August 10, 2007

Various Commentators on 1 John 4:14

NKJ 1 John 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.
"Here is another summary of the gospel, expressed this time not in the form of a permanently valid proposition, like 'God is love', but in the form of a historical statement in the light of which the validity of the proposition is seen. The designation 'the Saviour of the world' is peculiar to the Johannine writings in the New Testament; in addition to its single occurrence in the First Epistle it occurs once in the Gospel (John 4. 42), on the lips (significantly enough) of Samaritans, who had no interest in promises which were attached to the tribe of Judah but great interest in promises which spoke of a world-wide salvation. As earlier, where he speaks of Christ as 'the propitiation...for all the world' (1 John 2. 2), so here John ascribes the widest scope to the saving purpose of God."

F. F. Bruce, The Epistle of John (Eerdmans, 1988), p. 111.
"Much Christian truth is contained in the straightforward affirmation of this verse. Here is the essence of the gospel. The world means sinful society, estranged from God and under the dominion of the evil one (cf. v. 19). Its urgent need was to be rescued from sin and Satan. And the Father 'so loved the world' (John iii. 16) that He sent the Son, His dear and only Son, to be its Saviour. The perfect tense of the verb (apestalken, lit. 'has sent') points not just to the historical even of the sending, but to the purpose and result of it, namely the salvation of the world. Further, within this statement of the gospel all three of the apostle's tests are implicitly contained, doctrinal (it was the Son Himself whom the Father sent), social (God's love is clearly seen in the sending of His Son, 9, 10, 16, thus obliging us to love each other) and ethical (if Christ came to be our Saviour, we must forsake the sins from which He came to save us). It is clear, then, that John's tests are not arbitrary. He has not made a random selection. They arise inexorably from the central Christian revelation. The mission of Christ manifests both His divine Person, God's great love and our moral duty. Once grasp the truth of verse 14, and we shall confess Christ, love one another and keep the commandments."

John Stott, The Epistles of John (Eerdmans, 1975), pp. 166-167.
"The noun σωτήρ, "savior," appears in John's writings only here and in John 4:42. In extrabiblical Greek the term was used of pagan gods, of men such as physicians, and of kings or emperors. In Scripture, the term is used of judges who delivered the Israelites from their enemies (Judg. 3:9, 15), of God (Isa. 45:15), and of Christ (16 times in the New Testament). Here in 4:14 the term is parallel with ζήσωμεν δί αύτου, "we might live through him" (4:9), and ίλασμόν περί των άμαρτιων ήμων, "propitiation for our sins" (4:10). In other words, Christ delivers from death and from the wrath of God against sin.

John again makes it clear that Christ's salvation is not limited in its sufficiency and its availability (cf. 2:2). He was sent to be "the Savior of the world"--the whole world. (See 1 Tim. 2:3-4.) However, it is man's unbelief that prevents God's desire from being realized. Τού κόσμου is used here, as in John 3:16, to refer to the world of humanity, lost and in need of the Savior."

Donald W. Burdick, The Letters of John (Moody Press, 1985), p. 329.
"The heart of the apostolic witness was "that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world" (hoti ho patēr apestalken ton huin sōtēra tou kosmou). The acceptance of this message is the test of doctrinal orthodoxy. The assertion that "the Father sent the Son," although indicating the deity of both, continues the concept of a loving personal relationship which prompted the Son's redemptive activity. The perfect tense (apestalken) declares the abiding significance of the sending of the Son: "to be the Saviour of the world." The term "the Saviour" (sōtēra), used without a verbal form, is the predicate accusative, "sent as Saviour"; it describes what He is, not merely what He was sent to do. The salvation He wrought is inseparably connected with His person as the unique Son of God. "The world," as the object of His redemptive mission, "means sinful society, estranged from God and under the dominion of the evil one (cf. v. 19). Its urgent need was to be rescued from sin and Satan." The scope of His saving work is comprehensive--all humanity, not merely the "enlightened Gnostics" or the chosen Jewish people. "There is no limit but the willingness of men to accept salvation by believing on the Saviour."

In the New Testament the designation "the Saviour of the world" occurs only here and on the lips of the Samaritan believers on John 4:42. In classical Greek the term "saviour" was applied both to the gods and to men. In the Roman imperial cultus it was employed as one of the titles of the emperors, who often is applied both to God the Father and to the Son. The term is applied to the Father as the originator of the plan of salvation, who sent the Son into the world "that we might live through Him" (v. 9); the Son as the Saviour is the one who wrought our salvation through His atoning death and victorious resurrection. The term is not directly applied to the Holy Spirit, but the Father sent the Spirit to effect God's salvation in our hearts and lives (Gal. 4:4-6; Rom. 8:9-11). In verses 13-14 John accordingly mentions all three Persons of the Trinity in connection with his portrayal of redeeming love."

D. Edmond Hiebert, The Epistles of John (Bob Jones University Press, 1991), pp. 208-209.

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