1 John 4:17–5:5 (NKJV)
In the previous passage, John delivered his pivotal “God is love” discussion, and encouraged believers to love one another, because love is of God. In this passage, John continues his emphasis on love and also begins to lift up the powerful victory found in faith in Jesus Christ.
17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.1 John 4:17-19
John speaks of the perfecting of love among the brethren as a way to face the day of judgment without fear and in boldness. Perfect love is a measure of one’s obedience to God and the condition of one’s soul. When love is perfected in one’s heart, then that man or woman is like God. In this world, we represent Him and carry his love to others in need. One has no fear when walking in love, for the love of God gives assurance of God’s provision and protection. Our love toward Him seals the relationship in confidence of his ever-present care. There is no fear in the presence of the Lord. Fear is torment. Those who fear have not been made perfect in love. In order to be perfected in love, one must understand that God loves him or her. When we accept that God loves us, then we can truly respond in love and be perfected (complete) in love. His love erases fear. Fear is a liar, but God is a true partner and Lord in this life we live. Be confident in His love. Be fearless in His love. Be certain that God is the only true lover of your soul.
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.1 John 4:20-21
John revisits an admonition from earlier in the epistle that men and women should love one another within the body of Christ. You cannot claim to love God and then hate your brother or sister. He abruptly calls that person a liar. The rationale John offers is that if one cannot love the brother or sister that he or she sees before him or her, then that same person cannot claim to love God that he or she has not seen. John then states the commandment given from God: “he who loves God must love his brother also.” The obvious implication here is that if one has experienced the great love of God, that love should move the individual to love others in turn. It is not possible that an individual has truly experienced the great love of God if that person’s love for others is not changed, enhanced, increased, or expanded. Don’t claim transformation if your attitude and disposition toward others is not filled with love. God does not love you in order for you to stay the same. His love always makes you better. Show it!
1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?1 John 5:1-5
John continues his discussion of love in this opening of chapter five. Whoever believes in Jesus and loves Him will also love those born of God. The evidence of loving the children of God is that we love God and follow His instructions, keeping His commandments. The love of God moves the believer to obey the commandments of God. When an individual loves God, keeping His commandments is easy, not burdensome. As a matter of fact, the love of God gives victory to those who are born of God. When one loves God and obeys His commandments, the battle with the world is won. This victory that overcomes the world is our faith. Who can overcome the world, but he or she who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? If one has the faith to be saved, then that same faith will bring victory in the battles he or she faces in this life and this world. Love God, Love one another, love souls, and have faith in God for your victory!