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1 John 4:15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him, and he in God.

Albert Barnes writes,

Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God. In the true sense and from the heart. This will always prove that a man is a Christian. But the passage cannot mean that if he merely says so in words, or if he does it insincerely, or without any proper sense of the truth, it will prove that he is a Christian. On the meaning of the sentiment here expressed, see 1 John 4:2. Comp. Rom. 10:10.[1]

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Daniel L. Akin,

4:15 The message of love and truth are mutually inclusive. This confession provides further evidence that there is communion between God and the person making the statement. It also exposes the true from the false professor. It is a confession of public conviction and acknowledgment that reveals an inward commitment: “Jesus is the Son of God. I believe in him. I trust in him not just as the Savior of the world, but as my Savior. I personally trust in him as the Savior, the Son sent from God.” Once again John affirms the mutuality of the divine relationship between God and man, “God lives in him and he in God.” This is not just a statement regarding the status of Jesus as the Son. It is a confession that results in a reception of new life resulting in a commitment to obedient trust. The natural reaction of someone who genuinely believes that Jesus is the Son of God is to join his life with his in all that means. The resultant obedience gives the necessary outward evidence that there is true fellowship with God. To live or abide in God (“live” is present tense) is a vital, intimate, continuous, and growing reality. The believer has a new and invisible power for the fulfillment of his work on earth: “God is in him.” He realizes that his life is not on earth, that he belongs essentially to another order: “he is in God.”[2]

Brooke Foss Westcott writes,

  1. ὅς ἐάν] See 2:5 note. There is no limitation in the will of God (1 Tim. 2:3).

ὁμολογήσῃ] See 2:23 note; v. 2 note. The different forms of the confession require to be studied together. He that confesseth the Son hath the Father also (2:23); Every spirit that confesseth Jesus Christ come in the flesh is of God (4:2); Whosoever confesseth that Jesus [Christ] is the Son of God, God abideth in him and he in God. The exact point of the confession here prepares for the conclusion. The recognition of the revelation of God is the sign of the presence of God (comp. 1 Cor. 12:3). The fruit of the confession characterised in v. 2 is now described fully.

Ἰησοῦς … ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θ.] Comp. Hebr. 4:14 note; and c. 3:8 note.

ὁ θ. ἐν αὐ.… αὐ. ἐν τῷ θ.] God in him … he in God. See Additional Note. The two clauses mark two aspects of the Christian’s life. The believer has a new and invincible power for the fulfilment of his work on earth: ‘God is in him.’ And again he realises that his life is not on earth, that he belongs essentially to another order: ‘he is in God.’ The divine fellowship is complete and effective in each direction.

This complementary view of the fulness of the Christian life, as the believer lives in God and God in him, is presented by St John in several forms. The love of God abideth in him (3:17), and he abideth in love (4:16). Eternal life abides in him (3:15); and this life is in the Son of God (5:11). The Truth is in him (1:8; 2:4), and he walketh in the Truth (2 Ep. 3). The word of God is and abideth in him (1:10; 2:14; cf. 2:24), and he abides in the word (John 8:31). He is and abides in the light (2:9 f.), and the unction of God abides in him (2:27), and guides him to all the Truth. Comp. Apoc. 3:20.

Vicissim in se habitant qui centinet et qui continetur. Habitas in Deo, sed ut continearis: habitat in te Deus, sed ut te contineat ne cadas (Aug., Bede).[3]

[1] Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament: James to Jude, ed. Robert Frew (London: Blackie & Son, 1884–1885), 333.
[2] Daniel L. Akin, 1, 2, 3 John, vol. 38, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 184.
[3] Brooke Foss Westcott, ed., The Epistles of St. John: The Greek Text with Notes and Essays, 4th ed., Classic Commentaries on the Greek New Testament (London; New York: Macmillan, 1902), 154–155.

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