1 John 4:14

And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son, etc. The mission of Jesus Christ appears here in a threefold relation.

I. IN ITS RELATION TO THE WORLD. "The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." Notice.

1. The world's need of a Saviour. It was in a morally lost and undone condition. It was perishing by reason of its sins. Take the world of St. John's day, or of our own day, in confirmation of this.

2. The world's inability to provide for itself a Saviour. Many times and in various ways it has made the attempt, but it has always failed. Schemes of political organization, or liberal education, or social amelioration, or even moral reformation, do not reach the central depths of the need of our race. Man needs salvation, redemption.

3. The son of God came to the world as its Saviour. "The Saviour of the world." The expression "the world" is to be understood in its plain, natural meaning (cf. 1 John 2:2; John 3:16). He saves men from sin by the influence of his life and work upon earth, of his sacrificial death, his glorious resurrection, and his effectual intercession. How benevolent is this mission! He might have come to judge, condemn, and destroy our rebellious race. But "God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved?" How stupendous is this mission! Creation is a great and glorious work. The Divine agency in upholding the universe, and presiding over its vast and infinitely diversified affairs, baffles our every attempt to comprehend it. The immensity of its extent, the minuteness of its attention, the infinity of its wisdom, the almightiness of its power, immeasurably transcend our utmost thought. But the salvation of lost men is God's greatest and most glorious work. In the Divine Son accomplishing his redemptive mission we have the clearest and fullest manifestation of God.

II. IN ITS RELATION TO THE FATHER. "The Father hath sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world."

1. The Saviour is the Son of the Father. Frequently is this relationship expressed in the sacred Scriptures, and in a way which indicates its ineffable sacredness and dearness (see Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; John 1:14, 18; John 17:24; Romans 8:3; and verse 9).

2. The Saviour is the Sent of the Father. "The Father hath sent the Son." This is affirmed again and again in the writings of St. John (John 3:17, 34; John 7:16; John 10:36; John 16:5; John 17:3, 4, 5, 18, 21, 23, 25). Being thus sent by the Father, the Son's mission as a Saviour is Divine in its authority. He claimed this himself: "I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment," etc. (John 12:49, 50). The apostles made the same claim on his behalf (see Acts 2:22; Acts 10:38).

III. IN ITS RELATION TO THE APOSTLES. "And we have seen, and do testify, that the Father sent," etc.

1. Their knowledge of the Saviour. St. John, writing of himself and his fellow-apostles, says, "We have beheld," etc. They had seen their Lord in the exercise of his miraculous powers, and in wondrous glory on the Mount of Transfiguration; they had beheld the perfect purity and beauty of his daily life; they had seen him dead upon the cross, and his sacred body laid in its rocky sepulcher; they had afterwards repeatedly seen him living; and they beheld him as "he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."

2. Their testimony concerning the Saviour. "We have beheld and bear witness that the Father," etc. They testified to the facts which we have already noticed:

(1) That Jesus Christ was the Son of God.

(2) That he was the Sent of God.

(3) That he was sent of God as the Saviour of the world.

Their Lord had appointed them to be witnesses for him (John 15:27; Acts 1:8). And this may fairly be said to be the sum of their testimony: "The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." And it is beyond reasonable question that their testimony is "worthy of all acceptation." Thus we have seen that the great mission of Jesus Christ

(1) meets man's deepest need;

(2) rests upon the supreme authority; and

(3) is attested by competent and trustworthy witnesses.

Therefore let us believe their testimony, and turn heartily to the Son of God as our Saviour. - W.J.

And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world

1. The condition of the world was desperate. Man through sin had destroyed himself. Nothing short of salvation would have met the case of man as a sinner. The sinner can destroy himself, but he cannot save himself.

2. This salvation was of necessity a fact. It was a great act. Thoughts and words would not have sufficed to save us; good wishes would not have availed us. To speak would not have been enough. To do was essential. Redemption was a work of infinite greatness and difficulty. And it is this that we find in the history of the Man Christ Jesus — the eternal thoughts and feelings of the Godhead realised in glorious works.


