Because God. There is always an inclination to love those who we believe love us. "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". There are few of us who know much of the deeps of the love of God; our love is shallow. But the words look forward to the next verse, and that again looks back to the first of the three points in 1 John 4:12, which has been in suspense during the interim. All love in the heart is a creation; and whom God loves, in them He creates love to Him. He was the first to love us: this thought ought to create in us love casting out fear (1 John 4:18). ], The Holy Spirit cries in us with a loud voice and without words, “Love the love which loves you everlastingly.” His crying is an inward contact with our spirit. Far be it from me to deny the exceptional value of such men; but their value is the value of protest and exception. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. 1871-8. 1 John 4:19. Spurgeon (C. H.), Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, xvii. j) That it is God abiding within us in His love which results in our confessing Jesus to be the Son of God (1 John 4:15). 1832. Revelation 5:8-14. Gregory (J. R.), Scripture Truths made Simple, 64. 19We love him The verb ἀγαπῶμεν may be either in the indicative or imperative mood; but the former is the more suitable here, for the Apostle, as I think, repeats the preceding sentence, that as God has anticipated us by his free love, we ought to return to render love to him, for he immediately infers that he ought to be loved in men, or that the love we have for him ought to be manifested towards men. The source and spring of true love to God. You are anxious to show them something in return, and please them; if the thought were not absurd, you would like to help them. He loves you and desires your love. I know it and reveal it to you. And, first, in the works of creation around us, God has manifested Himself as the loving Creator. 1299; Ibid., Morning by Morning, p. 163; H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. – Romans 5:8. Do we love Him? Most Commentators supply αὐτόν or ἀλλήλους, but unnecessarily. BibliographyNicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. We next become conscious of the things that have before haunted us, the vague thoughts that have entered into our minds, the unfulfilled desires that were ever eluding our grasps, and the ideals which have floated before our imaginations; and we see for the first time what before we had only imagined--the perfect shape of heavenly and spiritual beauty. It is not their slave, but their child. In religion there is a creed. But you say to your friend, your child, “God loves you,” say it in every language of yours, in every vernacular of his, which you can command, and his love is taken by surprise, and he wakes to the knowledge that he does love God without a resolution that he will. Ii must come by a genesis, not by spontaneous generation. He said,—“But you do believe in the love of those around you, now that Jesus sends it to you?” With what seemed the last effort of life, she raised herself,—clasped her arms round the neck of the sister who was attending to her,—and kissing her answered,—“Yes, it is love.” The last struggle followed almost immediately and we heard her say, “Jesus, save me,”—the words he had entreated her to use. Note πρωτος — prōtos (nominative), not πρωτον — prōton as in John 20:4, John 20:8. ], It was early in his career that he happened one day to be alone for a few minutes with a young lady, who afterwards became the wife and active helpmate of a devoted minister of Christ in Edinburgh. It makes the clown gentle and the coward brave. There were three things for which he evidently had an intense love: the Truth, Nature, Home. First, by moral cause and effect. I am sorry to be obliged here to differ from the best modern Commentators, Lücke, De Wette, Düsterdieck, Huther, as well as from Episcop., Grot., Luther, Calov., Spener, al., and the Commentators on the vulgate, in holding firmly that ἀγαπῶμεν is indicative, not imperative (i. e. hortative). Even a small child will get accustomed to a terror. Hence we arrive at the fourth reason of mutual love in a believer's heart. "Commentary on 1 John 4:19". Faith is love--leaning. 1. To keep himself in the love of God is a habit, with the maintenance of which the will of man has most essentially to do, because it is at his will that he keeps himself in the thought of God’s love towards him. Do not praise him too much. Why did God love fallen and sinful men? You have admired them very much and perhaps learnt from them. So shall crown Thee the topmost, ineffablest, uttermost crown—, And Thy love fill infinitude wholly, nor leave up nor down, One spot for the creature to stand in!2 [Note: Henry Jones, Browning as a Philosophical and Religious Teacher, ch. It was unalloyed bliss. Our intellect grows with nourishment, but the nourishment must be given from without. And having the capacity within us, which we must admit to be the highest of all our capacities, when we consider the object on which it may be exercised, we are never quite at ease till it has fastened itself on its proper object. Charles Schribner's Sons. Love to God includes or springs from a thankful sense of His benefits. Love is patient, love is kind. Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. It’s fundamental to our faith as Christians. We must still feel that we begin with that first stepping stone, loving Christ because of His mercies, and that although we have climbed higher and have come to love Him with a love that is superior to that in motive, yet still we carry the old motive with us. A bold assertion this; but does not our experience prove that it is a true one? We are commanded to love our brother man. Answer: The Bible says that “love is of God” and “God is love” (1 John 4:7–8); in other words, love is a fundamental characteristic of who God is. It is by a combat with the most urgent propensities of nature that I am ever looking beyond this surrounding materialism and setting God and His love before me all the day long. God does not save us in the dark. It is that we may learn some of His truth. And the reflection of God's love to the soul is that soul's love—first to God, then to the Church, and then to every creature. Contrast fear and love.—Fear in its way is a very wholesome feeling. But Damon was hindered, and could not return at the time he intended. It is a necessity: the love of God has shone there, and it must reflect itself. Copyright StatementThese files are public domain. And if we know even a little of Him or of ourselves—His greatness and our littleness, His glory and our poor estate, His holiness and our sinfulness—we have ample ground for doubting the fact. But men are not all drawn to Christ by light; they are sometimes driven from Him by it. Do we hope? 3. This is a great comfort to us, because, being uncreated, it is unchangeable. 1. 327. In every feature of it we recognise an advantage to ourselves. The love of God is the fountain of our love to each other. It is His love for us that has brought this truth home to our hearts (1 John 4:13). We love Him because His love is unchangeable. e) That He revealed His love by sending His Son to be the propitiation for our sins, that is, to be the means of turning away from us God’s aversion to and hatred of sin (1 John 4:10). Spurgeon.). There must be a taking away of the rock and a supernatural change of the barren ground into good soil, and then, as a rare plant from another land, love must be planted in our hearts and sustained by power divine or else it will never be found there. BibliographyJamieson, Robert, D.D. Do we fear? How shall he overtake this love which has so much the start of him? If our light shines before men, if they see any good works in us, let them glorify not us, but our Father which is in heaven, the Sun of all our day, from whom every good and perfect gift descends. Boldness - `confidence' [ parreesian (Greek #3954)]: parallel to 1 John 3:21; opposite to "fear," 1 John 4:18. “Everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” In the eighth verse we are told also that love to God is a mark of our knowing God. Consider that God, and He alone, can be a suitable and satisfying portion to your souls. Him. But this is the revelation which He has actually vouchsafed to give us in His Son Jesus Christ. We also see, if we turn again to St. John’s Epistle and pursue his observations to the next chapter and the third verse, that love is the spring of true obedience. Yet, again I say, that whether we “rejoice or tremble,” extremes must be avoided: for we never can have such ground for joy, but that we have reason for trembling; or such ground for trembling, but that we have reason to rejoice. But when once we have got to love God there is tranquillity. It is no accident that there are but foregleams of this great thought brightening the words and the thoughts of psalmist and prophet, saint and sage, from the beginning onwards, while the articulate utterance of the simple sentence was first heard from the lips of Him who declared the Father, and stands in that part of the Book which, both in its position there, and in its date of composition is the last of the Apostolic utterances. So is the believers’ love to God. (C. H. But also we can make Him glad, can help Him, make it easier for Him to do His work, His never-ceasing work of saving the world, and bring a fresh note of joy even among the angels in heaven. The Christian faith is the sum and flower of the religious life of man. Howatt (J. R.), The Children’s Angel, 14. Now, if we turn from the manner of the revelation of Himself which God has made in Christ Jesus to the matter of it, we find that it conveys to us precisely that which we most need to know. So do not think about yourselves and your own loveless hearts so much, but think about God, and the infinite welling up of love in His heart to you, a great deal more. 3. I believe that, too, whether it is nurtured or not. Further, the chapter teaches us that love to God is the root of love to others (1 John 4:11). The statement is general, relating to the entire operation of the principle of love. ’Tis Thou, God, that givest, ’tis I who receive: In the first is the last, in Thy will is my power to believe. I will not say that they do not sometimes give cause to doubt their love. They grant that it were man’s happiness to love God if he could, and that to love Him he must know Him; but who, they ask, can know the Unknowable? BibliographyBeza, Theodore. 2. We love Him because He first loved us.—I often wonder why it was not made a question, or rather why a mark of interrogation was not put after ‘we love Him.’ Do we love Him? The tenderness of our mother, our father’s protecting pride, the warmhearted affections of the companions of our youth, bodily beauty, nobleness of life, sanctity of soul--all these draw the heart out of us, and teach us what it is to love. Not only have we indications of God’s love around us in this creation, but we can rise higher as we come to the realm of mind. On what, then, does love feed? ii., p. 414. If we are really living nigh to God, in the enjoyment of his presence and in the performance of his will, our hope may grow to assurance, yea, and to “a full assurance.” On the other hand, if we are far from God in secret, and harbouring any lust in our bosom, our fear ought to preponderate, and to be within us a friendly and faithful monitor. 1 John 4:19 Context. 1 John 4:19. The work of love. Why, how the children loved Jesus! The more we can know of Him, not only do we love Him better, as we love our friends, but there is no drawback to that love. 1863-1878. The Divine love causative of the human. "Family Bible New Testament". 1 John 4:19. ἡμεῖς ἀγαπῶμεν] According to this reading (omit αὐτόν), ἀγαπᾷν is here to be taken in the same comprehensive way as ἀγάπη in 1 John 4:16 (Düsterdieck, Myrberg,(284) Ebrard), and must not be restricted to “brotherly love” (Lücke). Artificial flowers are very like real ones; gilt is very like gold; and paste is made to look like gems. There is some duty which God has made ready for you to do tomorrow; nay, today! His father--why his father kicked him when he came across him, and swore at him as a nuisance! hēmeis agapōmenare not in the indicative, but in the subjunctive; and that this is an exhortation - “let us love him, because he first loved us.” So the Syriac, the Arabic, and the Vulgate read it; and so it is understood by Benson, Grotius, and Bloomfield. Dodd, pp122-23. We all know we should love. ‘The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.’ ‘Herein is our life made perfect, that we may have boldness in the great day of judgment.’ He faces death, the great unknown, but is not afraid because he knows of the love of God. I thankfully recognise the diversities. This is what makes his service eager and enthusiastic. BibliographyBengel, Johann Albrecht. 3. Why should he not? ‘He first loved us.’ Properly and strictly speaking, that ‘first’ only declares the priority of the divine love towards us over ours towards Him. You don’t have to say their name out loud. makes ἀγαπῶμεν let us love, diligamus: not we love. ], One night she was sent for by a poor man who was much attached to her, and who was dying of what she called “black-pox,” a violent form of small-pox. The principles of the text apply to every individual who is saved, as well as to the scheme of redemption by which he is saved. ), Perfect in Christ Jesus, 104. His mother sent him out to beg as soon as he could stand. With Jesus it was always, “God loves you.” He went about saying that from house to house, from man to man. Everything God does is impelled and influenced by His love. Birch. Love to God includes earnest desires after His grace and favour, communion with Him, and the enjoyment of Him. https: I love goods, because they enable me to succour the needy. As certainly as you have the life and nature of God in you you will seek after the Lord. https: Love is the mother-tincture, so to speak, which you can colour, and to which you can add in various ways, and produce variously tinted and tasted and perfumed commixtures. Do you believe it still lives? And now see how all this truth comes to the full display of its richness in the Christian faith. https: If you’re really going to love people this aspect … It grows with its growth, it strengthens with its strength; and were there no depravity, no stains on human nature, that love would grow up in all its beauty, strengthening from year to year. It is so wonderful a thing that the great God should indeed love a poor miserable sinner that whenever it is really brought home to the heart and conscience it awakens heavenly affections. The poor and the ignorant do not feel them. Are we curious and inquiring? BibliographyEllicott, Charles John. I think you can, and in this article, I want to share with you who we’re commanded to love, how we’re called to love, and five ways to love because he first loved us: You cannot have a conversation about love without first defining who we need to love. Lust is self-centered and destructive. The true, the original ground of love to God, is the “excellence of His own character,” apart from the question whether we are to be benefited or not. He discovers or slowly realizes that some one better, purer, nobler than himself cares for him, believes in him, loves him; and the discovery makes him ashamed of his unworthiness and ingratitude: it gives him a new hope, a higher standard for life. The Old Vulgate here is trebly wrong: nos ergo diligamus invicem, the New has Deum; Augustine omits both,—Nos diligamus. As the sun holds our planet in the strong grasp of its attraction, while the earth by its own very weak gravitation is also held in its place, so does the consciousness of God’s great love grasp and sustain my soul and my life; and then my own weak and feeble love to Him (itself the “first-fruits of the Spirit”) serves to “bind my wandering heart” to Him. II. I. 1879-90. There are the more spiritual and moral thoughts of Wisdom and Righteousness and the like. When all creation is reconciled it will be through the reconciliation of love. Therefore fear is cast out. The indispensable necessity of love to God in the heart. The priority of the Divine love to the human. What does 1 John 4:19 mean? Some render let us love, as 1 John 4:7. I. (C. Clemance, D. D.), Every Christian grace is some form or other of love. Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. He first loved us—And thus our firm and fearless love has a firm and assuring base, his antecedent love. If it had been set upon us because of some goodness in us, then when the goodness was diminished the love would diminish too. Thus through His love we know and believe it, and know that He abides in us and we in Him (1 John 4:16). And has not this knowledge made things easy which before were hard, and enabled you to do and bear a great deal more? You went to Christ as a sinner at first, and your first act was to believe the love of God to you when there was nothing in you that: evidenced it. 2. BibliographyWhedon, Daniel. And sure I am that the history of non-Christian attempts to promote the brotherhood of man, and to diffuse a wide and operative love of mankind, teaches us, on the one side, that the emotion is not strong enough to last, and to work, unless it is based on God’s love in Jesus Christ. Verse Thoughts. And then could He call us up while the great mass of us are all the time disposed to look downward! The wood loves the fire because the fire first loved it. 4. And although it may be absent in one case or another, we cannot use the word “love,” except metaphorically, in any field which does not admit of its possible reciprocation. We have to help God to give Him presents. It needs, therefore, a very real effort to bear constantly in mind the fact that we are creatures, and that our nearest relation is our Creator. None can doubt that they were most hateful to God. https: God is first.—Unless God had been first, we—our whole human race in general and each of us in particular—never would have been at all. It is by the strenuousness of a voluntary act that I connect the idea of an unseen benefactor with all the blessings of my present lot and all the anticipations of my futurity. Here we have the ultimate word as to our religion. 5. It awakens within us an answering love—a grateful love for Him manifesting itself in love for our brethren ( cf. That what the sun sends down is energy, not instruction how or where to get it, but energy, life, direct and simple. With God’s priority in loving us Bede compares Christ’s priority in choosing His disciples (John 15:16). I. 6. Then let me say, too, that if we love Him, it will be the motive power and spring of all manner of obediences and glad services. Here’s the good news, you have the Holy Spirit. Religion is not inherent. 1974. or did you form them in your own heart? Behold in Me, so far as human eyes can see, the character of God. 1 John 4:9-10. It is a sharing love. II. Then Dionysius the tyrant visited Pythias in prison, and said to him, “How foolish you were ever to think that your friend would come back again to die.” But he replied, “I would rather suffer a thousand deaths than his word and honour should fail. Remember Jesus laid down his divinity and his life because he was thinking of you and not himself. Because God will second your efforts. https: (2)that as a matter of fact we have been brought to love him in consequence of the love which he has manifested toward us, though the real ground of our love may be the excellency of his own character. The river, as he goes on to show us, parts into two heads, and love to God and love to man are, in their essence and root-principle, one thing. I think I might say of this sentence what the poet says of prayer: it is “the simplest form of speech that infant lips can try,” and yet it is one of the “sublimest strains that reach the majesty on high.” Take a little believing child and ask her why she loves the Saviour, and she will reply at once, “Because He loved me and died for me”: then ascend to heaven where the saints are perfect in Christ Jesus and put the same question, and with united breath the whole choir of the redeemed will reply, “He hath loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” When we begin to love Christ we love Him because He first loved us; and when we grow in grace till we are capable of the very highest degree of spiritual understanding and affection, we still have no better reason for loving Him than this, “Because he first loved us.”1 [Note: C. H. “It is good for me to draw near to God,” said one psalmist; and sacred history proves that such is the conviction of all saints. 1. He looks upon the world in which he has been placed. They should be like the scales of a balance, rising or falling according to our secret walk before God. 2. The content, style, and vocabulary seem to warrant the conclusion that these three epistles were addressed to the same readers as the Gospel of John. You see, St. John is the master of the philosophy of love, and there is one question I should like to ask you. Even were this true, it would not set aside a fact of which all must be conscious in their mental constitution. ], There was one case of awful despair in a poor dying woman who refused to listen to any words of the mercy of God, saying only “too late, too late.” To her, Mr. Marriott devoted much care and many prayers. They find the real flower by its scent; test gold by acids, and the file tells them at once which is the gem and which is the worthless imitation. 278. “Behold, what manner of love,” etc. Pythias appeared much disappointed that his friend had not come a few minutes later, and said that now that he could not die for his friend he would die with him. They give it majesty; it gives them tenderness. 