1 John 4:9
This is how God's love was revealed among us: God sent His one and only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.
A Triune PhilosophyB. J. Snell, M. A.1 John 4:7-10
Brotherly LoveD. Rhys Jenkins.1 John 4:7-10
Christian LoveH. W. Beecher.1 John 4:7-10
Christian LoveJ. C. French.1 John 4:7-10
God's Existence and LoveBp. Harvey Goodwin.1 John 4:7-10
Knowing God by LoveJ. E. Rankin, D. D.1 John 4:7-10
Love and KnowledgeJ. M. Gibbon.1 John 4:7-10
Love and ReligionJ. M. Gibbon.1 John 4:7-10
Love is of GodBp. Stevens.1 John 4:7-10
Love is of God -- God is LoveR. S. Candlish, D. D.1 John 4:7-10
Love of Relations and FriendsJ. H. Newman, D. D.1 John 4:7-10
Love the Organ of the Highest KnowledgeChristian Weekly1 John 4:7-10
Only Love Can Know LoveGeo. Thompson.1 John 4:7-10
The Lessons of LoveH. M. Butler, D. D.1 John 4:7-10
The Love of GodJ. Morgan, D. D.1 John 4:7-10
The Voice of God Through Human LoveC. Voysey.1 John 4:7-10
Threefold Recommendation of the Duty of Loving One AnotherR. Finlayson 1 John 4:7-21
Christ the Manifestation of Divine LoveS. Martin.1 John 4:9-10
Divine Love in its Highest ManifestationC. M. Merry.1 John 4:9-10
God's Love Manifested in ChristiansJ. M. Gibbon.1 John 4:9-10
God's Love Manifested in RedemptionR. Walker.1 John 4:9-10
God's Love ProvedA. Maclaren, D. D.1 John 4:9-10
The Love of GodH. W. Beecher.1 John 4:9-10
The Love of GodT. B. Baker, M. A.1 John 4:9-10
The Love of GodM. Rainsford, M. A.1 John 4:9-10
The Love of God Manifested in the SonH. Raikes, M. A.1 John 4:9-10
The Love of God to Men in the Incarnation of ChristAbp. Tillotson.1 John 4:9-10
The Manifestation of Divine Love in the GospelE. D. Griffin, D. D.1 John 4:9-10
The Supreme Manifestation of God's LoveA. Stackhouse, M. A.1 John 4:9-10
The Supreme Manifestation of LoveW. Jones 1 John 4:9-11

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, etc. Our text does not speak of the only manifestation of the Divine love. In many things is the love of God manifested to us - in the beauty, the utility, and the fertility of our world; in the exquisite structure of our souls and bodies; in the apt relations of the outer world to our nature. Nor does our text mention the manifestation to angelic beings of the love of God. But St. John sets forth the richest and most glorious exhibition in regard to us of the love of God. We see here several aspects of the Divine love.

I. IN ITS GREAT ORIGIN. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us"

1. God's love to man originated entirely with himself. This love in its beginning was all on God's part, and none on ours. We did not love him. There was nothing in us to awaken his love to us. We were not beautiful, or amiable, or meritorious, or good. "But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." It was our sin and suffering and deep need that called forth his compassion toward us; and ere he could love us with the love of complacency, he loved us with the love of tender and Divine pity.

2. God is the Fountain of all love. Love flows from the essential nature of the Divine Being. "Love is of God... God is Love" (verses 7, 8). As light and heat from the sun, so all true love everywhere flows from him, or took its rise from him. And seeing that he is love, that love is of his essence, the flowing forth of his love to us is the giving of himself to us. But the love of God was manifested in our case -

II. IN THE GREAT MESSENGER WHICH HE SENT UNTO US. "Herein was the love of God manifested in us [or, 'in our case'], that God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." Notice:

1. The pre-existence of Jesus Christ. This is clearly implied in the expression, "God hath sent his Son into the world" (cf. John 17:4, 5; John 3:17, 34).

