“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (4:16). John reminds us that our own experience of receiving God’s merciful, transforming love in Christ is the seed that grows. When we “know and believe” God’s love for us, we begin to keep His commandments (4:20-21). The process does not begin with us; God is the initiator and definer of love. “We love, because He first loved us” (4:19).
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (4:11). Being overwhelmed by God’s love for us transforms the way we relate to others.