FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD AND HIS CHILDREN
Click chart to enlarge
Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Another Overview Chart - 1 John - Charles Swindoll
|BASIS OF FELLOWSHIP||BEHAVIOR OF FELLOWSHIP|
1 Jn 1:1-2:27
1 Jn 2:28-5:21
|Written in Ephesus|
|circa 90 AD|
From Talk Thru the Bible
Greek - En touto ginoskomen (1PPAI) hoti en auto menomen (1PPAI) kai autos en hemin hoti ek tou pneumatos autou dedoken (3SRAI) hemin
Amplified - By this we come to know (perceive, recognize, and understand) that we abide (live and remain) in Him and He in us: because He has given (imparted) to us of His [Holy] Spirit.
NLT - And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us.
Wuest - In this we know experientially that in Him we are dwelling and He Himself in us, because He has given us out of His Spirit as a permanent gift.
- 1Jn 4:15,16 3:24 John 14:20-26 Ro 8:9-17 1Co 2:12 3:16,17 6:19 Ga 5:22-25 Eph 2:20-22
- 1 John 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
By this (NEB = "Here is the proof that...") - By what? While this could refer to what has been stated (if we love one another - 1Jn 4:12), most favor that John is referring to the Father's gift of the Spirit as the means by which we know. In short, this is his reader's (and our) ground of assurance that we have personally come to know God (that we abide in Him and He in us). This statement is similar to John's earlier declaration...
And the one who keeps (present tense = not perfection but direction) His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And we know (present tense = grow in this knowledge) by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit Whom He has given us. (1Jn 3:24-note)
Henry Alford comments “nearly repeated from 1Jn 3:24-note. But why introduced here? In the former verse (1Jn 4:12-note), the fact of His abiding in us was assured to us, if we love one another. Of this fact, when thus loving, we need a token. Him we cannot see: has He given us any testimony of His presence in us? He has given us such a testimony, in making us partakers of His Spirit. This fact it is to which the Apostle calls our attention, as proving not the external fact of the sending of the Son (1Jn 4:14-note), but one within ourselves, the indwelling of God in us, and our abiding in Him.” (1 John 4 Commentary)
Stott explains that "The previous two sections have been exhortations—a warning not to believe every spirit (1Jn 4:1–6-note) and an appeal to love one another (1Jn 4:7–12-note). These two tests of belief and love are now applied more personally, no longer in exhortation but in affirmation. The belief and love, which John has been urging upon his readers, are now assumed, and deductions are drawn from them. Moreover, their relation to each other is for the first time indicated. This passage ‘is the high-watermark of the thought of the epistle’ (Dodd). That ‘the Father has sent his Son’ is not only the chief test of doctrinal orthodoxy but also the supreme evidence of God’s love and inspiration of ours....the ability to believe and the ability to love are alike attributable to the Holy Spirit. Thus belief and love are seen to be related both in the mission of the Son and in the indwelling of the Spirit. (The Letters of John - Tyndale New Testament Commentary)
Ironside seems to favor the "by this" as looking to what preceded writing "If we love in this divine way, we abide in Him. You cannot abide in Christ and have hatred in your heart. You cannot abide in Christ and have jealousy in your heart; you cannot have unlovely thoughts and unholy desires. All these break fellowship with the Lord." (1 John 4 Commentary - Ironside's Notes on Selected Books)
Steven Cole - Almost every Christian at some time has struggled with assurance of salvation. Perhaps you heard some godless university professor rail against the Christian faith, or you heard about a book or movie like The Da Vinci Code, and it caused you to doubt the truth of Christianity. Then the enemy hit you with the thought, “How could you be a genuine Christian and have these thoughts?” Or, it may have been during a time of severe trial, where God did not seem to be answering your prayers. The difficulties in your life multiplied without relief. You cried out to God, but He seemed to be on vacation. You just couldn’t make sense out of what was happening to you. Then, you began to doubt both the Christian faith and whether you were really a Christian at all. The enemy has many such ways to shake our assurance of salvation. In the case of John’s first readers, false teachers were spreading heresy among the churches. They had left to form new churches, and many had followed them. When your friends join a new group with new teachings, it can cause you to question whether what you believe is really true. So the apostle John writes to his little children to give them assurance that they were truly abiding in Christ. Note these verses:
1Jn 2:3-note: “By this we know that we have come to know Him….”
