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. The title "beloved." It comes most naturally from John. He was old, and yet the ardent affection of youth still animated his soul. It is a noble triumph of grace to see this spirit maintained and manifested to the last. John had seen and felt much to disappoint and distress him. How he must have been exercised when he wrote 3 John 1:9, 10. All this, and much of the same kind, did not cool his warm heart. Its love still came gushing forth as it had done in the days of his Divine Master.
II. THE DUTY OF CHERISHING BROTHERLY LOVE implied in the exhortation, "Let us love one another." While love is natural to the gracious soul, and cannot be suppressed, it is yet very susceptible of culture, and may be much strengthened by the exercise of the duty. Love may be increased by contemplating its object. In the present case that object is the believer. Suppose, then, that we consider him thoughtfully, what will be the effect? We think of his position and what is peculiar to it. His advantages and temptations, and duties and responsibilities present themselves to us. As we think of these we cannot help sympathising with him, and praying for him, and helping him as we have the opportunity. Again, as we are in the presence of a loved object, so is our affection increased. Hence arises the duty of cultivating the society of the godly. Acquaintance will secure many common advantages, and prevent many evils. How often have we cherished a prejudice against some one until it was dissipated by one friendly interview! We may add, the more we serve the object we love, the greater will be our attachment to it. It is not merely that habit confirms and increases the grace; but while this is true, every act of kindness we render draws out the heart in greater kindliness.
III. MANY COGENT REASONS are assigned by the apostle for the exercise of this duty, which we proceed to consider.
1. "Love is of God." It has its origin in Him. The more we possess it, the more we resemble Him. To have loved, therefore, is to be Godlike.
2. "Everyone that loveth is born of God." Such love as He cherishes is not natural to man. It is contrary to the spirit and habit of a sinner. It exists only in the renewed heart. It is inspired by the Holy Ghost. In all its exercises, its gracious nature and source are conspicuous. It is directed mainly to the people of God.
3. "Everyone that loveth knoweth God."
4. "He that loveth not knoweth not God." This is said in the way of warning and confirmation. Let no man deceive himself. If there be not love there cannot be the knowledge of God.
5. But the weightiest reason of all yet remains, "God is love." The essence of God is love. Power is a perfection. Wisdom is a perfection. Truth is a perfection. But it would not be sufficient to say love is a perfection. It lies as the substratum of the Divine character beneath all the perfections of God. It stimulates and employs them all.
(J. Morgan, 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.