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.…
The phrase "begotten of God" is not a large, but it is a very great one. Whither can our genealogy be traced?
I. The Bible answers this immense question by the doctrine that God and man stand to each other in the relation of Father and child, This fact gives to human sin its crimson dye, and to human sorrow its peculiar pathos. Human sin is the sin of Absalom — of a son against his father. Here is a fall from heaven!
II. But the phrase "begotten of God" means much more than this. It answers the question, What is religion? "Religion is orthodox belief," say some; a "cult," say others; "morality fired with emotion," say others. But the New Testament says that "Except a man be born again from above he cannot see the kingdom of God." So far as man is a son by nature only, he may grow up to be dissatisfied with his father's mode of life, and with the law of his father's house. He may also adopt a course of action so widely divergent from his father's that the natural bond between them shall serve only to reveal the widening gulf of character that separates them. To become truly a son he must be born again — must of his own choice accept as his father the parent Providence gave him, and must by his own love and conduct make the house in which Providence placed him a home. To be then fully "born of God" is for the soul, being filled with the Holy Spirit, to accept the salvation that is in Christ by faith in His blood, to acknowledge God's fatherly authority, accept God's law, live His life, do His work; or, in one word, to love God — "he that loveth is born of God."
III. Religion, then, is love. Love is not something elementary, something for little children and babes in Christ. Love is final, infinite. It is both Alpha and Omega in religion. "But what," you ask, "of life and conduct?" Well, a holy life is the natural outcome of love to God. If a man love God, he will avoid all sin and do all the good he can. It is related of an eminent singer that his teacher kept him day after day, and even month after month, practising the scales, in spite of the pupil's entreaties for something more advanced. At last the master told him to go forth as the best singer in Europe, having mastered the scales. Not otherwise did our Lord teach His first disciples. For three years He taught them "to love" by miracle and parable, by prayer and sermon. He grounded them in love. When seated with them at the last supper He said: "A new commandment I give unto you," and behold it was the old one, "That ye love one another." After His resurrection He met the disciples on the beach, and He took the repentant Peter and put him through the scales: "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?" Having learnt to love, their education was complete, their training ended. They could go everywhere and do all things. So, if we truly love God, and love all men in God, we are truly religious.
(J. M. Gibbon.)
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.