2. The endearing relation of Jesus Christ to God the Father. He is "his only begotten Son." The word" Son" alone would suggest that their relation is one of deep affection; but other terms are added, which intensify and strengthen this idea. The Father speaks of him as "my- beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17). St. Paul writes of him as "God's own Son" (Romans 8:3). And St. John styles him "the Only Begotten of the Father.... the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father" (John 1:14, 18); "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand" (John 3:35). And our Saviour said, "Father, thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24). It is impossible for us to comprehend this ineffable and infinite love subsisting between the Father and his only Son, or the deep and unutterable joy of their communion. In sending such a Messenger to our world, what a revelation we have of the love of God!

3. The subordination of Jesus Christ to God the Father in the work of redemption. "God sent his only begotten Son into the world." "As thou didst send me into the world, even so sent I them into the world" (John 17:18). The Divine Son cheerfully became a servant that his Father's authority might be vindicated, and his Father's glory be promoted in the redemption of the human race (cf. Philippians 2:6-8).

III. IN THE BLESSING WHICH HE DESIGNS FOR US. "That we might live through him." Notice:

1. The condition in which the love of God finds man. "Dead by reason of trespasses and sins." There is a resemblance between a dead body and the state into which the soul is brought by sin. In both there is the absence of vision, of hearing, of sensibility, and of activity.

2. The condition into which the love of God aims to bring man. "That we might live through him." His design is to quicken men into spiritual life - the life of true thought, pure affection, righteous and unselfish activity, and reverent worship. This life is eternal in its nature. It is not perishable or decaying, but enduring and progressive. And it is blessed. Life in the text comprises salvation in all its glorious fullness. How clear is the manifestation to us of the Divine love in this!

IV. IN THE MEANS BY WHICH THIS BLESSING IS OBTAINED FOR US. "He sent his Son to be the Propitiation for our sins." The best commentary on Christ the Propitiation that we know, is that found in the words of St. Paul, in Romans 3:24-26. Two remarks only do we offer concerning the propitiation.

1. It was not anything offered to God to render him willing to bless and save us.

2. It was designed to remove obstructions to the free, flowing forth of the mercy of God to man. How splendid the expression of the love of God in sending his Son, only and well-beloved, to be the Propitiation for our sins!

V. IN THE EXAMPLE WHICH IT PRESENTS TO US. "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." The obligation to copy the Divine example in this respect is grounded upon our relation to him as his children. Because we are "begotten of God" (verse 7) we should seek to resemble him. The argument of the Apostle Paul is similar: "Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love," etc. (Ephesians 5:1, 2). If we are "partakers of the Divine nature," we should imitate the Divine example.

1. In relation to mankind in general. "I say unto you, Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you; that ye may be sons of your Father which is in heaven," etc. (Matthew 5:44, 45). He loved us with the love of compassion before he could love us with the love of complacency. Let us imitate him in this respect in our relation to those who are yet in their sins.

2. In relation to the Christian brotherhood in particular. (Cf. chapter 1 John 3:10-18.) Let us evince our relation to the Father, who is infinite Love, by our unfeigned love to our Christian brethren. Let the supreme manifestation in regard to us of his love thus produce its appropriate effect in us. - W.J.

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only-begotten Son into the world
Mark in illustration of the immensity of that love —

I. THE DIGNITY AND WORTH OF HIM WHO WAS GIVEN TO THE WORLD FOR ITS MANIFESTATION. "God sent His only-begotten Son into the world." This was the first step in the demonstration of His matchless benignity.

II. Observe, as a further illustration of God's love as here set forth, THE CONDITION TO WHICH HE FREELY SURRENDERED HIS SON. "He sent Him into the world." "He sent Him to be the propitiation for our sins." And think! — this love has been shown to you! All this God did to prove Himself gracious to you — to you, the most ungrateful and hard-hearted here this day, who do not, will not love Him in return?

