Pastor David B. Curtis


Media #998 MP3 Audio File Video File

If You Don’t Love, You Don’t Know God

(1 John 4:7-10)

Delivered 02/09/20

We’re continuing our study in 1 John this morning. We are looking at the fourth chapter and verses 7 thru 10. Since both 1 John 4:7 and 4:11 begin with John addressing the readers as "beloved," it appears that 4:7-10 is a unit with 4:11 marking the beginning of another unit.

In 4:1–6, John gave a criterion that his readers could use to "test the spirits."  He now returns to the theme of loving one another. John has already emphasized the importance of love (2:7-11).

Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 1 John 2:10 ESV

Then he hit it again in 3:11-18:

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 1 John 3:11 ESV

In the text we are considering now, John not only repeats the imperative to love one another (4:7-5:4), but he hits it harder than at any other point in the book. John has been cycling through themes in this book, and now he goes over the theme of love again--this time in greater detail. Every time he revisits a theme, he adds a little bit more detail to it.

John’s connection between what he wrote in 4:1-6 about testing the spirits and his change in subject to love in 4:7ff stems from his teaching in 3:23:

And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Yeshua the Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 1 John 3:23 ESV

In 4:1-6, John explains the first part of that commandment, namely, the command to believe in the name of His Son, Yeshua the Christ. The first commandment (the greatest work that we can do) is to believe on Yeshua. Some of the false teachers tried to separate Yeshua from the Christ. They did not agree that Yeshua the man was the Son of God and so John tells his readers to "test the spirits." Then he turns to the second part of the commandment—the need to love one another.

It is clear to me that love here does not mean that we set aside the truth for the sake of unity. Some doctrinal differences are not essential to the gospel. In such matters, we need to love brothers who differ with us. But there are other doctrines that are so critical that believing or rejecting them is the difference between life and death. On these issues, we must never compromise truth for the sake of love. To deny the necessity of the substitutionary atonement of Christ (which John affirms in verse 10) or that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ apart from our works (Eph. 2:8-9), is to deny the gospel. To deny the trinitarian nature of Yahweh, or the deity of Christ, or His perfect humanity is to deny the gospel.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7 ESV

"Beloved"the Greek sentence begins "agapētos agapaō." It could be translated as "those who are loved, let us love." Agapētosexpresses his affection for them and introduces a matter for which he wants their special attention.

"Let us love one another"—"Let us love" is a present, active subjunctive. The active voice is used when the subject of the sentence is the agent of the action described in the verb. The Greek present tense indicates continued action—something that happens continually or repeatedly or something that is in the process of happening. The subjunctive mood states a contingency. Greek grammarians called the subjunctive mood "the mood expressive of doubt." The subjunctive naturally looks to the future for the resolution of the contingency.

When John exhorts his readers "let us love one another," he is encouraging them to allow God's love to flow through them. What does this love look like? Biblical love is a self-sacrificing commitment that shows itself in seeking the highest good of the one loved. Here is what Paul tells us about love:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV

The first thing Paul says about love is that it is patient. This is the Greek word makrothumeo. In almost every New Testament occurrence, it conveys the idea of having an infinite capacity for someone to be injured without his seeking payback. It is used with regard to people, not circumstances. It is having a long fuse. The loving person is able to be inconvenienced or taken advantage of by a person and yet not be upset or angry.

"Love is kind." This is the Greek work chresteuomai. It means "to show oneself useful, to act benevolently, to be kind or good." Kindness and goodness are so closely related that they are often used interchangeably. The verb itself speaks of activity. It involves active good will and being useful for somebody else's good. The one loving is always trying to do what is helpful to the other person even if it requires sacrifice. Kind people are easy to take; they are not harsh.

