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1 John 4:11 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
11 Beloved ones, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Beloved ones, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1.) Because he is so much exalted above us, and if he has loved those who were so inferior and so unworthy, we ought to love those who are on a level with us; (2) because it is only in this way that we can show that we have his Spirit; and, (3) because it is the nature of love to seek the happiness of all. There are much stronger reasons why we should love one another than why God should love us; unless we do this, we can have no evidence that we are his children.
By Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews
John now builds on his original admonition to love one another (1 John 4:7). For the sixth time he uses this compassionate and affectionate greeting “Dear friends” (agapētoi) to exhort his readers. John is not so much introducing a new subject as he is adding to his prior discussion. Once one begins to understand the incredible price paid for sin and the magnitude of personal sin, he will understand the love of God and demonstrate it himself (John 13:31–35). The love God has shown becomes the motive for our responding to others properly. John’s use of “ought” (opheilomen) infers that there is an inner motivation and obligation to love others. Further, this obligation or debt cannot be postponed for any reason. It is one we rightly owe. John is insisting that loving God and loving others cannot be divorced, which is exactly what Jesus taught in Matt 22:37–40. John is writing to those who are recipients of God’s love. Since God has loved them in this way, they have no option but to do the same. Burdick explains:
The fact of God’s matchless love lays upon us a continuing obligation (Greek present tense) to be loving one another. Not only is it true that we have received the nature of God by reason of our new birth and thus we should love, but we have the example of His love teaching us and persuading us to love each other.
Those who are children of God must show mercy because he shows mercy (Luke 6:36), they must be holy since he is holy (1 Pet 1:15), and they must love since he loves.
 Burdick, Epistles of John, 74.
 Daniel L. Akin, 1, 2, 3 John, vol. 38, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 181.
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