III. Consider a third particular which the text adduces in illustration of the great love wherewith God has loved us, namely, THE GLORIOUS END, IN RELATION TO OUR RACE, WHICH THAT LOVE CONTEMPLATED. "God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him." That which the apostle here means by "life," is happy existence — existence in connection with the highest and fullest development of all our powers, both of perception and enjoyment; existence in the possession of the Divine favour and love, moral rectitude, and internal purity. A life is it whose vigour no power of disease can undermine, whose actings are superior to waste and fatigue, whose duration is lasting as Jehovah. Oh! what, then, must be the measure of that love which gave Christ to procure for us such a benefit as this?

IV. Consider, in the last place, how marvellously this love is enhanced by the fact, THAT IT WAS LOVE TO THE UNLOVING. "Herein is love," says our text, "not that we loved God." What should be the effect upon us of such contemplations.

1. Love begets love, and if God has so loved us, we should surely love Him in return.

2. Love is exemplary. and if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

(C. M. Merry.)

There are two notions of God that have more or less prevalence among men. One represents Him that if there were not a man on earth, if there were nothing in all creation from side to side, there is that in Himself that would make Him forever overflow with taste, and feeling, and love. The one ascribes to Him a nature that is merely susceptible of being called out upon the application of the motive. The other ascribes to Him a nature that pours itself abroad in the earth by reason of its own fulness and richness. It is the latter of these two ideas that I suppose the Scriptures to teach. In our text God's love for us is not affirmed to exist because God perceived a spark kindled in us, gradually flaming forth and reaching up toward Him. God did not love man because man had prepared himself and made himself lovely, nor did Divine love spring forth from any deed of God's by which He, for purposes of government, aroused and incited Himself to strong emotion. Love springs not from an act, not from a fact of redemptive sacrifice, The love of God for the world was manifested in the Cross, instead of being created by it.

I. GOD'S LOVE DOES NOT DEPEND UPON OUR CHARACTER, BUT UPON HIS OWN. I do not mean to say that it makes no difference whether a man has a good or a bad character. I do not mean to affirm that there do not spring up, between the Divine nature and ourselves, by reason of our relations to that nature, certain deep intimacies and more wonderful affections. But I do mean to affirm that there is a great overshadowing of love to us, that exists, not on account of our character, but on account of His.

II. THE DIVINE LOVE EXISTS AND WORKS UPON US, NOT ALONE WHEN WE ARE CONSCIOUS, BUT EVERMORE. Men mount up under flashes of glorious realisation, and it seems as if God then began to love them, because they then first become sensitive to His love. When a man has passed through religious changes from darkness to light; when he has put off his worldly character, and taken on the character of Christ; when, coming out of despondency, the compassionate Saviour rises before his imagination, and he says, "Christ has begun to love me" — his impression is that the Divine love for him began when the burden which had weighed down his soul was rolled off. This is as if a blind man, who had never seen the heavens, nor the earth, nor the sweet faces of those who loved him, should have a surgical operation performed upon his eyes, resulting in the restoration of his sight, and he should think to himself on going out of doors, "Oh! how things are blossoming! The earth is beginning to be beautiful! Mountains and hills are springing up in every direction! The forms of loving friends are being raised up to meet my gaze! And the sun has just begun to shine forth from the heavens!" But have not these things existed since the creation, although the man's eyes have not before been in a condition to enable him to see them? A man has lived in a cellar, where he has been a poor, confined creature, striving to live a life which was but like a prolonged death. At last he is permitted to go up one storey, and then one storey higher, and then yet another storey. Thus he keeps on exploring and going up, until finally he reaches the roof. There he beholds the heavens over his head, and the sun in the east, and he is tranced with amazement by the glory of the things which surround him. And yet, every single day during his existence, and for countless ages, the heavens have hung above the earth, the sun has shone forth in splendour, and the creations which astonish his vision have been beheld by men. For forty years he has been in the cellar, and now he has come up where he can see, it seems to him that objects now appear for the first time, because he sees them for the first time. So it is with the disclosures of the love of God in Christ Jesus to Christians. They think that the time at which they first realise God's love is the time when it is first shed upon them. But as God pours abroad infinite breadths of His being without an eye except His own to behold, so He spreads over our heads an unknown, an immeasurable love, waiting for our recognition, but in no wise depending upon it.