So, when John says, "Let us love one another," he is saying that we should have an infinite capacity to be injured without paying back and that we should react to injury by doing kind deeds to the person who has caused the injury. Believers, this kind of love will only happen when we allow God's love to flow through us. Notice what he says next:

"For love is from God"—The word "for" here is hoti. It gives the reason why the readers, as believers, ought to love one another. It is because love comes from God. John wants us to know that whenever we see genuine biblical love, it did not originate with the person. It came from God. He is the only source of love in the world. When people look at your life, do they see a love that can only be explained by the supernatural work of God? The early church father, Clement of Alexandria, said "The Christian practices being God." How does John say this?

whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:6 ESV

The Christian practices being God by abiding in Christ. Abiding is the key to loving.

          "And whoever loves has been born of God and knows God"—What John is saying here is that when we see someone who truly loves, we can know two things about him: (1) He has been born of God and (2) He knows God. Please notice that John treats these concepts as two different things. Let’s break them down.

"Has been born of God"—The verb gennaō (born) in this context means to be fathered by God and thus to be a child of God. The imagery the author uses is that of the male parent who fathers children. The expression "born of God" is best explained by reference to the Fourth Gospel. John 1:12–13 emphasizes that people become children of God, not by natural birth, but by being born of God. In John 3, Yeshua tells Nicodemus that he must be born "from above." This is equivalent to being "born of the Spirit." Being born of God, then, is quite distinct from natural human procreation. It is brought about by God through his Spirit and in conjunction with faith in Christ on the part of those concerned.

So, can a non-Christian love? Well, he can certainly have great affection and do things that are self-sacrificial. But divine love belongs to the born again, to those that have been regenerated by the Lord God.

John is telling us that everyone who loves is giving evidence that they have been born of God. Do you agree with that? Could we, therefore, say that someone who is not loving is not born of God? No. The text does not say this. As already noted, John is saying here is that when we see someone who truly loves, we can know two things about him: (1) He has been born of God and (2) He knows God. Let’s look at this second concept.

"And knows God"—There are several different words in the ancient Greek language that are translated into English as "know." This specific word for "knows" (ginosko) is the word for a knowledge by experience. John is saying that when we really experience God or we abide in Him, it will show by our love for one another. The term "know" reflects the Hebrew sense of ongoing, intimate fellowship.

Notice what John says next:

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8 ESV

In their historical context, the statements about those who do not love are probably directed to the secessionists. Although these people undoubtedly purported to know God, John sees such a claim impossible to support. For how can one who lacks love for God's children be said to know the God who is love?

"Anyone who does not love does not know God"What is this not saying? This is NOT saying that "anyone who does not love is not born of God." We saw in the previous verse that when we see someone who truly loves we can know that he has been born of God and that he knows God. But if someone does not love, John says that only one of those things can be determined about him. He does not know God.

Commenting on this verse Stephen Cole writes, "Some find significance in the fact that John does not repeat the phrase ‘is born of God’ in the negative statement, but I do not. All that are born of God know God." If this is true why did John add, "And knows God" to verse 7?

Commenting on verse 8, Hall Harris writes, "In contrast, the person who does not love does not know God, and thus is not really a genuine believer, no matter what he or she might claim." So, John is making the absence of love a proof of not abiding but these commentators are making it a proof of not being saved. This is a huge difference.

According to this epistle, absence of love shows that a person does not have intimate fellowship with ("know") God. It does not show that he was never born of God. Let’s back up a bit and look at this word "know."

Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 1 John 2:4 ESV

Since all the commandments are summed up in love, John can say, "He who does not love does not know God." Not loving is a sure sign that you do not know God.

John uses "know" in its Hebrew sense of personal relationship. Knowing God involves fellowship with Him (1:4), walking in His light (1:7), being "in Him," abiding in Him. (2:5-6). All of these are parallel versions of a single claim to be in an intimate relationship with God. To "abide in Him" means exactly the same thing as "knowing Him." It is the same as our saying that we have "fellowship with Him." They are all one and the same experience. Having fellowship with Him, knowing Him, and abiding in Him are all synonyms for having a close, intimate relationship with Him. John uses "know" here as a synonym for fellowship. For John, loving obedience is a natural result of fellowship with God. He is talking about our communion here and not our union. Our union is permanent and unchangeable; our communion can fluctuate.

I see abiding (i.e. being in an intimate relationship with Christ), as a conditional relationship that can be interrupted or terminated after it has begun. All Christians are called to abide and to walk as he walked. At times we abide in Christ and we do not sin. But at other times we do not abide and we sin. Because God is light, those who abide in Him walk in His light (1:5, 7). Because God is righteous, those who abide in Him practice righteousness (2:29). "God is love," and those who abide in Him manifest His loving character.

We saw earlier in this epistle that as believers we are commanded to abide in Christ:

And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 1 John 2:28 ESV

The "little children" here are believers. These believers are told to "abide in him." I see abiding as something that every believer is supposed to do but something that most do not do. Abiding is a call to discipleship. It is to be a follower of Yeshua. It is to live in fellowship with Yahweh. We abide in Him by spending time in the Word, by obeying His commands, by living as Christ lived, and by loving our brothers and sisters. Abiding in Him is the same thing as what is called in other places "walking in the Spirit" or having "fellowship with Christ." It is what Jude calls "keeping yourselves in the love of God."

This can only happen if the Word of Christ dwells in us and we keep His commandments. As long as we know the Word and also obey the Word, we will abide in Christ and bear much fruit. We will also experience His joy.

The point that John is making here (1 John 4:8) is that the absence of love for one another is evidence that a person does not know God; he is not abiding. Because God is love, there can be no real knowledge of God on the part of believers if love is not expressed for their fellow believers.

If loving others is a natural result of being born again, why does John command the believer to love in verse 7? "Beloved, let us love one another!"

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7 ESV

Why command a believer to love when he can’t help but love if he has been born of God? Listen believers. It is not the new birth that guarantees that a person will be loving; it is abiding in Christ that guarantees that a person will be loving. And that is why John says:

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8 ESV

From this we must infer that knowing God necessarily results in being a loving person. If a believer is not loving, it is because he is not abiding in Christ. He is not in fellowship with Yahweh.

"Because God is love"When we say God is love, we are not saying everything about God. The Bible also tells us that God is Spirit (John 4:24), God is light (1 John 1:5), and that God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). John is telling us that love is an essential aspect of His character, and it colors every aspect of His nature. But it does not eliminate His holiness, His righteousness, or His perfect justice. Instead, we know the holiness of God is loving, and the righteousness of God is loving, and the justice of God is loving. Everything God does, in one way or another, expresses His love.

Look at Yeshua’s prayer in John 17:

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. John 17:24 ESV

Yahweh the Father has loved Yahweh the Son from eternity past. God is love because the relationship between God the Father and God the Son is a relationship of love. Look at what Yeshua says in John 17:

I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them." John 17:26 ESV

"That the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them"—This is a purpose clause. Yeshua made known the name of Yahweh "so that the love with which You loved Me may be"—"in them, and I in them." What Yeshua is saying is that when one comes to know God personally and abides in Him, he is drawn into the fellowship of the Trinity. This is staggering. Yeshua prays that the love with which the Father has loved the Son might be in us. In other words, to know God is to love the Son of God with the very love of his Father.

"God is love"The word "God" is preceded by an article, which means that from a grammatical standpoint this is not a proposition in which subject and predicate nominative are interchangeable. In other words, "God is love" does not equal "love is God."

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 1 John 4:9 ESV

"In this the love of God was made manifest among us""manifest" is the Greek word phaneroō. It means "to render apparent (literally or figuratively): - to appear." God’s love is clearly seen in that:

"God sent his only Son into the world"—This is a perfect active indicative; the incarnation and its results remain! This shows us what love is and what it means. Love is not only defined by the sacrifice of Yeshua; it is also defined by the giving of the Father. It was a sacrifice for the Father to send the Second Person of the Trinity and to pour out the judgment we deserved upon Yahweh the Son.

Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Isaiah 53:10 ESV

It was the Father's intention from the beginning that the promise to Abraham that all nations would be blessed (Genesis 12:3) would be fulfilled through the death of His Son.Once our iniquity had fallen upon Yeshua, the justice of God demanded that He bear the full weight of divine judgment against sinners. The language of the whole Bible in regard to sacrifices and particularly in regard to Christ's death is that it is substitutionary. The animals that were offered sacrificially upon the altar in ancient Israel's temple had no sin of their own. They were substitutes that pointed to the only sufficient Substitute, Yeshua. It was necessary for a sacrifice to bear the judgment of God's justice so that He might be just in giving life to the sinner.

"God sent his only Son into the world"—is the same as what John said in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son." Notice that in both places that John says it was "His only Son."  Some translations render this as "only begotten Son." The words "only" and "only begotten" are from the Greek word monogenes. The use of the word "only" is important because it is only used 5 times in the New Testament of Christ as the Son of God. Furthermore, it is used this way only in the writings of John (John 1:14; 1:18; 3:16; 3:18; and 1 John 4:9).

Now let me ask you something. How can Yeshua be the "only" Son when "sons of God" is used of others in the Bible? If you remember back to our study of Genesis 6:1-4, I said that "sons of God" is used there of watchers, members of the Divine Counsel.

When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Genesis 6:1-2 ESV

This is the first use of "sons of God" in the Bible. It is also used in verse 4 and in Deuteronomy 32 and in Job.

"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Job 38:4-7 ESV

Here "morning stars" and "sons of God" are names of divine beings who are members of the divine council. Daniel calls them watchers. So, before the creation of the earth and man, Yahweh and the "sons of God" made up the divine council. Not only the Watchers were called "sons of God" but Adam, when he was created, has also been classified as "a son of God." All of the saints of both the Old and New Covenant (but more obviously in the New) are viewed as sons and daughters of God. This is clearly seen in John 3:1. Speaking of the love which the Father has bestowed on us, John writes "that was should be called the sons of God."

If there are many "sons of God, why, then, does John say five times that Yeshua is the "only son"? How could Yeshua be the only divine son when there were other sons of God? The answer to this is that "only begotten" used in many translations is an unfortunately confusing translation, especially to modern ears. Not only does the translation "only begotten" seem to contradict the obvious statements in the Tanakh about other sons of God, it implies that there was a time when the Son did not exist—that He had a beginning.

The word monogenes does not mean "only begotten" in some sort of "birthing" sense. The confusion extends from an old misunderstanding of the root of the Greek word. For years, the word monogenes was thought to have derived from two Greek terms, monos ("only") and gennao ("to beget, bear"). Greek scholars later discovered that the second part of the word monogenes does not come from the Greek verb gennao but rather from the noun genos ("class, kind"). The term literally means: "one of a kind" or "unique" without connotation of created origin. (See The Unseen Realm, Michael S. Heiser, chapter 4)

The word in Greek was used of an only child:

As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. Luke 7:12 ESV

In this context, the word "only" is monogenes. Additionally, Luke uses monogenes of an only son in Luke 9:28 and of an only daughter in Luke 8:42. The writer of Hebrews uses this same word in reference to Isaac:

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, Hebrews 11:17 ESV

Isaac is called Abraham's monogenes. If you know the story, you know that Isaac was not the "only" son of Abraham. Abraham already had a son, Ishmael, by Hagar. Later on, after this event, he had other sons, but Isaac is called by the writer of Hebrews "Abraham's only son." It is clear that Isaac was unique. He was unique in his birth because it was miraculous, and he was unique in his relationship to Abraham as his father. None of the other sons had the promises that Isaac had. Isaac's genealogical line would be the one through which Messiah would come.

