1 John 4:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
The one who does not love does not know God. Has no true acquaintance with God; has no just views of him, and no right feelings towards him. The reason for this is implied in what is immediately stated, that ‘God is love,’ and of course, if they have no love reigning in their hearts, they cannot pretend to be like him.
Because God is love. He is not merely benevolent; he is benevolence itself. Compare Notes, 2 Cor. 13:11. Never was a more important declaration made than this; never was more meaning crowded into a few words than in this short sentence—God is love. In the darkness of this world of sin—in all the sorrows that come now upon the race, and that will come upon the wicked hereafter—we have the assurance that a God of infinite benevolence rules over all; and though we may not be able to reconcile all that occurs with this declaration, or see how the things which he has permitted to take place are consistent with it, yet in the exercise of faith on his own declarations we may find consolation in believing that it is so, and may look forward to a period when all his universe shall see it to be so. Despite all that occurs on the earth of sadness, sin, and sorrow, there is abundant evidence that God is love. In the original structure of things before sin entered, when all was pronounced ‘good;’ in the things designed to promote happiness, where the only thing contemplated is happiness, and where it would have been as easy to have caused pain; in the preservation of a guilty race, and in granting that race the opportunity of another trial; in the ceaseless provision which God is making in his providence for the wants of unnumbered millions of his creatures; in the arrangements made to alleviate sorrow, and to put an end to it; in the gift of a Savior more than all, and in the offer of eternal life on terms simple and easy to be complied with—in all these things, which are the mere expressions of love, not one of which would have been found under the government of a malignant being, we see illustrations of the sublime and glorious sentiment before us, that ‘God is love.’ Even in this world of confusion, disorder, and darkness, we have evidence sufficient to prove that he is benevolent, but the full glory and meaning of that truth will be seen only in heaven. Meantime let us hold on to the truth that he is love. Let us believe that he sincerely desires our good and that what seems dark to us may be designed for our welfare; amidst all the sorrows and disappointments of the present life, let us feel that our interests and destiny are in the hands of the God of love.
By Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews