Two closely related perils threaten our fellowship with God as love, false prophets and the spirit which actuates them. Teaching is to be tested by the indwelling Spirit. All who refuse to confess that Jesus is Lord do so because they are of the world. At the root of every heresy concerning Jesus there has been worldliness in some form. To degrade the Person of Christ is to shake the foundations of faith. There can be no character which is according to God when the creed concerning Christ is a denial of the Spirit's test.
The apostle then makes an appeal by the employment of two arguments. First, that the nature of God is love, and therefore those who are His children should love. The second, that God has manifested His love.
The argument and appeal now issue in the declaration that no man has seen God, but the essence of the unseen God has been revealed in Christ, and now is to be revealed through His children. There is only one manifestation of God which is prevailing and powerful, and that is love. This is seen in the Son. All the glories and perfections of the Son are ours in Him. That is the apostle's consciousness of the glorious perfection of the provision which lends sternness to the words, "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar." To every person in actual union with God in Christ, love is possible. This, moreover, is not a privilege merely; it is a stem duty. The world still waits for the knowledge of God, which can come only through His revelation in the love of His children.
the Second Week after Epiphany