1 John 4:16-21
1 John 4:16 (KJB)
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.
“Have known” and “believed” are both in the perfect tense which means that the true believer has the ability to know and believe the love of God and because of salvation are able to experience the full love of God by manifesting it outwardly toward others as God did to us. Those who have the true active love in their life are definitely saved, or dwelling in God, because this type of true love is sourced in God Himself. God is the very substance of love and all that He does for His children issues from that nature. When Christians show active love to others, they are acting on the love of God which is implanted in the believer through the Holy Spirit.
1 John 4:17 (KJB)
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.
Perfect - Accomplished or brought to completion
Boldness - Confidence, assurance, or courage
One of the great results of experiencing the Love of God in our life is the assurance we have in our relationship with Him. The great assurance that the believer experiences is the fact that they will never face the Lord in the Great White Judgment Throne on the last day. Since Christ went to the cross and removed all of our sins, the believers have already been judged at Calvary and in Christ, were found not guilty, so because of this we are children of God in salvation and as the unbeliever has to face the wrath of God, we never will. (1 Th 5:9 KJV) For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, The second part of this verse teaches us that if we are in the love of God as believers, then we are conformed to His love. As God shows love for His children from Heaven, we show love to other believers on earth. Our lifestyle is in concert with God’s as we show love to others.
1 John 4:18 (KJB)
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.
Fear - Terror
Torment - Chastisement or (penal) punishment
Feareth - Become afraid or become terrified
There is no fear in the love which God instills in the believer. Whatever fear the believer had such as having to face the judgment is totally gone because love which is completed in the believer casts out all the fears. Fear causes a person to have torment and that person could chastise themselves to the point that they may not believe they are saved but perfect love casts out those types of fears and allows the believer to have a confident relationship with God. Those that continue to dwell in fear have not experienced the fullness of the love of God, even though, it is implanted in them but their fear has quashed it. If a believer has fears that someday they are going to see God and that they will face some kind of judgment, then those fears will stop them in their tracks and cause them to have a very weak Christian existence. How many Christians can live in fear and live a full Christian life? Satan likes to implant false fears in the Christians and he is successful many times because most Christians do not know what happened at Calvary. Once they realize that Christ removed all their sin from them, then they will realize they can have a confident relationship with God and those fears will be removed and replaced by love.
1 John 4:19 (KJB)
We love him, because he first loved us.
Since the fall of man into sin, man was unable to manifest any love being spiritually dead. When God saves a person, He is initiating love in that person and making them spiritually alive. When he implants the Holy Spirit in a person they are then able to love others with the love of God. God initiated love in His people and never the other way around. When we realize what God has done for the Christians, it is not hard to rally love for God. To realize that we have been saved from an eternity in Hell should cause us to love God on that note alone.
1 John 4:20 (KJB)
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?
Hateth - Detest or abhor
Here John gives another acid test for those who claim to be Christians. If a person claims to be a believer and states that they love God, who is invisible but yet harbor a seething hatred for another believer, who is visible, is a liar concerning their spiritual condition. Anyone can claim to be a Christian because words are plentiful and persuasive but it is actions that we see which betray their verbal confessions. This verse is also teaching us that we must make judgments or how else would we be able to discern the salvation condition of one in question. John here is not stating that if two believers disagree with each other on some issue that they are unsaved. He is teaching here that a person who has a continual seething hatred for someone is giving evidence that they were never saved. It is important for Christians to make judgments in matters like this because you do not want to place a person like that in any type of leadership position. It behooves Christians to judge so they can keep their churches pure as they can and so they will not be influenced by “unbelieving believers” AKA unsaved.
1 John 4:21 (KJB)
And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
(John 13:34 KJV) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. The divine commandment is that as we love God, we are also to love our brethren. It is all part of the all encompassing love of God. God implants in us His love and that love allows us to overlook the imperfections of others just as they overlook our imperfections. As we obey the commandment to love our brethren, it soon begins to turn from a commandment into an inward desire and then loving the brethren becomes easier.