Beloved, let us love one another - This verse introduces a new topic, the consideration of which occupies the remainder of the chapter. See the Analysis. The subject is one on which John dwells more than on any other - that of love. His own character especially inclined him to the exercise of love; and the remarkable affection which the Lord Jesus had shown for him, seems to have had the effect to give this grace a special prominence in his views of what constituted true religion. Compare John 13:23. On the duty here enjoined, see the John 13:34-35 notes, and I John 3:11, I John 3:23 notes.
For love is of God -
(1)All true love has its origin in God.
(2)Real love shows that we have his Spirit, and that we belong to him.
(3)It assimilates us to God, or makes us more and more like him.
What is here said by the apostle is based on the truth of what he elsewhere affirms, I John 4:8, that God is love. Hatred, envy, wrath, malice, all have their source in something else than God. He neither originates them, commends them, nor approves them.
And everyone that loveth, is born of God - Is a regenerated man. That is, everyone who has true love to Christians as such, or true brotherly love, is a true Christian. This cannot mean that everyone that loves his wife and children, his classmate, his partner in business, or his friend - his house, or his farms, or his horses, or his hounds, is a child of God; it must be understood as referring to the point under discussion. A man may have a great deal of natural affection toward his kindred; a great deal of benevolence in his character toward the poor and needy, and still he may have none of the love to which John refers. He may have no real love to God, to the Saviour, or to the children of God as such; and it would be absurd for such a one to argue because he loves his wife and children that therefore he loves God, or is born again.
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing 1 John 4:7:
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