Title: Gospel of John [20:19]. Christ's Resurrection, part 17 (fellowship with Christ and the Father - Agape).
1JO 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
1JO 4:8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1JO 4:9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
1JO 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1JO 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1JO 4:12 No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
The invisible God has been made known on earth by His Son. Now that the Son has returned to the Father, God is made known on earth by those who through faith in His Son have become His children. They manifest God if they love one another, JOH 13:35; 17:21.
The love of God displayed in His people is the strongest apologetic that God has in this world. The gospel is displayed at its brightest in this love.
"abide" - me,nw[meno] = to remain and not depart, to dwell in a home - used of fellowship. We cannot see God, but His love in us, manifested to one another, is the token that He is in us and abiding [fellowshipping] with us.
1JO 4:13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of [out of] His Spirit.
This is a repetition of 3:24:
And the one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
This fact it is to which the Apostle calls our attention, as proving not the external fact of the sending of the Son, (v. 14), but one within ourselves, the indwelling of God in us, and our abiding in Him.
Know in verse 13 is ginosko which means to know by experience. The saint experiences the work of the HS within and so knows by experience that He is in him and abiding with him.
"has given" is in the perfect tense. The Spirit of God is in us forever. The prepositional phrase is subtle but significant.
"has given" [perfect tense] ek tou pneumatos autou = out of His Spirit. Each believer receives the entirety of the HS, and John here is referring to that which the saint experiences of the indwelling HS.
Namely, John is referring to the fruit of the Spirit, the exercise of the spiritual gift, and the manifestation of the ministry of the Spirit in the believer's life.
This fits the context far better since the indwelling Spirit may not be manifested in the believer's life if that believer doesn't abide in God.
Read verses 12 and 13 again in this light.
We have not seen God at any time, but if we love one another, God abides [fellowships] in us, and His love is matured in us, or completed in us.
By this we know that we abide [fellowship] in Him and He in us, because He has given us out of His Spirit, namely the fruit of the Spirit, the manifestation of our spiritual gift and His teaching, leading, and empowering.
Not only is God's love poured into His children's hearts through the Holy Spirit; an appreciation of God's truth has been imparted to them by the same Spirit. The Spirit of love is the Spirit of truth. The Spirit reveals the gospel to us and enables us to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the world. He communicates to us the new life which is ours as members of God's regenerate family. It is through His inward witness that we receive the power to bear our witness in turn.
Without the dedication to learn God's word and to walk in God's plan in fellowship with Him, a dedication of life, over many, many years, the believer will not see God in Him. If he knows it, it will only exist as a sort of fairy tale and not a living reality. Those who seek Him with all their heart are those who will find Him.
1JO 4:14 And we have beheld and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
As in verse one, John is referring to his own authority as against those who seceded from the church with their false gnostic teachings. He and others beheld the Son and were eye witnesses that the Son was from the Father and the Savior of the world. John was at the cross. Jesus directly addressed John at the cross. Continuing on the abiding or fellowshipping believer, he is a witness that Jesus is the Son of God. Here he means a witness to the world by confessing this publically through words and manifestations of the Spirit, as in love.
The phrase Savior of the world is in direct attack to the emperor worship of the Roman Empire. The emperor was declared a deity and the people were to acknowledge the emperor cult. This served to bind the empire, consisting of many religions, through one common religion. They didn't care what your other religion was, just as long as you participated in the emperor cult. Christians could not do this. Caesar in the cult was given the title "savior of the world" and only Christ was that. It was for this reason that Rome persecuted Christianity so vigorously.
1JO 4:15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
Homologeo is an aorist here, referring to a definite confession and in context it would refer to the entire life of the believer who states this boldly at every legitimate chance and who, through his life of manifestation of the virtues or God the fruit of the Spirit, offers much more than simply lip service. Love makes the gospel shine its brightest. The effective witness is the one who offers more than lip service. He proclaims the words of the deity of Jesus and the saving work of Jesus and he manifests the power of God in his life. Like John, who through fellowship with the Father and Son became known as the Elder for his wisdom and virtue, so the mature believer will reveal the Father and the Son in this life by means of the ministry of God the Holy Spirit who glorifies them both in a behind the scenes fashion.
This confession of the deity of Jesus Christ implies surrender and obedience also, not mere lip service. [Robertson]
Whoever publically confesses, at individual times throughout his life, that Jesus is deity, then he fellowships with God and God with him.
This is another indicator of the work of the Spirit in the life of the believer and His abiding in you and you in Him and that is the confession of the deity of Christ. By coming to faith in His deity and then desiring to witness of it to the world is only possible by means of the work of the Spirit in filling the believer. This also reveals that the cults do not have the Spirit of God, no matter how definitely they may profess that they do.
1JO 4:16 And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
Love one another, v. 12
Manifestation out of the Spirit, v. 13
Confession of Jesus as deity, v. 15
Fellowshipping with His love, v. 16
Both verbs, come to know and have believed, are in the perfect tense which speaks of a past action that continues forever. They are not on the fence. They do not walk in the sphere of God's love one day and then doubt its existence the next.
It is a permanent feature in their lives - they know His love and believe His love that is for us. It does not come and go nor wax and wane.
1JO 4:17 By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.