1 John 4:7-10
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God.…
I. "Love is of God." This does not mean merely that love comes from God, and has its source in God; that He is the author or creator of it. All created things are of God, for by Him all things were made, and on Him they all depend. But love is not a created thing. It is a Divine property, a Divine affection. And it is of its essence to be communicative and begetting; to communicate itself, and, as it were, beget its own likeness. "Love is of God." It is not merely of God, as every good gift is of God. It is of God, as being His own property, His own affection, His own love. It is, wherever it is found, the very love wherewith God loveth. If it is found in me, it is my loving with the very love with which God loves; it is my loving with a Divine love, a love that is thus emphatically of God. "Everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God."
1. None but one born of God can thus love with the love which, in this sense, is of God; therefore, one who so loves must needs be one who is born of God.
2. Being born of God implies knowing God. How it is the manner of God to love; what sort of love His is; love going out of self; love sacrificing self; love imparting and communicating self; love unsought and unbought; unconditional and unreserved; what kind of being, in respect of love, God is; you who are born of God know, even as the only begotten Son knows.
II. The opposite statement follows as a matter of course — "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." To love with the love which is of God, is to know God; not to love thus, is not to know God; for God is love. In this view, the proposition, "God is love," really applies to both of the alternative ways of putting the case; the positive and the negative alike. It assigns the reason why it may be said on the one hand, "Everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God"; and why it may also be said on the other hand," He that loveth not, knoweth not God." "God is love." It is a necessity of His nature, it is His very nature to love. He cannot exist without loving. "God is love" before all creation; love in exercise; love not possible merely but actual; love forthgoing and communicative of itself; from the Father, the fountain of deity, to the Son; from the Father and the Son to the Holy Ghost. In creation, this love is seen forthgoing and communicative in a new way towards new objects. Sin enters, and death by sin; all sin, and all are doomed. Still "God is love"; the same love as ever. And "in this now is manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent," etc. This is its crowning glory; the saving mission from God of His only begotten Son. It is consummated in our "living through Him," through His "being the propitiation for our sins." For now, effectual atonement being made for our guilt, our redemption and reconciliation being righteously and, therefore, surely effected by His being the propitiation for our sins; we, living through Him, are His brethren indeed. The love wherewith God loves Him dwells in us. God loves us even as He loves Him. And so at last the love which, from all eternity, it is of the very nature of God's essential being to feel and exercise, finds its full fruition in the "mighty multitude of all kindreds, and peoples, and nations, and tongues, who stand before the throne and give glory to Him who sitteth thereon, and to the Lamb forever and ever."
(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.