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Truth and error (4:1-6)
Christians should examine carefully the teaching they receive, because not all teaching is correct, in spite of speakers’ claims that they are speaking by God’s Spirit. Wrong teaching about Christ may please those who do not want to believe that the Son of God is also a real man, but such teaching is from the devil (4:1-3).
There is no need for Christians to fear the false teachers, because those in whom God dwells can overcome those in whom Satan dwells (4). There will always be some people who listen to false teachers, because those with worldly minds like to listen to worldly ideas. God’s people would rather listen to his truth (5-6).
The character of Christian love (4:7-5:5)
It is God’s nature to love. Love in human nature has been spoiled by sin, but when people are born again by the work of God, they learn to love as God loves (7-8). The character of God’s love is seen in his act of giving his Son to die for those who have rebelled against him. They are worthy of death, but Jesus died to bear the judgment of sin on their behalf. As a result they can now have life (9-10). People cannot see God, but they can see that he lives within Christians when they practise his love. They show this most clearly when they love those who do not deserve it (11-12).
Christians have increased confidence in God through their inward possession of the Holy Spirit and their outward acknowledgment of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Saviour of sinners. They know that they live in God and that God lives in them (13-15). This new relationship with God (who is love) enables them to practise love towards other people as Jesus Christ did. This gives them added confidence that they are saved eternally and need never fear God’s judgment (16-18). In summary, if people love God they will love one another, but if they hate one another they cannot honestly claim to love God (19-21).
John repeats that people must believe in Jesus as the Son of God in order to be saved, and that love for God is inseparable from love for God’s people (5:1). If believers genuinely love God they will also obey his commandments. They will do this not in a legalistic spirit, but in a spirit of joy and willingness, for they will want to do what pleases God (2-3). They will find strength to be obedient through their faith in Jesus as the Son of God. Because Jesus overcame the world’s evil, the children of God who trust in Jesus can triumph also (4-5).
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 1 John 4". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14