Study No.11 (1 John 4:7-10)
Review (1 John 4:1-6)
The Lord Jesus and the apostles warned us that spiritual deception would be a conspicuous mark of the last days. One of the gifts of the Spirit is the discernment of spirits. It is the supernatural ability to sense whether one is speaking out of the soulish power of the flesh, intellectual knowledge or from demonic power or from the Spirit of God. This gift from the Holy Spirit is desperately needed within the wider Body of the Messiah today. The main litmus test is whether the speaker believes in the deity of the Lord Jesus, that He was eternally pre-existing as God, with God and face to face with God. In other words He came into the flesh after He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb. To deny this great Biblical revelation is to confess the spirit of the anti-Christ who hates Christ and is against Christ and who wants to replace Him with a false Christ.
The spirit of the antichrist promotes a Jesus other than the one revealed in the Bible. Most of the cults believe that Jesus existed on earth but all deny his deity and eternal relationship with the father and His all sufficient atoning death for sin on the cross. The spirit of antichrist wants to replace the true Christ with a false Christ. (Messiah) A false Christ is one with a false anointing. While it can and does refer to any who would make themselves to be the Lord Jesus it has a wider application to all antichrists who have an anointing but not from the Spirit of God, but from Satanic power.
While the spirit of antichrist has always been around even in the days when our Lord Jesus walked this earth it has continued down through the centuries and will be a very conspicuous mark of the last days especially within wider Christendom. Those who have the Holy Spirit living within them have a greater spiritual power in Him than the satanic power that is in the world at large. Through the Holy Spirit the believer in the Lord Jesus has the supernatural ability from God to discern truth from error. They have an anointing from the Holy One and know all things necessary for life and Godliness. Those whose hearts are fixed in this present evil age speak like the world speaks and have many followers both without and within Christendom.
Satan is not overly concerned with the world as the unsaved belong to him anyway but the ones that worry him is you and I who believe in the Lord Jesus and are a part of the Kingdom of light, not the kingdom of darkness. The spirit of the antichrist is at work in the world at large but more so within Christendom. Those who believe and obey the Word of God hear from God and through the blessed Holy Spirit’s power are able to discern the spirit of truth from the spirit of error. These days many in Christendom claim to have the Holy Spirit. However, is what they say and do have the endorsement of God’s Word?
Exposition (1 John 4:7-10)
(Vs.7) “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
When we were born again the love of God was shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). This is God’s love, a love that the world knows little or nothing about. The highest aspect of love capable by any human being is the Greek word “storge” which is the kind of love that is willing to lay down its life for another such as a mother might be willing to do for its child, or as a father might do for his son or even a subject fighting in the service of his king. This kind of love is a reflection of the love of God but it is not the love of God, but it points to it. John uses the Greek word “agape” when explaining about God’s love. It is primarily an action of the will not the emotions even though the emotions will be involved and follow the action of the will which comes first in agape love. This kind of love for God and for man is incapable by those who do not have the Spirit of God living on the inside of them.
Sometimes agape is expressed in the will to love even when the emotions are absent. Added to this it is the kind of love that is willing to give its life to save another undeserving of love because of their actions. It is seen in the way the Lord Jesus, who was without sin, died in the place of Barabbas, a murderer and insurrectionist and a rebel at heart. The world knows nothing of this kind of love as usually it loves those who love them.
Who in the world really loves an adulterer, a murderer, a thief, a liar or even a terrorist for that matter? God does and even though He punishes the wickedness of men He still loves them but also demands holiness of heart and righteous living from them, that righteousness received from Him through ones faith in the Lord Jesus for salvation. Only those who are spiritually reborn from above are capable of experiencing inwardly and outwardly by their actions this agape of God. With man this is impossible but with God all things are possible, even to love the unlovely.
