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1 John 4:16

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

God is love - See on 1 John 4:8; (note). He that dwelleth in love - he who is full of love to God and man is full of God, for God is love; and where such love is, there is God, for he is the fountain and maintainer of it.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And we have known and believed … - We all have assurance that God has loved us, and the fullest belief in the great fact of redemption by which he has manifested his love to us.

God is love - Notes, 1 John 4:8. It is not uncommon for John to repeat an important truth. He delights to dwell on such a truth as that which is here expressed; and who should not? What truth is there on which the mind can dwell with more pleasure; what is there that is better fitted to win the heart to holiness; what that will do more to sustain the soul in the sorrows and trials of this life? In our trials; in the darkness which is around us; in the perplexities which meet and embarrass us in regard to the divine administration; in all that seems to us incomprehensible in this world, and in the prospect of the next, let us learn to repeat this declaration of the favored disciple, ““God is love.”” What trials may we not bear, if we feel assured of that! What dark cloud that seems to hang over our way, and to involve all things in gloom, will not be bright, if from the depths of our souls we can always say, “God is love!”

And he that dwelleth in love … - Religion is all love. God is love; he has loved us; we are to love him; we are to love one another; we are to love the whole world. Heaven is filled with love, and there is nothing else there. The earth is filled with love just as far as religion prevails, and would be entirely if it should prevail everywhere. Love would remove all the corrupt passions, the crimes, the jealousies, the wars on the earth, and would diffuse around the globe the bliss of heaven. If a man, therefore, is actuated by this, he has the spirit of the heavenly world reigning in his soul, and lives in an atmosphere of love.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The Father sent the Son, he willed his coming into this world. The apostle attests this. And whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. This confession includes faith in the heart as the foundation; makes acknowledgment with the mouth to the glory of God and Christ, and profession in the life and conduct, against the flatteries and frowns of the world. There must be a day of universal judgment. Happy those who shall have holy boldness before the Judge at that day; knowing he is their Friend and Advocate! Happy those who have holy boldness in the prospect of that day, who look and wait for it, and for the Judge's appearance! True love to God assures believers of God's love to them. Love teaches us to suffer for him and with him; therefore we may trust that we shall also be glorified with him, 2Ti 2:12. We must distinguish between the fear of God and being afraid of him; the fear of God imports high regard and veneration for God. Obedience and good works, done from the principle of love, are not like the servile toil of one who unwillingly labours from dread of a master's anger. They are like that of a dutiful child, who does services to a beloved father, which benefit his brethren, and are done willingly. It is a sign that our love is far from perfect, when our doubts, fears, and apprehensions of God, are many. Let heaven and earth stand amazed at his love. He sent his word to invite sinners to partake of this great salvation. Let them take the comfort of the happy change wrought in them, while they give him the glory. The love of God in Christ, in the hearts of Christians from the Spirit of adoption, is the great proof of conversion. This must be tried by its effects on their temper, and their conduct to their brethren. If a man professes to love God, and yet indulges anger or revenge, or shows a selfish disposition, he gives his profession the lie. But if it is plain that our natural enmity is changed into affection and gratitude, let us bless the name of our God for this seal and earnest of eternal happiness. Then we differ from the false professors, who pretend to love God, whom they have not seen, yet hate their brethren, whom they have seen.
Ellen G. White
Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 77

The Jews had been wearily toiling to reach perfection by their own efforts, and they had failed. Christ had already told them that their righteousness could never enter the kingdom of heaven. Now He points out to them the character of the righteousness that all who enter heaven will possess. Throughout the Sermon on the Mount He describes its fruits, and now in one sentence He points out its source and its nature: Be perfect as God is perfect. The law is but a transcript of the character of God. Behold in your heavenly Father a perfect manifestation of the principles which are the foundation of His government. MB 77.1

God is love. Like rays of light from the sun, love and light and joy flow out from Him to all His creatures. It is His nature to give. His very life is the outflow of unselfish love. MB 77.2