III. There is something unspeakably affecting to me in this thought of THE SOLICITUDE OF DIVINE LOVE FOR MEN, AND ITS PATIENT CONTINUANCE IN GOD WITHOUT CONSCIOUSNESS ON OUR PART. There is something sweet in interpreting the nature of God from the family. Now who can tell the sum of the thoughts which the mother bestows on the child? And yet he is unconscious of most of her solicitude concerning him. He knows that she loves him, but he only feels the pulsations of her love once in awhile. I think we never know the love of the parent for the child till we become parents. Not only does God think of us constantly, and love us steadfastly, but there is a healing, curative nature, forever outworking from the Divine mind upon ours, even although we may cooperate voluntarily with His will. All these yearnings which we have for good, are the crying out of the soul for God, under the influence of His love to us. Every throb of our spirits that answers to spiritual things is caused by the influence of God. And that is not all. We have testimony in the workings of the providence of God in the experiences of our daily life, that God's love is still shed upon us, although we may be unconscious of it. I recollect to have read the case of a man in a city of Southern Europe, who spent his life in getting property, and became unpopular among his fellow citizens on account of what seemed to them his miserly spirit. When his will was read after his death, it stated that he had been poor, and had suffered from a lack of water; that he had seen the poor of the city also suffering from the same want, and that he had devoted his life to the accumulation of means sufficient to build an aqueduct to bring water to the city, so that forever afterward the poor should be supplied with it. It turned out that the man whom the poor had cursed till his death had been labouring to provide water for the refreshment of themselves and their children. Oh! how God has been building an aqueduct to bring the water of life to us, He not interpreting His acts and we not understanding them!

IV. GOD'S LOVE IS NOT, AS TOO OFTEN OURS IS, THE COLLATERAL AND INCIDENTAL ELEMENT OF HIS LIFE AND BEING. It is His abiding state. All time and all eternity are filled with it. All plans are conceived and directed by it. All histories and all administrations are transfused with and carried forward in it. All triumphs are to end in it, while all that cannot be made to harmonise, and blend, and cooperate with it shall be utterly swept away.

1. Can any other truth so justify and enforce an earnest, instant, manly search, to see if these things be so?

2. If what I have said is true, can any honourable man justify himself for not coming into a living faith in and communion with God?

3. Will not the realisation of such a nature, brought home to us personally, account for all the sometimes discredited Christian experiences?

(H. W. Beecher.)

1. The love of God as a principle is, of course, eternal. Like His own nature, it is uncreated, self-existent, and independent.

2. But, while the love of God as a principle is from everlasting, the manifestations of this love are related to events, and to circumstances, and to time. Now the manifestation of God's love not only makes us acquainted with it, but renders that love available to us. Now, in the text, a gift is introduced as manifesting God's love.

I. THE NATURE OF THIS GIFT. Now here, you observe, a being is given to us, and a being closely related to God Himself; so closely related to the Father that we must look upon Him as the Son of the Highest. This Being is sent into our world — sent to live in close connection with it; for He is born of a woman, and sent into our world to become thoroughly indentified with it. He is indentified with it as a newborn babe; He is indentified with it as an infant; He is indentified with it as a child; He is indentified with it as a youth; He is indentified with it as a man; He is indentified with it as pursuing the ordinary occupations of His country and age.

II. THE INTENT OF THIS GIFT. To give "life." Originally, life was staked upon a covenant. God said to our first father, "Do this, and you shall live." That was a covenant of works, and the continuance of life to Adam under that arrangement was his due. The covenant is broken, and it is utterly impossible for God to place us now under a covenant of similar character. If we are to have life now, it must be by a dispensation of mercy. And while He personally imparts to us that life which consists in freedom from condemnation, He gives us life in soul and spirit by "the Spirit of God."

(S. Martin.)

