By Stan Brown
I John 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.
This section begins in 3:24 with the words abides in Him, and He in him and ends here with the words the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. One might suggest that the love of God reigns supreme as we savor His love and become His vehicles for spreading that love to one another and the world. This is where John desires us to be as we walk in His light each step of the way. Everything he has written has been directed toward our being described with the words abides in God, and God abides in him.
In this verse love is once more emphasized as it occurs three times. Let’s begin with the words that John earlier used in 4:8 where he writes God is love. In 1:5 John declared that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. God is absolutely holy and cannot abide sin, yet because of his unlimited love we may freely enter into His presence. The love of God infiltrates every part of the essence of God just as does His holiness. Praise God for who He is. Throughout this epistle, John has been encouraging us to become mature in our relationship with God. He speaks of the results of walking with Jesus in the light over time as he and the other apostles had done. They had come to know the unimaginable love of God in a way that can only be achieved through a close personal relationship with Him over time. That is a relationship that is not hit or miss but rather one that continues and endures.
God is love! So, it naturally follows that abiding in love can only be achieved by abiding in the One who is love. The converse is also true; if we do not know God, we cannot understand love. For the fifth time in this letter, John describes the place to which God invites us with the words abides in God, and God abides in him.
Ah yes, my friends, remember that John tends to speak in absolutes. We may at times become frustrated as we fail to achieve the superlatives of which John speaks. John told us early on in this epistle the way we deal with falling short of the magnificent holiness and love of God. He did it because he knew we would fail and fall short many times. He has told us the answer. It is to admit that we sin and confess those sins as the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness and we continue to walk in the light. The magnificent love of God allows sinners like us to enter into His Holy presence. It, of course, begins with the death of the Son in our place. For us it begins when we place our faith in Him and receive eternal life but it does not end there. We can have intimate fellowship with Him as we walk in the light of His presence, indeed we may boldly enter that presence.
God has provided the means and invites us into His Holy presence to experience His love and become not just His messengers but indeed, His message of love to the world!!!!!!