1 John 4

This devotional is written by Alina Speller.

1 John 4

On denying the incarnation
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognise the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognise the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

God's love and ours
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: he sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: in this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.


If someone would say please describe to me what Christianity is in a nut shell, this is the passage they should be directed to. The points that stuck out the most for me is that first and foremost we have to believe that Jesus, Divine Son of God, has put on flesh like the rest of us and has come to save us. To show us God’s love and how we should treat ourselves and others. God no longer ordered us what to do, but came and showed us.

“ [18] Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”

Let's reflect on this. Let this sentence really sink in. Isn’t it liberating? But it also works both ways, if we emanate this kind of love, no one should be afraid of us either. Not even those that as in the beginning of the passage are following wrong teaching.
By allowing ourselves to soak in God’s love, and ponder upon how important it is that God came down to us, to save us, we too can experience and emanate God’s love.

Let’s pray to see our community through God’s eyes, without judgement, but being able to distinguish between truth and false teaching. Without giving in to false teaching but loving the human that has not experienced God’s perfect love, yet, delivering the message.

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