfluous and unsuitable.” This is so far from being the case, that it is just in this that the apostle arrives at the consideration of the relationship between God and the believer. True, the love of God relates to the whole world, John 3:16 : ἠγάπησεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸν κόσμον, and to all, without exception, He has given, by sending His Son, the possibility of not being lost, but obtaining eternal life, but the loving purpose of God is accomplished only in them that believe; the unbelieving remain ἐν ὀργῇ τοῦ Θεοῦ; hence the love of God to the world is more narrowly limited than His love to believers, who are His τέκνα.1 John 4:9. The Incarnation is a manifestation of the love of God because it is a manifestation of the divine nature, and the divine nature is love. ἐν ἡμῖν, “in our souls”—an inward experience. Cf. Galatians 1:16 : ἀποκαλύψαι τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ ἐν ἐμοί. μονογενῆ, cf. Luke 7:12; Luke 8:42; Luke 9:38. St. John applies the term exclusively to Jesus. It carries the idea of preciousness; cf. LXX Psalm 22:20; Psalm 35:17, where יְחִידָתִי, “my dear life,” is rendered τὴν μονογενῆ μου. ἀπέσταλκεν. “hath sent as an ἀπόστολος” (cf. Hebrews 3:1). An apostle is not simply nuntius, but nuntius vices mittentis gerens. Cf. Bab. Ber. 34, 2: “Apostolus cujusvis est sicut ipse a quo deputatur”. The perf. is used here because the influence of the Incarnation is permanent. ζήσωμεν, ingressive or inceptive aor. Cf. Luke 15:24; Luke 15:32; Revelation 20:4-5. ἵνα ζήσωμεν reconciles ἐφανερώθη ἡ ἀγάπη with ἡ ζωὴ ἐφανερώθη (1 John 1:2). The Incarnation manifested the love of God, and the love was manifested that we might get life. Eternal Life is not future but present: we get it here and now. Cf. John 17:3. Amiel: “The eternal life is not the future life; it is life in harmony with the true order of things—life in God”.9. In this was manifested] Or, for the sake of uniformity with 1 John 4:10; 1 John 4:13; 1 John 4:17, Herein was manifested: we have the same Greek in all four verses. ‘Herein’ plainly refers to what follows: comp. 1 John 3:16 and see on 1 John 3:19. For ‘manifest’ see on 1 John 1:2. This is a second reason for our loving one another. We must do this (1) because love is the very Being of Him whose children we are; (2) because of the transcendent way in which His love was manifested. The context shews that ‘the love of God’, which usually in this Epistle means our love to God, here means His love to us: comp. 1 John 3:16.

towards us] Rather, in us: we are the sphere in which God’s love is exhibited: comp. 1 John 4:16 and John 9:3, which is very parallel. The latter passage tends to shew that ‘in us’ is to be joined with ‘manifested’ rather than with ‘the love of God’: Herein was the love of God manifested in us. The rendering ‘in our case’ (R. V. margin) is improbable: comp. 1 John 4:12.

because that God sent] Better, because God hath sent: we do not need both ‘because’ and ‘that’; and the verb is a perfect, indicating the permanent result of Christ’s mission. In the next verse we have aorists, speaking of past acts without reference to the present.

his only begotten Son] Literally, His Son, His only begotten: comp. John 3:16. As in ‘the life, the eternal life’ (1 John 1:2), the repetition of the article makes both ideas, ‘son’ and ‘only-begotten’, prominent and distinct. Comp. 1 John 1:3, 1 John 2:7-8; 2 John 1:11; 2 John 1:13. His Son was much to send, but it was also His only Son. The word for ‘only begotten’ (μονογενὴς) as applied to Christ is peculiar to S. John; it occurs four times in the Gospel (John 1:14; John 1:18, John 3:16; John 3:18) and here. ‘Only-born’ would be a more accurate rendering: Christ is the only born Son as distinct from the many who have become sons. The word occurs in LXX. to translate a Hebrew word (yachid), which is elsewhere rendered ‘beloved’ or ‘darling’ (ἀγαπητός): and oddly enough where the Greek has ‘only’ the A. V. has ‘darling’ and vice versâ. Contrast Genesis 22:2; Genesis 22:12; Genesis 22:16 with Psalm 22:21; Psalm 35:17. The Vulgate has unigenitus and unicus. Comp. Romans 5:8; Romans 8:32.

that we might live through him] These are the important words, setting forth that in which God’s love is so conspicuous and so unique. The only Son has been sent for this purpose (ἵνα), that we may live, and not die, as we should otherwise have done: comp. 1 John 3:14, 1 John 5:11; John 3:16-17; John 3:36.1 John 4:9. Ἐν ἡμῖν, in us) that is, the love of God, which is now in us, throughout our whole spiritual experience.—ὅτι, because) This motive of love is derived from 1 John 4:3. From that which is said in 1 John 4:3 respecting Jesus Christ, who is come in the flesh, mutual love is inferred, 1 John 4:7 : the consequence is proved from the love of God towards us, who sent His Son, that we might live. It is a proof of the love of God towards us: it is a motive to our mutual love.Verse 9. - The verse is very similar to chapter 1 John 3:16, "in this" referring to what follows, and introducing a concrete and crucial example of love. Beware of the inadequate and misleading rendering "towards us" for ἐν ἡμῖν. It means in us, and belongs to "manifested," as John 9:3 plainly shows. We must not connect together "the love of God in us," still less "the love of God toward us," as one idea. "In us" means "in our case," and the whole may be paraphrased: "A transcendent manifestation of the love of God has been made in regard to us, in that he hath sent," etc. The verse might serve as a summary of St. John's Gospel. The word μονογενής as applied to Christ is peculiar to St. John; it and ζήσωμεν are the key-words of the passage. "This is love indeed; it is his only Son whom he has sent, and he has sent him to give us life." Note the double article - "his Son, yes, his Only Begotten." Was manifested

See on John 21:1; see on 1 John 3:5.

Toward us (ἐν ἡμῖν)

Wrong. Not "among us," as John 1:14, nor "in us;" but as Rev., in margin, in our case.

Sent (ἀπέσταλκεν)

John describes the incarnation as a sending, more frequently than in any other way. Ἁποστέλλω is to send under commission, as an envoy. The perfect tense, hath sent, points to the abiding results of the sending. See on 1 John 3:5.

His only-begotten Son (τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ τὸν μονογενῆ)

Lit., His Son, the only-begotten (Son). A mode of expression common in John, enlarging upon the meaning of a noun by the addition of an adjective or a participle with the article. See 1 John 1:2; 1 John 2:7, 1 John 2:8, 1 John 2:25; 1 John 5:4; John 6:41, John 6:44, John 6:50, John 6:51; John 15:1, etc. On only-begotten, see on John 1:14.

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