I John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16 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.
In verse 11 God continued to direct John to write about the importance of Biblical love. We know that God loves us. We know this because He sent His only begotten Son to suffer and die on the cross of Calvary for our sins. He died, shed His blood, was buried and rose again. The only way of salvation is through the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who are forgiven and saved receive a new nature at the moment of salvation. That new nature needs to be nourished. As we grow in the Lord we will become more Christlike. That new nature will cause us to love other saints with a pure love. There must be a difference in attitude and actions among God’s people. That is a gift from God.
In verse 12 we are reminded that no man has seen God at any time. Moses wanted to see God. God said He would not do this. God is holy, and no man is holy, and we cannot face the holiness of God in our fallen state. When we, those who are saved, are changed and enter heaven, we will see Him. The disciples and many others saw Jesus Christ. Most of the people rejected His deity. Jesus told Philip and the rest of the twelve that if they had seen Him they had seen the Father.
John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
John tells us here that we will see what God is like in the heart and life of a true believer. That is a powerful statement. That is again a reminder of the change that God makes in the heart of the true child of God. The person who professes to be saved and yet indulges in sin does not reflect the nature of the true God. The love of God in the heart of the true child of God motivates him or her to not be a stumblingblock to others. The desire is to see others saved, not hurt. Born again Christians want to remove all hindrances from another person’s life. They do that by living for God. We want to present the true God to others. His Word is true. As we teach and live out His Word in our lives, we help others to desire to know the true God as well.
We do not need a copy of the ten commandments on the wall and check them off every day. We need them written in our hearts. The outward Words are there to remind the child of God of who they are and what is required of them. The motivation to love one another comes from within. Those who seek to practice that as a ritual will fail.
In verse 13 we are reminded that the Holy Spirit indwells the true child of God. It is the indwelling Holy Spirit in the child of God that makes it possible to live as a child of God. The demands that God places on His child are much greater than what any person can fulfil in the flesh. Thus we can discern those who are saved and those who are not. Those who are saved do not make it our goal to be critical of others. We observe the nature of the one who claims to be saved and we take the Word of God as our authority to determine who they are. Jesus tells us that we can discern the good tree by its fruit. We are commanded to do this to keep ourselves walking in the right direction and to help others to see the importance of walking in the right direction. Modern day “Christianity” has forsaken the Word of God and substituted that for the experiences of men. This is a failure and is keeping many from knowing the truth.
In verse 14 John wrote from personal experience. He was directed to write these words, and he stated that he had seen that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. John was an eye witness to the life of the Lord Jesus Christ on earth. He saw Him. He handled Him. He lived with Him for over three years. He witnessed the love of God at work in Jesus Christ during that entire time. He was fully convinced that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He was also fully convinced that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world.
We do not see Jesus Christ now. We can see Him through the Word of God, but we do not see Him with our physical eye. We do not have visions of Him either. We take the testimony of those that God chose to write His Word and we believe that Word by faith. As we live out the love of God in our hearts and lives, we demonstrate the love of God. It is important that we identify this true love from the Word of God, not from the words of men. Every true child of God needs to take the Word of God as their authority. Every teacher and preacher needs to carefully teach the Word of God so as not to distort it.
In verse 15 we are again reminded that the person who shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, has God dwelling in him. This person is a true child of God. In Acts 19 we see that this confession is more than just words. The sons of Sceva tried to play around with Jesus Christ. They saw Paul demonstrating the power of God in his ministry. They tried to imitate that as well. The evil spirit knew they were frauds and beat them up. The devils know who the true God is. They know the true Jesus. Those who are saved need to ask God to guide us in our discernment of what others say and do.
Verse 16 again reminds us of the fact that God loves us. The person who dwells in love dwells in God. That is the key. The love of God is a love that is unique. Everything the true child of God does and says must be motivated by the love of God dwelling in him. Thus we can pray with the Psalmist:
Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
The child of God wants to help others know the love of God and be able to live without guilt in their life. This applies to all areas of life.