Now when we look at the Watchers, and we look at Adam, we see that these are the sons of God by creation. When we look at ourselves as the saints in the New Testament era, we recognize that we are sons and daughters of God through redemption and by adoption. But Yeshua is the only begotten Son of God. He is begotten not created. There is a big difference!

You see, Yeshua is not just a man like the false teachers were saying. According  to them, He was born naturally into the world at Bethlehem. However, because he honored God, he became something akin to a "Son of God" during His baptism in the Jordan when the Holy Spirit came down upon Him (the "Christ Spirit"). But according to the written word of God, Yeshua is God's Son in a unique (ontological) sense. Believers are God's children only in a derived sense. Just as Yahweh is an elohim, but no other elohim are Yahweh, so Yeshua is the unique Son, and no other sons of God are like Him.

So monogenes means the following: "one kind, unique or only" (i.e., the only one of its kind). There is no other Son of God who is a Son of God in the same way that Yeshua is the Son of God. Only this one. All other sons of God referred to in the Scripture are either created or adopted.

"So that we might live through him"—This is a purpose clause, God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him." Believers, we can only have life through Him. We were all spiritual dead. Those who have not been born again remain spiritually dead. They can be alive to the physical world. They can read the newspapers, have friends, and go to work. But they are spiritually dead because they have no relationship with God.

How do we live through Him? This is an aorist active subjunctive which implies a contingency—a faith response is necessary. We must believe in Yeshua. Life is always identified with, or said to be found in, Yeshua. In the Fourth Gospel, Yeshua gives the following definition:

And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Yeshua the Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3 ESV

John may be using "live" here (1 John 4:9) not just of eternal life but also to refer to the fullness of life now as Christ did in John 10.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10 ESV

I believe that the abundant life is available to all believers. It's available, but I don't think all believers enjoy abundant life. Within Christianity, everyone has life, but there are few that have abundant life.

There may be two people who are alive, but one may be very sick. They both have life, but one does not have abundant life. Or we may think of an individual who is healthy and another individual who has life and health, but for some reason or other he may be in prison, and he doesn't have liberty. Both have life, both have health, but one does not have the same freedom that the other has. There is a great deal of difference in the experience of life.

Now that which is true in the physical life is true in the spiritual life. Every individual who has believed in the Lord Yeshua has spiritual life, but not many have an abundant spiritual life. Why? If the abundant life is available to all, why don't all have it? I think it has to do with abiding in Christ. The abundant life is only available to those who abide. Let me just say that the abundant life has nothing to do with material things. It is about joy and peace and contentment that come from walking in fellowship with Christ. "Living through Him" is a great way to define the Christian life.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10 ESV

"In this is love"—Verse 9 began: "In this the love of God was made manifest." This stresses the way in which God’s love was revealed. Here we have that in which this love consisted. Here loves basic character is discussed. He is declaring what love is really all about. It is displayed toward those who don’t love you. This is how God loves, and this is how we are to love.

"Not that we have loved God but that he loved us"—God’s love was not a response to ours. Christianity is unique among the world religions. Typically, religion is mankind seeking God, but Christianity is God seeking fallen mankind! The wonderful truth is that God loves us. He has sought us through our sin and rebellion and pride. The glorious truth of Christianity is that God loves fallen man and has initiated and maintained a life-giving relationship.

God's motivation for sending His Son to die for us was not in response to our love; it was in response to nothing, absolutely nothing! In fact, it was a response in spite of our hatred and our rebellion in the face of the holy God.

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 ESV

John goes on to say, "And sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins"—

Yahweh did not send a Watcher or an angel or a man. He sent His only Son. His love could not just brush aside our sin because His holiness and justice would have been compromised. Rather, His love moved God to send His own Son who bore the penalty that we rightly deserved.

