Supreme love for God and unselfish love for one another—this is the best gift our heavenly Father can bestow. This love is not an impulse, but a divine principle. Only in the heart where Jesus reigns is it found. “We love, because He first loved us.” Love modifies the character, governs the impulses and passions, and ennobles the affections. This love sweetens the life and sheds a refining influence on all around.
John strove to lead the believers to understand that this love, filling the heart, would control every other motive and raise its possessors above the corrupting influences of the world. As this love became the motive power in the life, their trust and confidence in God would be complete. They could know that they would receive from Him everything needful for their present and eternal good. “In this is love perfected,” John writes,
that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.
If we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us …, we know that we have obtained the requests made of Him.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The Lord does not require us to do some grievous thing in order to gain forgiveness. We need not make long, wearisome pilgrimages or perform painful penances to expiate our transgression. He that “confesseth and forsaketh” his sin “shall have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13.
In the courts above, Christ is pleading for His church—those for whom He paid the redemption price of His blood. Neither life nor death can separate us from the love of God, not because we hold Him so firmly, but because He holds us so fast. If our salvation depended on our own efforts, we could not be saved; but it depends on the One who is behind all the promises. Our grasp on Him may seem feeble, but so long as we maintain our union with Him, no one can pluck us out of His hand.
As the years went by and the number of believers grew, John labored with increasing fidelity and earnestness. Satanic delusions existed everywhere. By misrepresentation and falsehood, emissaries of Satan sought to arouse opposition against the doctrines of Christ, and in consequence dissensions and heresies were imperiling the church. Some who professed Christ claimed that His love released them from obedience to the law of God.
On the other hand, many taught that a mere observance of the law, without faith in the blood of Christ, was sufficient for salvation. Some held that Christ was a good man, but denied His divinity. Some, living in transgression, were bringing heresies into the church. Many were being led into skepticism and delusion.