7 Let us love one another - From the doctrine he has just been
defending he draws this exhortation. It is by the Spirit that the love
of God is shed abroad in our hearts. Every one that truly loveth God and
his neighbour is born of God.
8 God is love - This little sentence brought St. John more sweetness,
even in the time he was writing it, than the whole world can bring. God
is often styled holy, righteous, wise; but not holiness, righteousness,
or wisdom in the abstract, as he is said to be love; intimating that this
is his darling, his reigning attribute, the attribute that sheds an amiable
glory on all his other perfections.
12 If we love one another, God abideth in us - This is treated of, 1John
4:13 - 16. And his love is perfected - Has its full effect. In us - This
is treated of, 1John 4:17 - 19.
14 And in consequence of this we have seen and testify that the Father
sent the Son - These are the foundation and the criteria of our abiding
in God and God in us, the communion of the Spirit, and the confession of
15 Whosoever shall, from a principle of loving faith, openly confess
in the face of all opposition and danger, that Jesus is the Son of God,
God abideth in him.
16 And we know and believe - By the same Spirit, the love that God hath
17 Hereby - That is, by this communion with God. Is our love made perfect;
that we may - That is, so that we shall have boldness in the day of judgment
- When all the stout - hearted shall tremble. Because as he - Christ. Is
- All love. So are we - Who are fathers in Christ, even in this world.
18 There is no fear in love - No slavish fear can be where love reigns.
But perfect, adult love casteth out slavish fear: because such fear hath
torment - And so is inconsistent with the happiness of love. A natural
man has neither fear nor love; one that is awakened, fear without love;
a babe in Christ, love and fear; a father in Christ, love without fear.
19 We love him, because he first loved us - This is the sum of all religion,
the genuine model of Christianity. None can say more: why should any one
say less, or less intelligibly?
20 Whom he hath seen - Who is daily presented to his senses, to raise
his esteem, and move his kindness or compassion toward him.
21 And this commandment have we from him - Both God and Christ. That
he who loveth God love his brother - Every one, whatever his opinions or
mode of worship be, purely because he is the child, and bears the image,
of God. Bigotry is properly the want of this pure and universal love. A
bigot only loves those who embrace his opinions, and receive his way of
worship; and he loves them for that, and not for Christ's sake.