1. The Incarnation of the Son of God was the indispensable condition of the reunion of man with God. This is the highest greatness that any creature is ever capable of attaining — that God should "dwell in him, and he in God." This does not mean to be lost like a wavelet in the ocean of Godhead, as the Pantheist imagines, but to become one with God in the affinity of holiness and the fellowship of love, and yet to preserve forever our personal individuality in the conscious enjoyment of that union. Man could not have been saved by ascending — by the mere development of his natural powers. Our salvation has been wrought by a descent of unparalleled magnitude. Descent is the ground of ascension.

2. It follows that the Incarnation and death of the Son of God form the spiritual power that is to create the world anew the moral lever for raising humanity to God. If we see a Christian of extraordinary attainments in godliness, we may be sure that this is the secret of his strength his thoughts and affections revolve constantly around this great centre, "God manifest in the flesh"; he abides by faith and love in Christ, and thereby God dwells in him, and he in God. This is the "secret of godliness."

3. Hence the facts of our redemption accomplished in Palestine years ago remain in the world yet, as great spiritual forces operating on the souls of men to raise them to God.Conclusion.

1. Let us appreciate the gospel above all things.

2. Let us ever remember that godliness, and all progress in holiness, draws its strength from Christ and His Cross, His life, death, and resurrection.

(G. Parry.)


1. "We have seen." The apostles and others had sensible evidence of the truth of the gospel. It was impossible they could be deceived. The life of Jesus was a fact about which there could be no mistake. It may be supposed the early disciples had an advantage over us in the sensible evidence which they enjoyed of the truth of the gospel. Yet it is doubtful whether our privileges are not greater than theirs. The benefit of their satisfaction is enjoyed by us in the record of it contained in their writings. We have found the Saviour to be all that they have declared.

2. There is, however, the testimony as well as the personal observation of the apostles. "We have seen and do testify," they say. And is not theirs a credible testimony? They were competent to observe and report accurately. They deserve our confidence, and while we give it to them, we put their testimony to the proof. We have found that the "gospel of Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God unto salvation.

II. THE TRUTH SO ATTESTED, "that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world."

1. The origin of the gospel. "The Father sent" the Saviour. Redemption arose from the counsel of the Godhead. It could have no other origin. Had it been revealed to the intelligent creation that men might be saved by the death and incarnation of the Son of God, they would have pronounced the sacrifice to be impossible. But the mystery has been solved by the great fact.

2. The agent whom the Father employed. "He sent His Son." He did so, because no other was sufficient. He was chosen because He alone is equal to the task.

3. The design of His mission. "The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour." What a precious name and office! It is a complete salvation which He has provided.

4. The universal efficacy of the gospel of Christ. "The world" is the object whose redemption is proposed.

III. THE VIEW WHICH THE TEXT PRESENTS OF ITS RECEPTION — "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God."

IV. THE BLESSED CONSEQUENCE — "God dwelleth in him, and he in God." These terms, so often used by the apostle, express the endeared communion, that arises out of faith in Christ, between the believer and God. It supposes an enjoyment of the Divine favour. "There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." It supposes confidence in the Divine strength. Waiting upon God in prayer, that he may be enabled to resist temptation and faithfully perform the duties required of him, he is sustained by the assurance, "My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." It supposes an earnest effort after the Divine holiness. Sin is more and more seen to be hateful, and holiness to be increasingly excellent. It supposes unreserved devotedness to the Divine service.

(J. Morgan, D. D.)


1. The world needed a Saviour; otherwise one had not been provided for them by Him who does nothing in vain.

(1)It was a sick world (Matthew 9:12).

(2)It was a cursed world, and needed a Saviour to remove the curse, and bring in the blessing (Acts 3:26).

(3)It was a lost world (Luke 19:10).

2. None of inferior dignity to the Son of God could be the Saviour of the world.

3. Christ was sent Saviour of the world from heaven's proper motion. The plot to save man was concerted entirely without him.

4. Christ is fully furnished for the saving of a lost world. His being sent in that character speaks His ability to answer it (Hebrews 7:25).

5. The salvation of lost sinners of the world of mankind is very acceptable to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, as well as to Himself, otherwise He had not sent His Son Saviour of the world (1 Timothy 2:3, 4).


