1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
- John starts off here telling us again about the antichrist, also known as false prophets. There are many false prophets in the world today, and will continue to be until the second coming of Christ. These false prophets will try to deceive us, and lead us away from what God truly wants us to do. We know that if you confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, (in other words, if we confess that he is God’s Son, and that he died for our sins), we are of God, and are not false prophets. Again we have to be careful though, because simply saying we believe, and actually believing are two separate things.
4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
- When we become saved, or reborn, God comes to us, and lives inside of us. God is greater than those who are in and of the world, which are those that are not saved. This is why we are able to overcome those in the world, because God is greater than they are. Because those who are unsaved are of the world, the world hears them when they speak, and doesn’t hear us, because we are not of the world, we are of God. Have you ever tried to have a conversation about Christ with a non-believer? They may pretend to be paying attention, they may even be trying to listen to you, but they aren’t truly hearing you. They aren’t understanding what you’re talking about. It’s a lot different than having a conversation about God or Godly things with somebody filled with God’s holy fire. Because we are of God, God also hears us, and God doesn’t hear those that aren’t of him and are of the world. God doesn’t care to listen to those who aren’t believers. It’s like… if some child you didn’t know brought you a picture he drew. You probably wouldn’t put that on your refrigerator, because he’s not your kid, and it’s an ugly page full of scribbles. But, as soon as your own child brings you a page full of scribbles, you put it up on the refrigerator proudly, because your child did it. When we become God’s children, he becomes proud of those things we do, and we then come under his protection, and he listens to us. The same is not true for those who do not believe. God loves us all however, which is why he gave his son to die for us, so that we may have eternal life. God doesn’t want to give people eternal life if they are unwilling to accept his free gift to them though. Verse six tells us that those of God have the Spirit of truth, and those not of God have the spirit of error.
- Here yet again, John tells us that love is of God. He goes further than that even to tell us that God is love. Because God is love, if we don’t love our brothers, we don’t have God in us and aren’t saved. Loving your brother is an identifier that you are saved in other words.
9 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.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
- Verses 9-11 are really cool. God loved us so much that he sent his son to die for us, so that we could live eternally through him! Without that free gift, our sin would not be wiped away, and we could not get into heaven! In verse 11 John reiterates that: if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another!! This is John’s simple and straightforward message to us.
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.
- When we are reborn and saved, God gives his Spirit to us. When we love one another, that love that God gave us is perfected. Remember how we can’t be perfect? Well God’s love can be perfect if we let it be! God’s love comes to us through his son’s sacrifice for us, but his love then becomes perfect when we do as Jesus does and love everyone! I know that might sound a little hippyish, but you know what, I don’t care. I love God, and His Word, and I want to do what he says. Verse 15 is extremely important. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. To be saved, we must confess that Jesus is the Son of God and is our Saviour. We must either confess with our mouth, or our heart, but most importantly our heart. As we established before, it is one thing to simply tell people that you believe, and another to actually believe it. Just like telling God you love him, and actually doing something to show him that you love him.
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.
17 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.
18 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.
- When we live in love, we live in God, and God lives in us because God is love. When we do as God does, and act as he wishes us to, and love as he does, we know that we can have boldness when it comes time to be judged. As I said before, I want to stand up straight and tall and tell Jesus that I tried my hardest to do as God wants me to. Our love is made perfect toward God when we keep his commandments, and are able to stand boldly at the day of judgment. Verse 18 tells us a lot about God’s love towards us. It says that there is no fear in love. The only example that I have of this is the following: Whenever I get scared, I pray to God for his protection and love, and that he keep my family or friends or myself from harm. I know that because God loves me, and hears my prayers, he will protect me, and because I know these things, my fear leaves me. How cool is that that a persons fear can dissipate based on prayer and love. You can’t pray and not love God, because why would you pray to someone that you didn’t love and trust? Perfect love casteth out fear… He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
20 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?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
-Verses 19-21 teach us an important lesson. There are many proclaimed “Christians” in the world today, who say that they love God, but go around hating other people, either with emotion or with their actions (remember that love is more than words). Now… 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? We have never seen God: 1John 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. How can we call ourselves Christians, and proclaim to love God, when we have never seen him, when we cannot even love our brothers and sisters in this world, whom we have seen? We must love everybody so that we can also love God and show our love to him by showing our love to others! Verse 21 is God giving his commandment to us, to love others as we love him.
(Chapter 5 here)