1Jn 2:5b-note: “By this we know that we are in Him….”
1Jn 2:13-note: “… you know Him who has been from the beginning.”
1Jn 2:13b-note: “… you know the Father.”
1Jn 2:20-note: “… you all know.”
1Jn 3:10-note: “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious….”
1Jn 3:14-note: “We know that we have passed out of death into life….”
1Jn 3:19-note: We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him….”
1Jn 3:24b-note: “We know by this that He abides in us….”
1Jn 4:2-note: “By this you know the Spirit of God….”
1Jn 4:6b-note: “By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
1Jn 5:2-note: By this we know that we love the children of God….”
1Jn 5:13-note: These things I have written … so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
Clearly, John wants us to know some things with assurance. He wants us to be solid and secure in our relationship with God. In our text, he wants us (1Jn 4:13-note) to “know that we abide in Him and He in us….” In 1Jn 4:12-note, John mentions God’s abiding in us. Then in 1Jn 4:13, 15, & 1Jn 4:16-note, he repeats the same truth in terms of mutual abiding, God in us and we in God. John wants to give us assurance of this mutual abiding relationship. While “abide” is John’s word for fellowship with God, it would be a mistake to think that only some believers enter into this abiding relationship, while other believers do not abide. To be sure, the abiding relationship grows and deepens over a lifetime. Those who have walked with Christ for decades enjoy closer fellowship with Him than those who are newer in their faith. But in John’s mind, every Christian abides in Christ and Christ in him. If you are not abiding in Him and He in you, then you are not saved. So when we talk about assurance of abiding, we are talking about assurance of salvation. John’s message here is… We can be assured that God abides in us and we in Him if we see His Spirit producing in us love for one another and confession of the truth about Jesus Christ. (1 John 4:12-16 Assurance of Abiding) (Bolding added)
We know this mutual abiding (we in God, God in us) is real because of His Spirit Who indwells us. In turn, we know we have His Spirit because we are able to confess Jesus and are able to love one another, both of which are supernatural not natural responses.
We know (1097)(ginosko) means we have knowledge gained by experience, not just by an accumulation of facts. In this case the knowledge has to do with the genuine believer's experience of God's Spirit. How can we know we have been given the Spirit? In simple terms, we can know because we begin to experience a life radically different than when our old nature was in full control of our thoughts, words and deeds. In short "the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." (2Cor 5:17-note)
Wuest adds "the saint experiences the work of the Holy Spirit in him, and from that experience, he deduces the fact that the Holy Spirit is in him, a gift of God. This experiential knowledge confirms the fact that the saint dwells in God and God in him." (Word Studies from the Greek New Testament)
In context (e.g., 1Jn 4:12-note), we know (present tense = continue to know, the idea being we continue to grow in this experiential knowledge) because we have begun to experience love for one another, whereas before this Spirit enabled quality of love simply did not exist. Before the Spirit poured out the love of God within our hearts (Ro 5:5-note) and began to bear His fruit (Gal 5:22-23-note), we simply had no inherent power to manifest God-like love.
Knowledge possessed through the intellectual process of learning is one thing. Knowledge gained by experience, by an active relationship between the one who knows (in this context believers) and the person known (in context God Himself), is far superior to apprehension of facts (about God). Ginosko describes the experiential knowledge which every Christ follower should zealously seek to pursue regarding the Person of Christ (e.g., see ginosko in Jn 8:32, Jn 17:3, Php 3:10-11-note).
We abide in Him and He in us - This is what we grow in knowledge of - we gain an increasing sense or awareness of our reciprocal abiding, our oneness, our intimacy and ultimately our assurance with God. In 1Jn 3:24-note this mutual abiding (abides in Him, and He in him) is linked to our obedience, our keeping of His commandments (compare 1Jn 4:7-21 = with our demonstration of brotherly love), a knowledge which ultimately (and in my opinion somewhat mystically) is continually being made aware to our inner man by His Spirit. It is the Spirit Who continually gives us the consciousness of our mutual relationship with God. Our awareness of mutually abiding is not based on any personal achievement such as how much we pray, how many verses we memorize, how often we share the Gospel, etc. It is because He has given us of His Spirit. In Romans Paul writes "For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God." (Ro 8:15-16-note)
Hiebert makes the observation that "In 1Jn 3:24-note and 1Jn 4:15-note this mutual indwelling is presented as the experience of the individual believer (Ed: singular pronouns); but here the use of the plural pronouns, “we … us,” presents this twofold relationship as the experience of the Christian community. Clearly it is a relationship that is true of every true believer. But it is the reality of God’s abiding in us that vitalizes the relationship with fellow believers." (The Epistles of John- An Expositional Commentary) (See also related journal article - 1 John 4:7-21 - Excellent)
One thinks of Peter's command "grow (present imperative = continually as enabled by the Spirit) in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen." (2Peter 3:18-note)
We abide (live) (3306)(meno) is used often in the Gospel of one person dwelling in the home of another. Here we see believers live in fellowship with God, in an intimate oneness we continually (present tense) possess!