The wife of Tigranes was among the captives on a certain public day when Cyrus, the conqueror of Asia, was reviewing his troops. While the captives pressed forward to see the conqueror, Tigranes presented himself before Cyrus and offered a thousand talents for the redemption of his wife. Among the observations afterwards made respecting the appearance and glory of the conqueror, this noble lady was asked what she thought of Cyrus. She had not seen him. On what then was your attention fixed? On the man who offered a thousand talents for my redemption. And on whom should the attention of Christians be chiefly fixed, but on Him who gave, not a thousand talents, but His own most precious life, for their redemption? We admire the magnanimity of Judah, when we behold him, in concern for the sorrows of an aged parent, offering himself to servitude in the room of the favourite son of the deceased Rachel. But what was this compared with Him who took the sinner's place under law, and so to speak, received the full discharge of wrath Divine? Let all the archives of antiquity be explored; bring forward all the generous sacrifices of Greece and Rome; and what are they all to the amazing love here displayed? The love which we celebrate stands alone and without a second. It is the most profitable subject of contemplation that can occupy the mind. It carries you up to those views of God which are the most sublime, the most transforming, and the most happy.

(E. D. Griffin, D. D.)

I. It is a great evidence of the love of God to mankind, that HE WAS PLEASED TO TAKE OUR CASE INTO CONSIDERATION, AND TO CONCERN HIMSELF FOR OUR HAPPINESS. Now that He, who is far above us, and after that we by wilful transgression had lost ourselves, had no obligation to take care of us, but what His own goodness laid upon Him; that He should be so solicitous for our recovery, is a great evidence of His goodwill to us, and cannot be imagined to proceed from any other cause.

II. Another evidence of God's great love to us is, that HE WAS PLEASED TO DESIGN SO GREAT A BENEFIT FOR US. This the Scripture expresseth to us by life; because, as it is one of the greatest blessings, so it is the foundation of all other enjoyments.

1. We were spiritually dead, dead in trespasses and sins, as the apostle speaks (Ephesians 2:1, 2).

2. We were likewise judicially dead in law, being condemned by the just sentence of it. What a surprise of kindness is here! that, instead of "sending His Son to condemn us," He should "send Him into the world to save us." But His love stopped not here; it was not contented to spare us and free us from misery, but was restless till it had found out a way to bring us to happiness.

III. The last evidence of God's great love to us was this, that God WAS PLEASED TO USE SUCH A MEANS FOR THE OBTAINING AND PROCURING OF THIS GREAT BLESSING. "He sent His only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him."

1. The person whom He was pleased to employ upon this design: "He sent His only-begotten Son."

2. How much He abased Him, in order to the accomplishing of this design, implied in these words, "He sent Him into the world."

3. To whom He was sent, to the world.

4. That He did all this voluntarily and freely, out of His mere pity and goodness; not constrained hereto by any necessity.What remains but to apply this to ourselves?

1. Let us propound to ourselves the love of God for our pattern and example.

2. Let us readily comply with the great design of this great love of God to mankind.

3. With what joy and thankfulness should we commemorate this great love of God to mankind.

(Abp. Tillotson.)


1. Everlasting in its date (Jeremiah 31:3).

2. Unmerited in the objects of it (Ezekiel 36:21-23).

3. Immutable in its nature (Psalm 89:30-36).

4. Of unspeakable value (Ephesians 3:17-19).

5. Eternal in its duration (Ephesians 3:11, 12).


1. The greatness and glory of the person sending: God (Isaiah 57:15).

2. The dignity of the person sent: Christ, the God-man (Hebrews 1:3).

3. The place into which He was sent: this world (1 John 4:9).

4. The purpose for which He was sent: salvation (Galatians 4:4, 5).


1. A life of reconciliation with God (2 Corinthians 5:18).

2. A life of justification before God (Romans 5:1).

3. A life of Divine communion in God (1 John 1:3).

4. A life of consolation and genuine happiness (2 Corinthians 1:5).

5. A life of eternal glory in heaven, body and soul (Psalm 73:24; Galatians 6:8).

IV. IMPROVEMENT. The nature of this life has many most paradoxical traits connected with it.

1. A warlike yet victorious life.

2. A painful yet pleasurable life.

3. A friendless yet friendly life.

4. An humble yet exalted life.

5. A dying yet eternal life.

6. A worthless yet most precious life.

(T. B. Baker, M. A.)

