No man hath seen God at any time - The very words, with the change of ἑωρακε for τεθεαται, of this apostle in his gospel, John 1:18. We may feel him, though we cannot see him; and if we love one another he dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us - it has then its full accomplishment, having moulded us according to its own nature.
No man hath seen God at any time - See the notes at John 1:18, where the same declaration occurs. The statement seems to be made here in order to introduce a remark to show in what way we may know that we have any true knowledge of God. The idea is, “He has never indeed been seen by mortal eyes. We are not, then, to expect to become acquainted with what he is in that way. But there is a method by which we may be assured that we have a true knowledge of him, and that is, by evidence that we love another, and by the presence of his Spirit in our hearts. We cannot become acquainted with him by sight, but we may by love.”
If we love one another, God dwelleth in us - Though we cannot see him, yet there is a way by which we may be assured that he is near us, and that he even dwells in us. That way is by the exercise of love. Compare the notes at John 14:23-24.
And his love is perfected in us - Is carried out to completion. That is, our love for each other is the proper exponent of love to him reigning in our hearts. The idea here is not that we are absolutely perfect, or even that our love is perfect, whatever may be true on those points, but that this love to others is the proper carrying out of our love toward him; that is, without this our love to him would not have accomplished what it was adapted and designed to do. Unless it produced this effect, it would be defective or incomplete. Compare 1 John 4:17. The general sense is this: “We claim to have the love of God in our hearts, or that we are influenced and controlled by love. But however high and exalted that may seem to be as exercised toward God, it would be defective; it would not exert a fair influence over us, unless it led us to love our Christian brethren. It would be like the love which we might profess to have for a father, if it did not lead us to love our brothers and sisters. True love will diffuse itself over all who come within its range, and will thus become complete and entire.” This passage, therefore, cannot be adduced to demonstrate the doctrine of sinless perfection, or to prove that Christians are ever absolutely perfect in this life. It proves only that love to God is not complete, or fully developed, unless it leads those who profess to have it to love each other. See the notes at Job 1:1. On the meaning of the Greek word here used, ( τελειόω teleioōsee the notes at Philemon 3:12. Compare the notes at Hebrews 2:10.
This is the testimony that must go throughout the length and breadth of the world. It presents the law and the gospel, binding up the two in a perfect whole. (See Romans 5 and 1 John 3:9 to the close of the chapter.) These precious scriptures will be impressed upon every heart that is opened to receive them. “The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple”—those who are contrite in heart. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” These have not a mere nominal faith, a theory of truth, a legal religion, but they believe to a purpose, appropriating to themselves the richest gifts of God. They plead for the gift, that they may give to others. They can say, “Of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” TM 94.1
“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 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. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit.” TM 94.2Read in context »
The carrying of things to extremes is a matter to be dreaded. It always results in my being compelled to speak to prevent matters from being misunderstood, so that the world will not have cause to think that Seventh-day Adventists are a body of extremists. When we seek to pull people out of the fire on the one hand, the very words which then have to be spoken to correct evils are used to justify indulgence on the other hand. May the Lord keep us from human tests and extremes. CD 210.1
Let no one advance extreme views in regard to what we shall eat and what we shall drink. The Lord has given light. Let our people accept the light and walk in the light. There needs to be a great increase in the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ. This knowledge is eternal life. An increase of piety, of good, humble, spiritual religion would place our people in a position where they could learn of the Great Teacher. CD 210.2
The time may come when it will not be safe to use milk. But if the cows are healthy and the milk thoroughly cooked, there is no necessity of creating a time of trouble beforehand. Let no one feel that he must bear a message as to what our people shall place on their tables in every particular. Those who take an extreme position will in the end see that the results are not what they thought they would be. The Lord will lead us by His own right hand, if we will be led. Love and purity—these are the fruits borne upon a good tree. Every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. CD 210.3Read in context »
All this is but a fulfillment of the principle of the law,—the principle that is illustrated in the story of the good Samaritan, and made manifest in the life of Jesus. His character reveals the true significance of the law, and shows what is meant by loving our neighbor as ourselves. And when the children of God manifest mercy, kindness, and love toward all men, they also are witnessing to the character of the statutes of heaven. They are bearing testimony to the fact that “the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” Psalm 19:7. And whoever fails to manifest this love is breaking the law which he professes to revere. For the spirit we manifest toward our brethren declares what is our spirit toward God. The love of God in the heart is the only spring of love toward our neighbor. “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?” Beloved, “if we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:20, 12. DA 505.1
This chapter is based on Luke 17:20-22.Read in context »
Instead of finding fault with others, let us be critical with ourselves. Every one should inquire, Is my heart right before God? Am I glorifying my heavenly Father? If you have cherished a wrong spirit, banish it from the soul. Eradicate from your heart everything that is of a defiling nature. Pluck up every root of bitterness, lest others be contaminated by the baleful influence. Do not allow one poisonous plant to remain in the soil of your heart. Root it out this very hour, and cultivate in its stead the plant of love. Let Jesus be enshrined in the soul-temple.... “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:12. OHC 181.5Read in context »