By Stan Brown
I John 4:8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
There are two great affirmations about God in John’s epistle. The first occurs in 1:5 where John declared that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. When discussing that affirmation, I said, Everything He does is righteous and He is always doing righteousness (It is active not passive righteousness). John emphatically emphasizes that evil or unrighteousness does not appear in His character or actions in any way at all, not even a whit. He is free from every moral defect and unsullied by any degree of moral impurity whatsoever. God is Light that outshines every bit of darkness.
Now he says that God is love. This is the second of the two affirmations that speak of the fundamental character of God. Light describes His absolute holiness. Love describes His willingness to die for us that we might love as well. These two attributes are vital characteristics of our God. Without either one He would not be God. Without either one we would be facing a hopeless future. Holiness(light) without love would place us in eternal separation from Him for one sin would expel us from His presence forever. Love without holiness(light) would propel us into an environment of chaos as anarchy would prevail as in the days of the Judges where every man did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6). A God who possesses neither holiness nor love is descriptive of Satan who cares only about Himself. John declares that God possesses both perfect love and absolute holiness that we might live with Him forever as we experience His love and light.
In the preceding verse John stated that the one who loves is born of God and knows God. In this verse he says that the one who does not love does not know God. What is the point? We would expect John to say that unbelievers cannot exhibit the love of God but here he is also telling us that believers may be described as ones who do not know God. As he sets the contrasts in these two verses, he is saying it is possible to be born of God and yet not know God. This is not the first time he has said this. This is of great concern to John. One might say it is why he wrote this letter. He knows that there are believers who do not walk in the light. Everything he writes in this epistle is with the purpose of telling us as believers how to get into the light and stay there, indeed he is telling us how to know God. We cannot love unless we know Him. We can make it to heaven if we are born of God but it is the one who is born of God and knows God that expresses the love of God.
Now for a short rambling of my thoughts. Satan is satisfied with any message as long as it is not God’s message, as long as it does not include light and love. Yet, he is the great counterfeiter, and as such puts out a message of counterfeit light and love. He transforms his appearance into an angel of light and redefines right as everyone doing what is right in his own eyes. We know that it is counterfeit because it can do nothing but lead to ultimate chaos while the light and love of God ultimately lead to peace and unity. Ramblings end here.
As believers, let us covenant together to know Him that His love and light might shine out in our lives!!!