I. THE AMAZING. MANIFESTATION OF DIVINE LOVE, WHICH IS HERE DESCRIBED. As when some eminently beautiful object rivets the attention of a traveller, so that he scarcely gives even a passing glance to other objects; so the believer's thoughts are so fixed upon one manifestation of God's love. "In THIS was manifested the love of God," etc.

II. FOR WHOM THIS WONDROUS LOVE HAS BEEN MANIFESTED. "God sent His only-begotten Son into the world." It might have happened that, for some reason known to the Creator, such a sacrifice should have been necessary for the world in its first state of innocence; and even in such a case the love of God in sending His Son would have been inconceivably great; but what was really the state of the world, when this love was manifested in its behalf? We shall learn what the state of the world is, by considering what we ourselves are. Some are sincerely desirous of living to the glory of God, while others are seeking to please themselves. But what are the best feelings of the best of us towards God? What is the best conduct of the best of us in comparison with the will of God? Alas! how cold are our affections! How inconsistent is our habitual deportment! The devices of Satan, how often we allow ourselves to be deceived by them! And, if the best are so bad, what must the worst be? And yet God sent His Son into such a world! Oh, what wondrous love!


(A. Stackhouse, M. A.)

The love of God is not a public spectacle. Love is not a material thing, that all can see alike. Thousands saw the Cross who saw nothing of the love. Where can the love of all that passion, that blood, that death, be seen? "In us," who by faith in the blood are saved to life eternal. A man goes down to the shore when a storm is raging. He sees a wreck in the offing and a crowd on the beach, He finds that he is too late to see what they have seen — the lifeboat manned and launched — to see the rescue of those on board. He has come too late for all that, but he can yet see the love of it all in the gratitude and gladness of the saved. In all those saved folk he can see the love of it all made manifest. Well, Calvary is hidden from us. The dying ended in three hours, but the love of it all is manifest in us — in every soul saved from hell — in every gleam of hope that lights the gloom of death — in all the ways by which Christian charity ministers to the needs of men. "When thou seest an eagle," said Blake, "thou seest a portion of genius; lift up thy head." Yes, and when thou seest a Christian — a soul saved from hell, and being saved from sin — thou seest a manifestation of the love of God. Lift up thy soul in praise.

(J. M. Gibbon.)

I. GOD LOVES MAN. Why, with a little child speaking of his mother's love, sometimes they fail; how much more when we speak of God's love! I saw a little child the other day clasp its arms round its mother's neck, and say, "Mother, I loves 'ou, and I know 'ou loves me, but I don't know how much 'ou loves me." So the little child spoke; and if it is true in that love, how much more in the love of God, of which all human love is but a shadow, a spark!

II. GOD HAS MANIFESTED HIS LOVE. "In this was manifested the love of God." Of course God has manifested His love in ten thousand ways. Why everything in Nature, if we only see it rightly, is a manifestation of God's love. Every ray of warm sunshine is but a going out of God in love. But oh, the manifestation of God's love in nature is not enough to make us live. When some great artist manifests his skill in a work of art, begotten of his genius, it is exhibited in carpeted saloons, amid grandeur and pomp, and within tapestried walls. But when God manifested this masterpiece of grace His only-begotten Son — it was in the manger of Bethlehem, amidst the surroundings of poverty. Oh, have you believed that love? Many of you have heard about it, but it makes a vast difference when you believe it. The other day I stood by the death bed of a young man; his wife was beside it, and some friends were in the adjoining room; and I stayed there talking with them. And one earnest young man said, "Sir, can you understand why God allows such sorrow as that?" And I said, "Honestly, sir, I don't understand it; but I know that God loves us, and He knows what is best for us. Supposing I had a friend in trouble and I lent him £20,000; do you think that after I had done that I should see him starve for the want of a sixpence? Well, then, if God loves us so much that He gives His Son, let us trust Him for the rest, though we cannot understand it."

(M. Rainsford, M. A.)