1. In what sense Christ is Saviour of the world.

(1)He is the actual and eventual Saviour of the elect.

(2)He is the official Saviour, not of the elect only, but of the world of mankind indefinitely.

2. What is the business committed to Him as Saviour of the world.

(1)It is to save sinners from their sin (Matthew 1:21).

(2)It is to save sinners from misery, to free them from destruction (Hosea 13:9).Use

I. Of information.

1. Behold here, admire, and believe the great love of God to a lost world, in providing a Saviour, and such a Saviour, for them, even His own Son.

2. Behold here a broad and firm foundation of faith for all and every one of you; that you may come to Christ, whatever your case is, and claim His righteousness and His whole salvation for yourselves.

3. Sinners living in their sins, pining away, and about to perish eternally in them, are without excuse.

4. Believers themselves may be ashamed and confounded, for that iniquity prevails so against them. Alas! it is a sad sign the Saviour is little employed among us.Use

II. For trial,

1. If Christ has really begun to save you, ye will have the saved man's thoughts of sin, and of the wrath of God.

2. Ye will have a transcendent esteem of and love to your Saviour (1 Peter 2:7).

3. Ye will be groaning under the remains of the disease of sin ye are saved from; your conscience will witness ye would fain be wholly rid of it (Romans 7:24).Use

III. Receive the Lord Jesus, then, O sinners, in that character wherein His Father sent Him, as the Saviour of the world, and your Saviour.

1. Consider you need a Saviour. Your disease of sin will ruin you, if ye be not saved from it.

2. There is no Saviour besides Christ (Acts 4:12).

(T. Boston, D. D.)


II. THE AUTHOR. "The Son."

1. Because He was the most precious of all God's possessions.

2. Because He was in sympathy with God's own heart. No one else understood the mysteries of Divine love.

3. Because no one else was able to effectually carry out the work of salvation, or to accomplish redemption.


1. This reminds us that although the Father is a God of justice, He did not desire to destroy.

2. It shows us how intense is His love.

3. It suggests the Divine purpose of elevating the lost, for none but a Divine Being could set a perfect example.

IV. THE PROOF. "We have seen and do testify."

1. The persons who record their testimony are above suspicion.

2. They saw Christ's life, teaching, power, death.


John, Jude
Bear, Beheld, Savior, Saviour, Testify, Witness
1. He warns them not to believe all who boast of the Spirit;
7. and exhorts to brotherly love.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 John 4:14

     1135   God, suffering of
     2324   Christ, as Saviour
     2422   gospel, confirmation
     2423   gospel, essence
     2427   gospel, transmission
     5542   society, positive
     6617   atonement, in NT
     7950   mission, of Christ

1 John 4:7-16

     1205   God, titles of

1 John 4:7-21

     8115   discipleship, nature of
     8348   spiritual growth, nature of

1 John 4:9-19

     6512   salvation, necessity and basis

1 John 4:13-16

     5973   unreliability

Love of God and Man
FIRST SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY. Eversley. Chester Cathedral, 1872. 1 John iv. 16, 21. "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. . . . And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also." This is the first Sunday after Trinity. On it the Church begins to teach us morals,--that is, how to live a good life; and therefore she begins by teaching us the foundation of all morals,--which is love,--love to God and love to man. But which
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

First Sunday after Trinity God is Love.
Text: 1 John 4, 16-21. 16 God is love; and he that abideth in love abideth in God, and God abideth in him. 17 Herein is love made perfect with us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, even so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath punishment; and he that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love, because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

Christ's Mission the Revelation of God's Love
'Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.'--1 John iv. 10. This is the second of a pair of twin verses which deal with substantially the same subject under two slightly different aspects. The thought common to both is that Christ's mission is the great revelation of God's love. But in the preceding verse the point on which stress is laid is the manifestation of that love, and in our text the point mainly brought out is its
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

