We have already seen how love is a recuring theme in the book of 1 John. We have learned that in order to have a strong fellowship we must love our brothers and sisters in Christ, love not the world, and practice love in action. Once again John writes on the subject of love and the need for it to be perfected. Whenever we hear the same message repeated, it is important for us to listen. When we see a theme repeated in the Bible then it must be something that God wants us to really grasp. In 1 John 4:7-21 we see seven truths concerning love that should be understood in order that love would be perfected in our hearts.
The Basis of our Love. Verse 7-8 says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” John made it very clear that the basis of our love is God. If you are born again then the love of God is in you. If you do not have love, then you do not have a relationship with God. This truth stems from the fact that God Himself is love. The fact the God is love does not mean that love is God. There are many who will flippantly use the word ‘love’ without any connection to God. Therefore, love is not God. However, God is love. His nature is love. This nature of love is expressed in the things that God does. Warren Wiersbe says, “All that God does expresses all that God is.” Apart from God there is no love. Therefore, the basis of our love is found in God. Without a right relationship with God through His Son, you can never understand and experience what real love is.
The Manifestation of our Love. In verse 9, John shows how love is manifested. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”  The love of God has been shown to us by the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross. Romans 5:8 says, But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! (HCSB) The proof or the evidence that God loves us is found at the cross. I like what Matthew Henry says on this point. “That he hath loved us, such as we are: In this was manifest the love of God towards us (v. 9), towards us mortals, us ungrateful rebels. Strange that God should love impure, vain, vile, dust and ashes!” Yet He did love us, and He does love us. He manifested His love toward us by giving us His Son. The love shown to us through Jesus results in the life we have through Him. Apart from Christ there is no life. We have life and love through Christ and Christ alone. Therefore, we are to live our lives through Him. Just as God’s love was manifested in the cross, the love of God in us should be manifested through the life we live for Him. God’s love is manifested to the world today through His disciples. When people see us, they should see Jesus. His love should be oozing out of us in such a fashion that the world can’t help but be drawn to Christ.
The Logic of our Love. Verses 10-11 says, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” John gives us a very logical argument here. Since God loved us so much that He sent His Son to be our Savior, the logical thing for us to do to is love one another. The Holeman Bible Commentary says, “John appealed for believers to love for two reasons. First, such love has its source and dynamic in God. Second, God is characterized by love. Both reasons blend together so that one runs into the other. The greatness of the divine love for us leaves us with an incentive to love one another. Our practice of love for one another provides evidence that God’s love for us has attained its goal.” How are you doing with that? Is the love of God manifested through you by your love for others? Are you practicing the logical thing of loving others since God loves you?
The Perfection of our Love. Verse 12 speaks of love being perfected in us. “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.”The word ‘perfected’ means ‘complete’. God’s love makes a full circle and is completed in us when we have love for one another. This love for others comes from the love of God in us which is the epitome of our relationship with Him. We cannot see God with our physical eyes, but we do see and know Him by the love of God that dwells in us. Matthew Poole says it this way: “The essence of God is to our eyes invisible, incomprehensible to our minds; but by yielding ourselves to the power of his love, so as to be transformed by it, and habituated to the exercise of mutual love, we come to know him by the most pleasant and most apprehensible effects, experiencing his indwelling, vital, operative presence and influences, whereby he is daily perfecting this his own likeness and image in us. This is the most desirable way of knowing God, when, though we cannot behold him at a distance, we may feelingly apprehend him nigh us, and in us.”
The Assurance of our Love. Notice what verses 13-17 says. “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 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. 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.” We can have boldness in the day of judgement, meaning we can have confidence in our salvation because of the love of God in our hearts that comes from the Spirit of God that dwells in us. We can have the assurance of salvation because of the Spirit of God that indwells and seals us and is manifested through us in the form of love. Is the love of God manifested in you and through you? If not, you need to take spiritual inventory and consider whether or not the Spirit of God dwells in you.
The Comfort of our Love. Verses 18-19 says, “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. We love him, because he first loved us.” “John’s point is that when God’s love to believers has reached its goal in them, by making them channels for that love to one another, this experience casts out fear.” The fear that is spoken of is the fear of the judgement seat of Christ. We have no fear of the judgement seat when we are living in the love of God. The Grace New Testament Commentary says, “If a Christian experiences fear as he anticipates being evaluated at the Judgment Seat, then this fear can be regarded as a punishment intended to awaken him to his need to correct his behavior. Unpleasant as it is, like all divine discipline (Heb 12:11), it is nevertheless a signal of God’s love and of His desire to see believers made perfect in love.” If you are made perfect in love demonstrated by the love you have for other believers, there is no need to fear the judgement seat of God. It is having the love of God perfected in us that we are in right fellowship with God and there is, therefore, no fear of judgement.
The Command of our Love. The final truth we see concerning love is found in verses 20-21. “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 xwhom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” The natural outcome of a love for God is a love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. The more our love for God grows, the more our love for one another grows. The stronger our fellowship with God, the stronger our fellowship will be with one another. The stronger our fellowship with one another, the more fruit we will bear and the greater the church will grow. It all boils down to our love for God. The Evangelical Commentary on the Bible says, “The beloved are obligated (“ought,” v. 11) to respond to God’s self-sacrificial manner of loving in Christ by loving one another reciprocally (v. 7). God’s love is seen in Christian love.” If we want to see people saved. If we want to see the world around us come to Christ. We must obey the command to love. For God’s love is seen in Christian love. The greater our love for one another, the more people we will see come to faith in Christ, because such love is attractive. It is only when our love for God grows that our love for one another grows and is displayed in our actions which draws the lost to Christ.
Is the love of God perfected in you? Are you growing in God’s love? Is the love of God manifested in you by your love for one another?
 The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Ro 5:8). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
 Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 2450). Peabody: Hendrickson.