"In this," it was shown, manifestly and undeniably, beyond the reach of misapprehension or comparison. It had been shown before, but how feebly, how doubtfully, compared with that strength of evidence, that display of power which attends its existence now. During that whole period which preceded the coming of our Lord, sin was thus spread over the whole of human kind; and like the fog that hangs on the surface of the earth, it intercepted those bright rays which issue externally from the great source of light in heaven. And this seems to have been the case with man previously to the dispensation of grace in the gospel. He felt the love of God in part. The love of God may be beheld in every object that we see, but they alone see this glorious attribute in its true colour, in its full development, who fix their eyes on the person of Jesus Christ, and who study the real greatness of the love of God as revealed in Him.

I. We say IT IS SHOWN IN THE NATURE OF THAT WORK WHICH HE CAME TO DO. Let us consider that work, its character, its object, in order to understand the greatness of the love which prompted it. To silence every cavil, to give an evidence of the love of God which imagination should not reach, to place it above the level of every doubt or insinuation, Christ came, not to cure our natural evils, not to teach, not to direct, though any one of these acts might well have awakened amazement; but He came to die for sinners.


1. Let us observe first, in the certainty of its accomplishment. Eternal life is purchased for us by Jesus Christ, and it is offered to all in Him, absolutely and universally. "This is the record," says St. John, "that God hath given to us eternal life; and this life is in His Son." He hath given it. He who is the truth itself hath given it, and hath given it in His Son. "He, therefore, that hath the Son hath life." He that hath the one is secure, absolutely secure of the other. Unlike other marks of love, where there is no positive connection between the pledge and the possession, between the means and the end; unlike the gift of riches, for instance, which does not ensure contentment; unlike the gift of health, which does not ensure joy; unlike these, the gift of Christ ensures eternal life.

2. Again, let us observe it in the largeness of its offers, in the multitude, the innumerable multitude of those who are included in the compass of this love of God. Who has ever come to Christ, and been excluded for want of room?

3. Think, finally, how much it exceeds in magnitude all that was ever before expected. Eternal life, a life of everlasting joy, of uninterrupted holiness and peace. Compared with this, what are the distinctions and circumstances of the world but the colours which adorn a shadow; the illusions of a dream which passes away and is gone?

(H. Raikes, M. A.)


1. God's designs of mercy could not arise from His thinking the constitution He had made with Adam as the representative of his posterity severe and unrighteous.

2. God was not moved to provide a Saviour for His creatures by any sense that His law was too strict in its demands.

3. The inability to perform his duty, which man contracted by his fall, did not render his case in the least more deserving of compassion.

4. God was not moved to this act of unmerited grace by any foreknowledge He had that mankind would receive it with thankfulness.


(R. Walker.)

Does God's love need to be proved? Yes, as all paganism shows. Gods vicious, gods careless, gods cruel, gods beautiful, there are in abundance; but where is there a god who loves? Non-Christian thinkers can now talk eloquently about God's love, and sometimes reject the gospel in the name of that love, thus kicking down the ladder by which they climbed. But it was the Cross that taught the world the love of God; and, apart from the death of Christ, men may hope that there is a heart at the centre of the universe, but they can never be sure that there is. Nature and history give but ambiguous oracles on that subject.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

John, Jude
Begotten, Clear, God's, Herein, Love, Manifest, Manifested, Revealed, Towards
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 4:9

     1511   Trinity, relationships in
     1513   Trinity, mission of
     1651   numbers, 1-2
     2218   Christ, Son of God
     2324   Christ, as Saviour
     4029   world, human beings in
     8106   assurance, nature of

1 John 4:7-9

     1436   reality

1 John 4:7-10

     8203   character
     8296   love, nature of

1 John 4:7-12

     1085   God, love of

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 4:8-10

     5762   attitudes, God to people

1 John 4:8-12

     1100   God, perfection

1 John 4:9-10

     2048   Christ, love of
     6025   sin, and God's character
     8301   love, and enemies

1 John 4:9-19

     6512   salvation, necessity and basis

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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