Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 1 John 4:9-21

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God sent his one and only Son - 1 John 4:9-10

God sent his one and only Son… the propitiation. God reveals himself by sending his unique, dearly loved son (see notes Rom 8:32; cf. Gen 22:12). By living in accord with God's will, laying down his life, and being raised in vindication, Christ is qualified to give life to God's people. To live in the fullest sense, according to John and the rest of the Scriptures, is to love God and other people fully, that is, in the same way that Jesus loved. On propitiation or atoning sacrifice see note on 2:2.

No one has ever seen God - 1 John 4:12

no one has ever seen God. John makes this point repeatedly in the Fourth Gospel (see notes on Jn. 1:18; 5:37; 6:46). Though God is a spirit, God's presence and fellowship is experienced when his love comes to Christ-like maturity in the congregation of his people, in both their worship and their witness.

The Spirit in God's Children Acknowledges the Incarnation - 1 John 4:13-16

The Spirit in God's Children Acknowledges the Incarnation. John gathers several aspects of his testimony in summary for his readers: He is an eyewitness of Jesus' life, death and resurrection. Like his readers, he has also received the Holy Spirit, who empowers their love for Christ and each other. These are intertwined and interdependent. True Discipleship is rooted in the apostle's witness about Christ; the Spirit's testimony and power; and the loving fellowship and service of God's people

We have seen and testify - 1 John 4:13-14

Spirit… borne witness. See BC 9; WCF 18.3; WLC 80; HC 76. The Holy Spirit binds together the eyewitness testimony of the apostle, John, with the fellowship his readers experience as together, they rely on God's love expresses through Jesus

Whoever acknowledges; remains in him - 1 John 4:15-16

whoever acknowledges… remains in him. Up to this point, John has used the word remain (menō) twenty times in the epistle (2:6, 10, 14, 17, 19, 24, 27-28; 3:6, 9, 14, 15, 17, 24, 4:12-13), and now twice more here. Jesus' true disciples are marked by their confession that he is God's Son, and then by how fully they rely on his love. This means they remain or abide in his teaching, they keep his commands (see notes on Jn. 8:31; 15:9-15) in the power of God's Spirit

Whoever Lives in God's Love - 1 John 4:16-21

Whoever Lives in God's Love Need not Fear Punishment. The experience of God's Spirit and glory transforms his people into his image (see notes on Exod. 34:29-35). By making their home in his covenant of loyal love, they can rest in peace, instead of fearing punishment.

Remains in this love - 1 John 4:16

remains in this love. See WCF 2.1; WLC 80. To dwell in God's love is also to practice love for one's fellow believers. On God is love, see note above on 4:8

Confidence on the day of judgment - 1 John 4:17-18

made perfect… day of judgment. See BC 37. In this verse and the next, John makes his third and fourth references to perfection or mature love for God. The first was in 2:5, where obedience made this love perfect, complete or mature. The second was in 4:12, where God's love matures as believers practice their love for one another. This leads to the final perfection of God's love—Christians can face God's final judgment without fear. In his Gospel, John describes Jesus as God's final agent of judgment (see notes on Jn. 5:22, 27, 30; 8:16; 12:31-33). Those who live or abide in him need not fear punishment from him.

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