The Servant as his Lord
'... As He is, so are we in this world.'--1 John iv. 17. Large truths may be spoken in little words. Profundity is often supposed to be obscurity, but the deepest depth is clear. John, in his gospel and epistles, deals with the deepest realities, and with all things in their eternal aspects, but his vocabulary is the simplest in the New Testament. God and the world, life and death, love and hate, light and darkness, these are the favourite words round which his thoughts gather. Here are nine little
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Love and Fear
'There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.'--1 John iv. 18. John has been speaking of boldness, and that naturally suggests its opposite--fear. He has been saying that perfect love produces courage in the day of judgment, because it produces likeness to Christ, who is the Judge. In my text he explains and enlarges that statement. For there is another way in which love produces boldness, and that is by its
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

The Ray and the Reflection
'We love Him, because He first loved us.'--1 John iv. 19. Very simple words! but they go down into the depths of God, lifting burdens off the heart of humanity, turning duty into delight, and changing the aspect of all things. He who knows that God loves him needs little more for blessedness; he who loves God back again offers more than all burnt offering and sacrifices. But it is to be observed that the correct reading of my text, as you will find in the Revised Version, omits 'Him' in the first
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

May the Sixth the Perfecting of Love
"Herein is our love made perfect." --1 JOHN iv. 11-21. How? By dwelling in God and God in us. Love is not a manufacture; it is a fruit. It is not born of certain works; it springs out of certain relations. It does not come from doing something; it comes from living with Somebody. "Abide in Me." That is how love is born, for "love is of God, and God is love." How many people are striving who are not abiding. They live in a manufactory, they do not live in a home. They are trying to make something
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Love's Logic
But, dear friends, I trust after many years of instruction in the doctrines of our holy faith, I need not keep to the beaten doctrinal track, but may lead you in a parallel path, in which the same truth may be from another point. I purpose to preach an experimental sermon, and possibly this will be even more in accordance with the run of the passage and the mind of its writer, than a doctrinal discourse. We shall view the text as a fact which we have tested and proved in our own consciousness. Under
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871

A Psalm of Remembrance
Let me add another figure to render this truth yet more apparent. Suppose an eloquent foreigner, from a sunny clime, should endeavour to make you appreciate the fruits of his nation. He depicts them to you. He describes their luscious flavour, their cooling juice, their delicious sweetness; but how powerless will be his oration, compared with your vivid remembrance, if you have yourself partaken of the dainties of his land. It is even so with the good things of God; describe them as we may, we cannot
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859

Can you imagine a being placed halfway between this world and heaven? Can you conceive of him as having such enlarged capacities that he could easily discern what was done in heaven, and what was done on earth? I can conceive that, before the Fall, if there had been such a being, he would have been struck with the singular harmony which existed between God's great world, called heaven, and the little world, the earth. Whenever the chimes of heaven rang, the great note of those massive bells was love;
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859

Dark Times
1 JOHN iv. 16-18. We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. Have we learnt this lesson? Our reading, and thinking, and praying, have been in vain, unless
Charles Kingsley—The Good News of God

"And if Christ be in You, the Body is Dead Because of Sin; but the Spirit is Life Because of Righteousness. "
Rom. viii. 10.--"And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." God's presence is his working. His presence in a soul by his Spirit is his working in such a soul in some special manner, not common to all men, but peculiar to them whom he hath chosen. Now his dwelling is nothing else but a continued, familiar and endless working in a soul, till he hath conformed all within to the image of his Son. The soul is the office house, or workhouse,
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

"For what the Law could not Do, in that it was Weak Though the Flesh, God Sending his Own Son,"
Rom. viii. 3.--"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak though the flesh, God sending his own Son," &c. Of all the works of God towards man, certainly there is none hath so much wonder in it, as the sending of his Son to become man; and so it requires the exactest attention in us. Let us gather our spirits to consider of this mystery,--not to pry into the secrets of it curiously, as if we had no more to do but to satisfy our understandings; but rather that we may see what this concerns
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

The Torment of Fear
(First Sunday after Trinity.) 1 John iv. 16, 18. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. The text tells us how to get one of the greatest blessings;
Charles Kingsley—Town and Country Sermons

