Friday, November 2, 2012

1st John Chapter 4 Part 5

4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
God wanted us to know beyond any shadow of a doubt that He loves us. Sending Jesus Christ to this earth so that through Him we might have eternal life was His method of choice. We find God practicing what He preaches. He commands that anyone who loves Him also love his brother in Christ, 1st John 4:21. To demonstrate the nature of love God gave Christ to us while we were His enemies, Romans 5:8. Paul agrees with John by writing “God demonstrates His own love toward us,” by sending Jesus while we were sinners and rebels.

This verse correlates with perhaps the Bible’s most famous verse, John 3:16. There Jesus states: “for God so loved the world that He gave…” We find that God loves the world, and He loves in a manner that compels Him to give. To love is to act on behalf of another, and to act in a selfless manner. God gave Christ so “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Christ was given so that we “might live through Him.” In Jesus is life (John 1:4) and God’s love is manifest in that He was willing to offer you and I this priceless, eternal gift freely, at the enormous cost of His Son.

Note that John calls Jesus the “only begotten” Son in this verse. John’s hallmark was to refer to Jesus in this manner. “The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him,” John 1:18. This is John’s way of saying Christ is completely unique in this relationship with the Father; there is no other who can claim this title like Christ can, John 10:30. Also eternal God and equal to the Father, Jesus was born of a virgin and became a man. In this respect He is begotten of God, being conceived of the Holy Spirit, Luke 1:35. Like only begets like.

Hearken back to the Old Testament and read Genesis. When we reach chapter 5 we find the writer speaking of Adam’s lineage. When Seth was conceived we read that Adam “begot a son in his own likeness, after his image,” Genesis 5:3. Seth was no less human than Adam; there is the concept of equality and heredity passed from father to son. What the father is so is the son, because he perfectly reflects him. When the Word of God was incarnated He became the image of the invisible God because He Himself was God, 2nd Corinthians 4:4; Hebrews 1:3. That was why Jesus could say without reservation, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father,” John 14:9.

John and the other apostles were unafraid in their teaching that Christ was God. This was not a doctrine fashioned by men hundreds of years after the fact by a Roman council. It was a doctrine explicitly expressed in Scripture, as was the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I digress on this topic for the moment, but we shall touch on the doctrine of the Trinity later in John’s epistle, God willing.


  1. The first references to Christ as the son of God occurred more that six hundred years before his birth, and many of the other prophesies were far older than that. Clearly, as you stated, this was not some doctrine fashioned hundreds of years later.

    Great post.

  2. It is clear that Scripture is self-vindicating, and the doctrines Christians accept today are embedded in the Bible and expounded by its writers. I am uneasy with those who point to extra biblical sources for biblical validation of a doctrine. If the Bible expresses this truth the honest seeker will find it; if it is not present to begin with no amount of intellectual or theological wrangling will change it.


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