The one defining mark that we have been born again is the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit and expressed in ones actions towards all men whether they are deserving of it or not. This is a tough love that is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. We are not speaking about some kind of mushy gushy feeling as such but a steadfast action of the will to love and not to give up. With men this is not possible but with God it is. We cannot know God inwardly if we do not have His love, for He is love in its fullest and most pure form and without fault. If we sought to love our brothers and sisters in the Messiah with God’s love flowing out from us it would be seen by the world (John 13:35). We can have doctrine, revelation, knowledge, deeds of charity, divest ourselves of everything we have in this world and gifts and even have faith to move mountains and the spirit of martyrdom but if these are not motivated by love then they will produce no genuine and lasting spiritual fruit in our lives or in the lives of others (1 Corinthians 13:1-4).
(Vs.8) “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
Clearly John tells us that God is not just a God who loves but is love Himself. This love is not something that can operate in isolation from someone else. There must be a giver and receiver of it and it must be reciprocal. This is one of the proofs that God is triune in nature. He is agape love itself and in its entirety. Who was there to love before the universe, the angels and man were created? The only plausible answer is the Trinity. In the Old Testament we find the word “Elohim” used of God and this word has plurality expressed in it. This word is used 2,500 times. There is another word “Eloha” denoting that God is the one and only God and that there are no other gods as such. This word is used 250 times.
The greater use of the word “Elohim” is used to describe God. In the great Hebrew confession about God we are told that “God is One” or “oneness,” however, within that Oneness is “Elohim” or plurality. Agape then must be reciprocal, given and received by mutual consent. This has always been at the centre of the eternal relationship between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. They all act in perfect harmony with each other in their intellect, in their feelings and in their wills, and are all equal in their divine attributes. Even though God is One He is triune in nature and should be worshipped as such. So then God is love itself!
(Vs.9) “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.”
Once again we are told that the Lord Jesus was God’s one and only begotten Son conveying the truth that He came into the flesh and was not a created being such as Adam was. Even though Adam and the Lord Jesus were both fully human, Adam was created out of the dust and did not pre-exist, he was from the earth. However, the Lord Jesus was fully human yet fully God in the one person and was the man from heaven even though He had an earth suit, a human body.
As Paul writes; “The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:47). As Paul also writes; “When Messiah, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). The Lord Jesus’ life is an indestructible life and cannot be tainted by any sin, evil, wickedness, demon spirit or by Satan himself (Hebrews 7:16). As John has stated; “Greater is He in you that he that in in the world!” He is our life and apart from Him we can produce nothing of spiritual value that God accepts whatsoever.
As Paul writes; “In my flesh dwells no good thing.” Why should God love us, who, by birth and nature, are great sinners and rebels in His sight? Who can answer this? Who of us has deserved God’s love? Who of us can earn His favour apart from His enabling power? Do we naturally love God? No we don’t because we love our sin and selfishness and love to satiate the desires of our fleshly appetites and desires that run contrary to the will and the nature of God. Though we have been created in His image and likeness that image has been marred by sin and the divine life of God withdrawn from the human spirit and the soul. As the Lord Jesus said; “Except a man be born again (spiritually reborn from above) he cannot see (enter into or perceive) the Kingdom of God “ (John 3:3).
(Vs.10) “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
We do not love God naturally and even our fairest and best deeds approved by man are tainted with pride and selfish ambition and sin. Our hearts are desperately evil. As Jeremiah the prophet writes; “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure— who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). According to the prophet Isaiah our righteousness at best in God’s sight is just like a woman’s filthy discarded menstrual rag in His sight. As Isaiah writes; “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment ( a filthy discarded women’s menstrual rag); we all wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind” (Isaiah 64:6).
Because we are sinful and incapable of living according to God’s standards of righteousness God in His love sent His One and only begotten Son into the world to be a propitiating sacrifice for our sin. The idea of propitiation in the Bible is to sacrifice someone that turns aside the wrath of God by bearing it upon Himself. This is what the Lord Jesus did for us at the cross. He who knew no sin was made to be a sacrifice for sin that we might be made righteous in God’s sight with a righteousness bestowed and imputed through faith in the Lord Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21) (Romans 3:21-31).