"The Fruit of the Spirit is Love"
I want to look at the fact of a life filled with the Holy Spirit more from the practical side, and to show how this life will show itself in our daily walk and conduct. Under the Old Testament you know the Holy Spirit often came upon men as a divine Spirit of revelation to reveal the mysteries of God, or for power to do the work of God. But He did not then dwell in them. Now, many just want the Old Testament gift of power for work, but know very little of the New Testament gift of the indwelling
Andrew Murray—Absolute Surrender

Scriptural Predictions of an Apostasy.
Who has not wondered, as they read of the Savior's and the apostles' warnings of "false teachers," grievous wolves, delusive powers, and deceptive lights, what it all could mean? These things certainly are not without meaning. Jesus says, "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound the love of many shall wax cold. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they
Charles Ebert Orr—The Gospel Day

The Established Christian Urged to Exert Himself for Purposes of Usefulness.
1, 2. A sincere love to God will express itself not only in devotion, but in benevolence to men.--3. This is the command of God.--4. The true Christian feels his soul wrought to a holy conformity to it.--5. And therefore will desire instruction on this head.--6. Accordingly, directions are given for the improvement of various talents: particularly genius and learning.--7. Power.--8. Domestic authority.--9. Esteem.--10. Riches.--11. Several good ways of employing them hinted at.--12, 13. Prudence
Philip Doddridge—The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul

The Manifestation of Holy Love.
"And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us." --1 John iv. 16. The question which now presents itself is: In what way is the divine, majestic act of making man a partaker of true love accomplished? We answer that this is-- 1. Prepared by the Father in Creation. 2. Made possible by the Son in Redemption. 3. Effectually accomplished by the Holy Spirit in Sanctification. There is in this respect, first a work of the Father, which the Heidelberg Catechism designates, "Of God the Father
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Love in the Triune Being of God.
"God is Love."--1 John iv. 8. Between natural love even in its highest forms and Holy Love there is a wide chasm. This had to be emphasized so that our readers might not mistake the nature of Love. Many say that God is Love, but measure His Love by the love of men. They study love's being and manifestations in others and in themselves, and then think themselves competent to judge that this human love, in a more perfect form, is the Love of God. Of course they are wrong. Essential Love must be studied
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

I May Briefly Reduce the Chief Persuading Motive to this So Needful and So Much...
I may briefly reduce the chief persuading motive to this so needful and so much desiderated grace into some three or four heads. All things within and without persuade to it, but especially the right consideration of the love of God in Christ, the wise and the impartial reflection on ourselves, the consideration of our brethren whom we are commanded to love, and the thorough inspection into the nature and use of the grace itself. In consideration of the First, a soul might argue itself into a complacency
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Dwelling in Love
"We love Him, because He first loved us."--1 John iv. 19. Mechthild of Hellfde, 1277. tr., Emma Frances Bevan, 1899 I rejoice that I cannot but love Him, Because He first loved me; I would that measureless, changeless, My love might be; A love unto death and for ever; For, soul, He died for thee. Give thanks that for thee He delighted To leave His glory on high; For thee to be humbled, forsaken, For thee to die. Wilt thou render Him love for His loving? Wilt thou die for Him who died? And so by
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen and Others (Second Series)

Whether Initial Fear Differs Substantially from Filial Fear
Whether Initial Fear Differs Substantially from Filial Fear We proceed to the eighth article thus: 1. It seems that initial fear differs substantially from filial fear. For filial fear is caused by love, whereas initial fear is the beginning of love, according to Ecclesiasticus 25:12: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of love." Initial fear is therefore other than filial fear. 2. Again, initial fear fears punishment, which is the object of servile fear. Thus it seems that initial fear is the
Aquinas—Nature and Grace

Here Some one Will Say, this is Now not to Write of virginity...
52. Here some one will say, This is now not to write of virginity, but of humility. As though truly it were any kind of virginity, and not that which is after God, which we had undertaken to set forth. And this good, by how much I see it to be great, by so much I fear for it, lest it be lost, the thief pride. Therefore there is none that guardeth the virginal good, save God Himself Who gave it: and God is Charity. [2211] The Guardian therefore of virginity is Charity: but the place of this Guardian
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.

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