Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent his Son as the world’s Savior. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God—God remains in him and he in God. And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.
God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. In this, love is made complete with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because as he is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And we have this command from him: The one who loves God must also love his brother and sister.
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of him. This is how we know that we love God’s children: when we love God and obey his commands. For this is what love for God is: to keep his commands. And his commands are not a burden, because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. 1 John 4:7-5:4
Although love is an aspect of the Holy Spirit’s fruit (the character traits he develops in Christians’ lives) and evidence of the life transformation that comes with spiritual salvation, it is also something that we are responsible to develop. For this reason, John expects us to love others and to show love with practical action that seeks to benefit others. John is not talking about just feelings of concern, but deliberate choices to help people with their needs. We are to show love for three reasons: (1) Love is the very nature of God (vv. 7-9), which he showed by giving his own Son for us (vv. 9-10). We share his nature because we are born of him (v. 7). (2) Because God loved us we who have experienced his love, forgiveness and help are obligated to help others, even at great personal cost. (3) If we love one another, God continues to live in us and his love is made complete in us (v. 12).
1 John 4:17
In this, love is made complete with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because as he is, so also are we in this world.
As long as our motives and actions show that we are in a right relationship with Christ and God the Father, that Holy Spirit lives in us, that we aim to obey God’s commands, that we do not participate in the world’s corrupt practices, that we are loyal to the truth and that we love others as God does, then we can have confidence on the day of judgment.
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love.
We do not have to fear God’s judgement if we are in a right relationship with him. His love for us, our love for him and our love for others confirm our spiritual salvation.
1 John 5:1
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of him.
Genuine faith in God will express itself in gratitude to and love for the Father and Jesus Christ, his Son. True faith and active love are inseparable because when we are “born of God” (when we have accepted his forgiveness and become his child), the Holy Spirit pours God’s love into our hearts. The belief in God that John describes is more than mentally acknowledging that God exists or that his Word is true; it is a matter of active faith that surrenders one’s life to God’s control for his complete guidance and leadership.
1 John 5:2
This is how we know that we love God’s children: when we love God and obey his commands.
True Christian love, which is the fruit of the Christian’s love for God and obedience to his commands, will express itself in unselfish love for others-the second greatest commandment. That is to say, the acts of love toward others are evidence of true love for God.
1 John 5:3
For this is what love for God is: to keep his commands. And his commands are not a burden,
True children of God will not consider God’s commands, principles, and guidelines too heavy, unpleasant or unreasonable. This does not mean that his commands will be easy to live by. Yet, as John explains in v. 4 (You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.), our faith and spiritual salvation bring the Holy Spirit’s power into our lives, giving us both the desire and the ability to obey God.
1 John 5:4
because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith.
The faith that allows God’s people to overcome the world’s corrupt influences and its fierce opposition to God’s people is a faith that looks beyond natural appearances and sees eternal realities. It is a faith that experiences God’s power and loves Christ to such an extent that the world’s sinful pleasures, misguided values, ungodly ways and selfish materialism lose their appeal. Instead, we are repulsed by these things and grieved at the destruction that sin and worldly ideals cause in people’s lives.
John’s whole point in this passage is that as followers of Christ we are to be different than the world. And the biggest way that we can show this difference is through love. We as followers of Christ are to model Christ’s love to the world. That is why when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandments were he replied in this way: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” Love is the greatest command that God has given to us. God commands us to love him and to love others. And the world could use a little more Godly love.