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1 John 4:11–13 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
11 Beloved ones, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God remains in us and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we are remaining in him and he in us, because he has given his Spirit to us.
God set the standard of love for us. Since we are children of God, we should love other people, especially fellow believers, just as God loved us. God has never been seen in his pure form (Exod. 33:20, 23; Deut. 4:12; John 1:18; 5:37; 6:46; cf. John 12:45; 14:9; 17:24; 1 John 1:1–3; 4:14). If you want to know what God is like, you can look at what he has done for us and what we should do for one another. This invisible God actually lives in us. The love he has for us is made visible and complete as we love one another. This is the way the world sees God’s love, as it is expressed by him through our lives. Only as God’s love completes its purpose of reaching out to those he loves—the world (John 3:16)—is his love complete or fulfilled.
Verse 13 looks back to verse 12. How is God’s love expressed and made complete through us? The Spirit does it. Our ability to love one another is dependent upon the Spirit whom he has given us. The Spirit lives in us, implants God’s love in us, exercises his love through us, and thus ensures us that we live in God.
By David Walls and Max Anders
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