1 That which was from the beginning, ( A) which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, ( B) which we have looked at and our hands have touched. He fortifies himself in his pride, dwells on the fancied wrong that he has suffered by being rebuked, not on the real wrong that he has wrought by disobedience, and resolves to be self-sufficient and do without the love which seems withheld; but the aching heart is still there, the dull sense of unhappiness. 34; (1907) No. Observe, then, the practical effect of such a revelation on the mind of him who becomes concerned about his own redemption. II. Did He want a soldier, I would enlist in His army; did He need that some one should die, I would give my body to be burned if He stood by to see the sacrifice and cheer me in the flames.” Ah! "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 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. This verse is the climax of the body of this epistle. In religion there is a life. No one knows what poetry is, who has not found himself there, at the highest point of the route, on the plateau, surrounded by the peaks of the Alps in the everlasting silence that speaks of God. Take it to the Cross and bid it look and see afresh the bleeding Lamb; and surely this shall make thy love spring from a dwarf into a giant, and this shall fan it from a spark into a flame. The truth was God’s truth. Renewal 1960. And then, after that, we become conscious of something else, and that is our own unloveliness and our own imperfection. IV. 19. I admit that God controls the affairs of men by fixed moral laws, but so far men may be to Him but as pawns are in the hand of the chess player. It is a projection and extension of His being. The same Apostle, who has thus the honour of ringing out to the world the good news that God is Love, declares that ‘this is the message’ which he has to tell, that ‘God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.’ So the light of righteousness, as well as the lambent flame of love, burn together on that central fire of the universe. Every halting place along the patriarch’s line of march became at once a place of worship. Even then she waited, fancying, as she could not see him, that he might be still alive, till in the early dawn she groped her way to the door, and went to find some neighbours.2 [Note: Ibid. Fear, guilt, and shame cannot coexist alongside faith, hope, and love. Broadman Press 1932,33. That in the nature of the plant there must be a certain affinity with the sun and his rays. One of these gives us love’s expression. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? Now, by looking more closely to this affection, both in its origin and in its exercises, we shall perceive in it more clearly all the characteristics of virtue. "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". f) That because God so loved us this love should make us love one another. To take care of your responsibilities and your family. 19.] Vulg. A man can only love God when he has perceived some reasons for so doing; and the first argument for loving God which influences the intellect so as to turn the affections, is the reason mentioned in the text, “We love Him because He first loved us.” Now, having thus set the text in a negative light let us look at it in a more positive manner. We can but enumerate the things He is not, but that is far from discerning what He is. ‘Tis finely prodigal, royally extravagant, and divinely liberal. ), Twelve Cambridge Sermons, 117. 2. God’s love in Christ gave its “all” to men, and the love of God in Christian hearts gives “all” to God today. 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. “Love is not a duty, but a virtue.” That is why love can never be commanded. ), Parochial and Cathedral Sermons, 439. The marks of sin are many, but the tokens of the Divine love are many more and greater far. Open the sky to us before we loved Him before faculties are duly.. Ignore or oppose Christ ” what do you argue from that sees that face wreathed with smiles because love... Off Street So-and-so, why they were just young savages, and does not come a which! Domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is what God does: takes... 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Divine love is the revelation which he evidently had an intense love: the Book of 1 John and. Man who is soul from man and shame can not make the black coals your! Particle of His door and set you with electing love can not tell what might had... My talent in the love we have had some glimpse of the original error! In that he puts out of harmony with Him, because he first loved is! Word αγαπωμεν should be so understood in this great granary of love along the patriarch ’.. Indeed we must refer to other verses in this way that moral praise or moral may. Critical and Explanatory on the whole Bible '' Lord and master, washed our feet, we ask why. Religious life of man recognises its right why did Jesus love as had... Need is to love you back knowledge of it, therefore, apply tests which only the will not up! And therefore we may love Him, will he suffer it given from without its manifestations mad... Thought and action sin are many, but does not appeal to our mental.! Who blots out your transgressions, for instance, can not spring into existence, must... Into sweet, warm water, and does not find the sun, but thou shalt hereafter.... Us there must be careful to keep my laws the fact from.!