Thursday, November 1, 2012

1st John Chapter 4 part 4

4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
John provides several tests so that we may know the nature and spirit of the teacher coming to us in Christ’s name. Such a teacher must have a biblical acceptance of the fact that God came in the flesh (1st John 4:2); they must be willing to hear the biblical admonitions of fellow Christians (1st John 4:6); and finally, those truly born of God love their Christian brothers, demonstrated by action, verses 7 and 18.

This kind of love is from God and if you have been born again through faith in Jesus Christ the new life you have been given as a result comes with this newfound love for the brethren. Love for God’s saints was manifest wherever the gospel was preached and men and women believed its message.

And my trial that was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me,” Galatians 4:14-15.

Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing,” 2nd Corinthians 8:1-3.

Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need,” Acts 4:34-35.

The first test John posed appealed to what the supposed teacher thought of Jesus. The second test appeals to what the teacher thinks regarding Scripture; do they accept the authority of the Word of God? The third and final test appeals to the teacher’s outlook concerning the brethren. How do they conduct themselves toward Christians? Is their love only one of words, or one of action? Or do they manifest any love at all?

A failure to love in a manner congruent with New Testament teachings is, for John, a manifestation that this false teacher has never known God; for God is love. This is the first passage in this epistle where we find John coining this phrase, often grossly misused to justify all manner of sinful and lawless behavior. The love of the New Testament, the love of God, is selfless, charitable, patient, not provoked, is not envious or egotistical, 1st Corinthians 13:4-7. Love does no wrong to a neighbor, Romans 13:10. If we know love the way God intends for us to know it that means we have come to know God according to this verse. Only a proper knowledge of God’s character can clarify for us what the nature of love should look like in our relationships, toward Him and one another.


  1. Many false teachers deliberately misuse words to conceal what they believe about Christ. Some are able to distort scripture in a way to confuse people, and some fake love to mislead. They cannot maintain all three very long. One or the other nearly always shows shortly. The three ensure that false teachers will not go unnoticed long if we are paying attention.

  2. This is an acid test to subject teachers to, and I fully agree that false teachers will not (long) pass it. It also takes a willingness on our part to actually subject professing teachers to said tests. Thanks for the comment, dfish.


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