1 John 4.1-21 tells us about false prophets and teachers and how to test them and how to know them; the contrast between those in the world and those who know Yehovah; the call to love one another (love is an action, not an emotion); how God’s love was manifested to us; no one has seen God at any time but his presence is evidenced by love; the work of the triune Godhead in a believer; boldness on the day of judgement; God initiates our love for him; the commandment to love we have from him in the Torah in Lev 19.18.
v 1…Beloved, do not believe every spirit (anyone who professes to be from God), but test the spirits (of the teachers and their doctrines by the Scriptures-Deut 13.1-5; Isa 8.20; John 5.39-47; Acts 17.10-11) to see whether they are from God (by the Scriptures, and the gift of discernment of spirits-1 Cor 12.10); because many false prophets have gone out into the world (Deut 18.20-22; Matt 7.15-23).
v 2…By this you know the Spirit of God; every spirit that confesses that Yeshua is the Messiah has come in the flesh is from God (his human body was real, along with full deity);
v 3…and every spirit that does not confess Yeshua the Messiah has come in the flesh (there were teachings going around that he did not) is not from God and this is that (spirit) of antichrist, of which you have heard that is coming (2 Thes 2.3-8; Matt 7.15; Matt 24.45; John 5.43), and now it is already in the world (the spirit of lawlessness, which means rejecting the Torah; no law or “Torah-less-ness”).
v 4…You are from God, little children (“teknia” or young talmidim), and have overcome them (the false messiahs and teachers; demonic spirits, etc); because greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world (he quotes 2 Chr 32.7; the Ruach Ha Kodesh is more powerful than demonic error).
v 5…They (the false prophets and teachers) are from the world, therefore, they speak from the world, and the world listens to them (its natural for unbelievers to follow unbelievers because they think alike).
v 6…We are from God; he who knows God (in a redemptive way is acquainted with him) listens to us (believers think alike); he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this (knowing whether a teaching is Torah-based or not) we know the spirit of truth (based on the Torah) and the spirit of error (not based on the Torah).
v 7…Beloved, let us love (by action) one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
v 8…The one who does not love (by action) does not know God, for God is love (in essence of nature).
v 9…By this the love of God was manifested among us, that God has sent his only begotten son into the world so that we might live through him (we were dead in Adam and this could not cause us to have life).
v 10…In this is love, not that we loved God (first-v 19), but that he loved us (first) and sent his son (as a shaliach and agent of the basar) the propitiation (mercy seat where God hilariously dispenses grace-see Rom 3.25 notes; in order to have everlasting life, justice had to be satisfied and obstructions removed; love and justice are reconciled; this caused our love for him after he loved us)
v 11…Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
v 12…No one has beheld God (with mortal eyes) at any time (John 1.18); if we love one another God abides in us (even though we can’t see him, this is how we know he is near), and his love is perfected in us (carried out to completion).
v 13…By this (evidence) we know that we abide in him and he is in us, because he has given us of the Spirit (empowered us with gifts, power and grace).
v 14…And we have beheld (seen) and bear witness (testify) that the Father has sent his son the saviour of the world (the elect and the creation “cosmos” are part of the redemption).
v 15…Whoever confesses that Yeshua is the son of God (the king and heir), God abides in him and he in God (his place and purposes; a reflection of the life of God).
v 16…And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love (part of his essence of nature), and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (is a reflection of God).
v 17…By this (evidence), love is perfected (made mature and complete) with us, that we may have confidence (faith, boldness in action) in the day of judgment (alluding to Rosh Ha Shannah, a Yom Ha Din); because as he is, so also are we in this world (Olam Ha Zeh).
v 18…There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear; because fear involves punishment (is punishment in itself); and one who fears is not perfected in love (is not mature or complete).
v 19…We love, because he first loved us (salvation does not start with us, it begins with the Lord according to his will-John 1.13).
v 20…If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar (contradicts himself), or the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
v 21…And this commandment (“mitvah”, good work) we have from him (in the Torah-Lev 19.18), that the one who loves God should love his brother also)