“His glory is His children's good;
His joy, His tender Fatherhood.”
MB 77.3

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 281

Be careful what you do in the line of suspending students. This is a solemn business. It should be a very grave fault which requires this discipline. Then there should be a careful consideration of all the circumstances connected with the case. Students sent from home a short distance or a long distance, thousands and thousands of miles, are away from and deprived of the advantages of home, and if expelled are refused the privileges of school. All their expenses have to be met by some one who has had hope and confidence in these subjects that their money would not be invested in vain. The student enters into, or falls into, temptation, and he is to be disciplined for his wrong. He feels keenly that his record is marred, and he disappoints those who have trusted him to develop a character under the influence of his training in his scholastic life, which will pay all that has been invested in his behalf. But he is suspended for his foolish course of action. What will he do? Courage is at the lowest ebb, courage and even manliness are not cherished. He is on expense, and precious time is lost. Who is tender and kind, and feels the burden of these souls? What wonder that Satan takes advantage of the circumstances. They are thrust on Satan's battle ground and the very worst feelings of the human heart are called into exercise and strengthened and become confirmed. I put the case as it has been presented to me. I wish all could view this as it has in all its bearings been shown me. I think there would be radical changes made in many rules and methods of dealing with human minds. There would be more physicians to heal human souls, who understand how to deal with human minds. There would be far more forgiveness and sympathy and love practiced, and far less discouraging, tearing down influences exercised. Supposing that Christ should deal with all His sons and daughters who learn of Him, as the human agent, as teachers, deal with those under their charge; that when the law of the Lord, His rules, His injunctions have been disregarded by us, the guilty are expelled or suspended, turning the erring away from His saving, uplifting, educating influences, leaving him to pick and choose his own way and course of action without His divine assistance, what would become of our souls? His constant forgiving love is binding up our soul's interest with Himself. O the mightiness of the love of Jesus overwhelms me as I consider it. The yoke of Christ is easy and His burden is light. When we enter more entirely into the love of Jesus by practice, we shall see far different results in our own advancement as Christians, and in the molding of the character of those brought in relationship with us. The most difficult business for individuals is the giving up that which one thinks is his right. Love seeketh not her own. Heaven-born love strikes deeper than the surface. Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. Fortified with the grace of Christ love doth not behave itself unseemly. He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God. God is love. We all need love, gentleness, tenderness, compassion, and forbearance. Expel from the soul every vestige of selfishness or human dignity. FE 282.1

When all hope was excluded from Adam and Eve in consequence of transgression and sin, when justice demanded the death of the sinner, Christ gave Himself to be a sacrifice for the sin of the world. The world was under condemnation. Christ became substitute and surety for man. He would give His life for the world, which is represented as the one lost sheep that had strayed from the fold, whose guilt as well as helplessness was charged against them and stood in the way, hindering their return. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins.” “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Every son and daughter of God, if they have an abiding Saviour will act out Christ. Every soul that has not an abiding Saviour will reveal the same in unchristlikeness in character. Love is not cherished and put in exercise. “Lift Him up, the risen Saviour,” in our words, in our conversation, in our dealing with the erring. FE 283.1

I know by the burden which is rolled upon me, that many who are officiating in our schools need themselves to learn in the school of Christ His meekness, His tender dealing with the erring, His compassion and love. Until they are melted over and the dross separated from the character they will work at cross purposes. I am deeply grieved in my heart for serious results which have followed unwise dealings, more serious than many are willing to admit to their own conscience or to God. Self is so large in many, ever striving for the mastery. There are those who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ who have never died to self. They have never fallen on the rock and been broken. Until this shall be, they will live unto self, and if they die as they are, it is forever too late for their wrongs to be righted. I love their souls. Jesus loves their souls and He will do a good work for them, if they will humble themselves under His mighty hand, repent and be converted, surrender every day to God. It must be a constant, daily surrender. We must be minute men and women, ever on guard over self, and watching to improve every opportunity to do good and only good for the souls for whom Christ has given His life to make them His own. When the human agents deal with these souls in a hard spirit they grieve the heart of Christ, and put Him to open shame, for they misrepresent in their own character the character of Christ. Said one, “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” I pray to our heavenly Father that all connected with our schools may be in Christ as the branch is united to the living vine.—Letter 50, 1893. FE 284.1

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Ellen G. White
Child Guidance, 487

God's Love Should Be Taught in Every Lesson.—The first lesson that children are to be taught is that God is their Father. This lesson should be given them in their earliest years. Parents are to realize that they are responsible before God for making their children acquainted with their heavenly Father.... That God is love is to be taught by every lesson.4 CG 487.1

Fathers and mothers should teach the infant, the child, and the youth of the love of Jesus. Let the first baby lispings be of Christ.5 CG 487.2

Christ should be associated with all the lessons given to children.6 CG 487.3

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 560

True sanctification comes through the working out of the principle of love. “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16. The life of him in whose heart Christ abides, will reveal practical godliness. The character will be purified, elevated, ennobled, and glorified. Pure doctrine will blend with works of righteousness; heavenly precepts will mingle with holy practices. AA 560.1

Those who would gain the blessing of sanctification must first learn the meaning of self-sacrifice. The cross of Christ is the central pillar on which hangs the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” “If any man will come after Me,” Christ says, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” 2 Corinthians 4:17; Matthew 16:24. It is the fragrance of our love for our fellow men that reveals our love for God. It is patience in service that brings rest to the soul. It is through humble, diligent, faithful toil that the welfare of Israel is promoted. God upholds and strengthens the one who is willing to follow in Christ's way. AA 560.2

Sanctification is not the work of a moment, an hour, a day, but of a lifetime. It is not gained by a happy flight of feeling, but is the result of constantly dying to sin, and constantly living for Christ. Wrongs cannot be righted nor reformations wrought in the character by feeble, intermittent efforts. It is only by long, persevering effort, sore discipline, and stern conflict, that we shall overcome. We know not one day how strong will be our conflict the next. So long as Satan reigns, we shall have self to subdue, besetting sins to overcome; so long as life shall last, there will be no stopping place, no point which we can reach and say, I have fully attained. Sanctification is the result of lifelong obedience. AA 560.3

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