Meno is used 24 times in First John - 1John 2:6, 10, 14, 17, 19, 24, 27-28; 3:6, 9, 14-15, 17, 24; 4:12-13, 15-16. (Note: four verses have more than one use)
Wiersbe writes that abide "is used six times in 1 John 4:12–16. It refers to our personal fellowship with Jesus Christ. To abide in Christ means to remain in spiritual oneness with Him, so that no sin comes between us. Because we are “born of God,” we have union with Christ; but it is only as we trust Him and obey His commandments that we have communion with Him. Much as a faithful husband and wife “abide in love” though they may be separated by miles, so a believer abides in God’s love. This abiding is made possible by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1John 4:13)." (Bible Exposition Commentary)
He (abides or lives) in us - This is the third time in this section in which John describes God's indwelling believers (1Jn 4:12, 13, 16), the last two verses describing reciprocal indwelling ("we abide in Him and He in us") Notice that when John describes the reciprocal indwelling here in 1Jn 4:12-note, he follows up with evidence for it, explaining "He has given us of His Spirit."
John Piper on we abide in Him and He in us - This is the burden of John in the whole letter: to teach us how to be sure that God abides in us. Are you sure that God abides in you today? He wrote this letter to help you answer that question. John's Clear Goal - Consider how many times he has made us think about this. You might want to put a little "a" in the margin by each of these verses to stand for assurance.
1 Jn 2:3—By this we may be sure that we know him . . .
1 Jn 2:5b—By this we may be sure that we are in him . . .
1 Jn 3:10—By this it may be seen who are the children of God . . .
1 Jn 3:14—We know that we have passed out of death into life . . .
1 Jn 3:19—By this we shall know that we are of the truth . . .
1 Jn 3:24b—By this we know that he abides in us . . .
1 Jn 4:2—By this you know the Spirit of God . . .
1 Jn 4:6b—By this we know the spirit of truth . . .
1 Jn 5:2—By this we know that we love the children of God . . .
1 Jn 5:13—I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you might know that you have eternal life.
So one thing is very clear from this letter: John wants Christians to be sure of something. He wants us to be confident of something. He wants to help us get rid of our doubts about something. What? What does he want us to be sure of? Assurance That We Abide in God. There are some today who teach that our abiding in God and God's abiding in us simply refers to an advanced stage of intimacy between God and the mature Christian. They say that you can still be a Christian and yet not abide in God and not have God abiding in you. They say that what John wants to give assurance of is not that you are truly born again but that you are walking in intimacy with the Father. Here's a quote from one popular evangelical teacher: "The unsaved world does not know God . . . and the believer who harbors hatred toward another believer is stepping into a comparable sphere of spiritual darkness and death. This by no means calls his salvation into question, but it firmly negates every claim to intimacy with the Father and the Son. In the final analysis, it is this intimacy that the epistle of 1 John is all about" (1 Jn 1:3, 4). (Zane Hodges, The Gospel Under Siege, 1981, p. 65) The motive behind this interpretation is the desire to keep the assurance of salvation separate from the spiritual and moral condition of the believer's heart and life. In other words this teacher wants to be able to give people assurance of salvation even if, to use his words, they are "harboring hatred toward another believer." (Ed comment: Woe!) And he does this by saying that when John gives the test of love, he is testing Christian maturity not salvation. He says that if we equate "abiding" with "being a Christian," the message of John's letter is hopelessly obscured. The theological deductions that arise as a result are fundamentally and irreconcilably hostile to the simple Biblical Gospel and to the offer of assurance of salvation based on the testimony and promise of God alone. (p. 66) In other words, if you think that 1Jn 4:13 of our text this morning has to do with salvation when it speaks of "abiding in God and God abiding in us," then (he says) your view is hostile to the gospel. Because for this teacher the gospel is the good news that you can be saved by a kind of intellectual faith that may not change your heart attitudes or make you into a loving person. (Ed comment: Woe! Woe!) The reason I