Let's talk about Propitiation. John uses this word twice in this epistle. Can anyone give me a definition of this word? "Propitiation" is one of those theological words that you probably do not hear too often in everyday conversation. But it is also a word that is well worth the work needed to understand it because, in truth, all of us are working on some sort of plan for propitiation. The big question is whether our plan is a Christian one.

To understand propitiation is to understand the Gospel. Without its reality, there is no Gospel. The Greek word used here is hilasmos which means "the removal of wrath by the offering of a sacrifice." It is the turning of God's wrath away from the sinner by a sacrifice made to satisfy God. Propitiation is an ancient word which Christianity has in common with other world religions. To propitiate a god is to offer a sacrifice that turns aside the god's wrath.

Some critics say that propitiation is a pagan notion. Hilasmos and its cognate hilasterion, in their classical form, were used of the act of appeasing the Greek gods by a sacrifice. Prince Paris had carried off Princess Helen to Troy. The Greek expeditionary force had taken ships to recover her but was held up half-way by persistent contrary winds. Agamemnon, the Greek general, sent home for his daughter and ceremonially slaughtered her as a sacrifice to mollify the evidently hostile gods. The move paid off because the west winds blew again, and the fleet reached Troy without further difficulty.

This bit of the Trojan War legend, which dates from about 1000 B.C., mirrors an idea of propitiation which characterizes pagan religions all over the world and in every age. The people would take a present to their god and try to bribe him. They would try to turn the god's favor toward them by a sacrifice.

In this pagan concept of propitiation, the gods need to be propitiated simply because they are grumpy and capricious. They don't care much about humans except when something makes them angry. Then they smite! And it's up to humans to get busy doing the propitiating in order to make up for whatever they have done that has angered the gods. In such scenarios, the humans find something that the gods like (sweets, or meat, or pain, or blood), and offer it as a bribe to calm them down.

Because of the negative connotations of turning away a god’s wrath by sacrifice, some scholars (C. H. Dodd) argue that the word propitiation does not focus on God's wrath at all but rather concentrates on man's sins. They, therefore, translate the word hilasmos as "expiation" which means "to blot out the guilt of our sins by making atonement."

These interpreters want God to be love, love, love and nothing else. They are offended that any would consider God to be a God of anger or that people would in any way portray the God of the Bible in such a way as to make Him resemble the gods of the pagans (i.e. capricious, angry, evil deities) who have to be appeased, who have to be placated by sacrifices—even human sacrifices.

What we have to understand is that every aspect of biblical propitiation contrasts with the pagan kind. God requires propitiation but not because He's moody or easily provoked. His wrath needs to be appeased because He is holy and just. His "wrath is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness" (Romans 1:18).

He responds to sin with absolute consistency.

In biblical propitiation, it is not humans on their own initiative figuring out what God requires but is rather God Himself declaring what kind of sacrifice He accepts and then providing it. Christ, and Christ alone, is our propitiation. That is, out of love for the glory of God, He absorbs the wrath of God that was rightfully ours. John Stott, a British Anglican clergyman, excellently summarizes biblical propitiation in this way: "God Himself gave Himself to save us from Himself" (The Message of Romans, 115).

It is important that we understand what biblical propitiation is so that we can make sure our plan of salvation is the biblical one rather than one of our own devising. In daily life, there is a constant temptation for us to ignore Christ as our God-given propitiation and to seek other ways of cutting little deals with God in order to earn His favor and appease His wrath. We too often seek to give Him something He will like so that He will at the very least refrain from smiting us but also with the hope that He might even reward us with various blessings. But such attempts are futile because apart from Christ, there is no propitiation. There is only wrath.

In summary, the God who is love poured out His wrath on His only Son so that He could love us who were His enemies. "In this is love." Our love is like God’s when we love those who are not loving us. Contrary to finding a contrast between love and wrath, John shows us that he can’t describe the love of God without using the word propitiation. God so loved that He gave. God’s love involved great sacrifice.

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