First John: 1 John 4:7b-Obedience to the Command to Love One Another Manifests Being Fathered by God Lesson # 159
1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. (ESV)
“And whoever loves has been born of God” is composed of the following: (1) conjunction kai (καί), “and” (2) nominative masculine singular form of the adjective pas (πᾶς), “whoever” (3) articular nominative masculine singular present active participle form of the verb agapaō (ἀγαπάω), “whoever loves” (4) preposition ek (ἐκ), “of” (5) articular genitive masculine singular form of the noun theos (θεός), “of God” (6) third person singular perfect passive indicative form of the verb gennaō (γεννάω), “has been born.”
The conjunction kai is a marker of result which means that it is introducing an assertion which presents the result of the previous command and causal clause which follows it.
Therefore, it is presenting the reason why John and the recipients of First John must continue to obey the command to love one another because this love exists in the state of being a characteristic originating with the character and nature of God the Father.
The adjective pas means “any one, any person” since the word to totality with emphasis on its individual components.
Here the word is referring to a hypothetical believer in the Christian community who obeys the command to love one another.
Once again, we have the verb agapaō which as we noted means “to divinely love” since John is speaking of the love which is reproduced in the child of God by God the Holy Spirit when they obey the Lord Jesus Christ’s Spirit inspired command in John 13:34 and 15:12 to love one another as He loves them.
The verb gennaō means “to father, to become the father or” since the word is ascribing in a spiritual or figure sense the action of a male parent and pertains to causing the conception and birth of a child.
Here the word refers to the act of God the Father fathering those sinners who He declared justified and regenerated by the Spirit through faith in His Son Jesus Christ in the sense of causing their regeneration and birth as His child.
The articular construction of the noun theos is anaphoric which means that the word is retaining the same meaning and referent as it had when it appeared in the previous clause.
Further indicating that the Father is the referent of this word is that this verb gennaō is always used in First John with the Father as its referent (cf. 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 5:1, 4, 18).
The noun theos is the object of the preposition ek which means “by” since the word functions as a marker of means with the implication of something proceeding from or out of the source.
Therefore, this prepositional phrase is expressing the idea of the child of God having been fathered “by” God.
This would imply that God the Father is the source from which they are able to practice His love and that He is their spiritual father.
1 John 4:7 Beloved, let each one of us continue to divinely love one another because this love is a characteristic originating from God (the Father). Consequently, the one who at any time does divinely love has been fathered by God (the Father) and as a result they know God (the Father) experientially. (Author’s translation)
Now, in 1 John 4:7, after issuing the command to love one another, the apostle John presents the reason why he and the recipients of First John and all God’s children must obey the command to love another by asserting that this love is a characteristic which originates with the character and nature of God.
Now, in 1 John 4:7, the apostle John presents the result of the previous command to love one another and causal clause which presents the reason for this command.
Therefore, this result clause is presenting the reason why John and the recipients of First John must continue to obey the command to love one another because this love is a characteristic originating with the character and nature of God the Father.
It is asserts that the one who at any time does divinely love has been fathered by God the Father.
Therefore, John is teaching that the person who practices the love of God in relation to others is fathered by God and is thus manifesting the fact that they have been fathered by God.
This is the third time in First John that the apostle John has mentioned the subject of being fathered by God.
Here he is using this concept in relation to the child of God practicing the love of God in relation to their fellow child of God.
The first time the concept of being fathered by God was mentioned in First John was in 1 John 2:29 and the second time was in 1 John 3:9.
When John mentions the believer being “fathered by” God in 1 John 2:29, 3:9 and 1 John 4:7, he is referring to the doctrine of regeneration, which is one of seven ministries the Holy Spirit performs on behalf of every believer the moment they are declared justified by the Father through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.
John mentions this new spiritual birth in 1 John 3:9, 4:7, 5:1, 4 and 18.
He also mentions this doctrine in his gospel (cf. John 1:12-13; 3:3-8).
“Regeneration” refers to the spiritual birth of the sinner who is declared justified by the Father through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
Regeneration takes place at the moment of conversion when the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit appropriates for the sinner justified by faith in Jesus Christ, the benefits of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.
John 1:12 But as many as received Him (Faith alone in Christ alone), to them He (God) gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name (His Person), 13 who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh (old sin nature), nor of the will of man, but of God. (NASB95)
John 3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2 this man came to Him by night, and said to Him (the Lord Jesus Christ), “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh (old sin nature) is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (human spirit). 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, you must be born again. 8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going, so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (Author’s translation)
1 Peter 1:3 Worthy of praise and glorification is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who according to His great mercy (grace in action) has caused us to be born again to a living confidence through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (Author’s translation)
1 Peter 1:23 For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God. (Author’s translation)
1 John 5:1 Whoever believes that Jesus (emphasizing His humanity) is the Christ (the Messiah, the Savior of the world) is born of God. (NASB95)
Titus 3:4 But when the kindness, yes the love for mankind originating from the Savior who is our God was manifested, 5 He saved us, by no means on the basis of meritorious actions as constituting its source. In other words, on the basis of human self-righteousness which we ourselves have done. But rather on the basis of His mercy as constituting the standard, by means of a washing produced by regeneration, specifically, a renovation produced by the Spirit who is holy. (Author’s translation)
Regeneration is our spiritual birth and is a theological word for being born-again.
Every person born into this world that has human life is born spiritually dead.
Every baby that is born into this world is physically alive but spiritually dead.
Every baby that is born into this world receives the imputation of Adam’s original sin in the garden making them spiritually dead but qualified for grace.
When Adam sinned, the entire human race sinned (Rom. 5:12).
God imputed Adam’s sin to every person born into the world in order that He might show grace and mercy to everyone (Rom. 11:32).
So that when any person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ when they hear the gospel communicated to them, God the Holy Spirit cleanses them from the sin nature and personal sin as a result of appropriating for the justified sinner the benefits of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.
The result is that they are now spiritually alive.
When the sinner becomes born-again or regenerated through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, they have passed from spiritual death to spiritual life.
Regeneration is a part of God’s grace policy directed toward us.
Grace means that the sinner can never earn or deserve to be born again.
It is a gift from God.
The justified sinner can never take credit for the fact that they have been born again since it is entirely the work of the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit.
Regeneration or being born again is the justified sinner’s entrance into the plan of God.
Regeneration is also a ministry performed by the Holy Spirit on behalf of a person the moment they believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior where He creates a human spirit for the person so that they might receive the imputation of eternal life.