spell this out in some detail is that this is an amazingly widespread view, coming as it does from one of the (former?) bastions of evangelical orthodoxy (Dallas Theological Seminary). But it is a view of 1 John that as far as I know has no significant precedent in the history of interpretation. It is a tremendously important issue. You must decide whether you think the issue in 1 John (and particularly in this text) is the assurance of salvation or the assurance of Christian maturity and intimacy. Either in the Vine or the Fire - What does John mean by abiding in God and God abiding in us? Is it an intimate second stage of Christianity or is it just plain being a Christian? Jesus said in John 15:6, "If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned." Abiding in Christ does not refer to a second level of maturity. It refers to whether you are in the vine or in the fire. (1 John 4:13-16: God Abides in the One Who Loves - This is an important sermon for evangelicals to read - click for the entire message) (Bolding added)
William Barclay - One other thing emerges in this passage. It has taught us of God and it has taught us of Jesus; and it teaches us of the Spirit. In 1John 4:13 John says it is because we have a share of the Spirit that we know that we dwell in God. It is the work of the Spirit that in the beginning makes us seek God at all; it is the work of the Spirit that makes us aware of God's presence; and it is the work of the Spirit that gives us the certainty that we are truly at peace with God. It is the Spirit in our hearts which makes us dare to address God as Father (Ro 8:15-16). The Spirit is the inner witness who, as C. H. Dodd puts it, gives us the "immediate, spontaneous, unanalysable awareness of a divine presence in our lives." (1 John 4 Commentary - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)
Ironside on God has given us of His Spirit - He has Himself implanted within us something that He has given us from His Spirit. That is the new nature. His Spirit is that of love, and this is the very essence of the new nature. All you and I have to do is to let the Spirit of God control us (Eph 5:18-note - filled = controlled) and we will manifest the love of Christ.
Spurgeon on He has given us of His Spirit - And his Spirit is the spirit of love. Wherever it comes, it makes man love his fellow man and seek his good; and if you have that love in your heart, it came from God, and you dwell in God.
Hobbs - “The indwelling Spirit, therefore, is not an extra experience coming at a subsequent point in the Christian’s life. At the outset, He serves as evidence that we are Christians—that God dwells in us and we in Him.”
Stott observes that "It is by the Spirit that we come to acknowledge the incarnation of the Son (cf. 1Jn 4:1–3-note and 1Cor. 12:3), and by the same Spirit that we are enabled to love (1Jn 4:12–13; cf. 1Jn 3:23–24-note). In our fallen and unredeemed state we are both blind (unable to believe) and selfish (unable to love). It is only by the grace of the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of truth and whose first-fruit is love (Gal. 5:22-note), that we ever come to believe in Christ and to love others. Emphasis on the Holy Spirit is, in fact, ‘the predominant idea of this section’ (Ebrard). This, then, is the sequence of thought: we know that we live in God and God in us ‘because he has given us of his Spirit’ (13), and we know he has given us of his Spirit because we have come to ‘acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God’ (1Jn 4:15-note), and to live ‘in love’ (1Jn 4:16-note). Some commentators make the mistake of seeing in this paragraph the conditions of our living in God and of his living in us. Belief and love are not the conditions of the indwelling, however, but the tests and evidences of it. John writes not ‘by this we live in him’, but ‘by this we know that we live in him’. The theme of this section, as of the whole letter, is ‘the grounds of assurance’ (Dodd). (The Letters of John - Tyndale New Testament Commentary)
Has given is in the perfect tense which speaks of the permanence of the Father's Gift given at the moment of regeneration. He is in us to stay, as James says (James 4:5-note), “The Spirit Who He has been caused to take up permanent residence in us.” Do you "wrestle" with the doctrine of eternal security? Note how here even the tense of the verb underscores the assurance we can have regarding our salvation. We cannot lose the gift of the Spirit. In short, genuine believers cannot lose their salvation! On the other hand, if you are continually plagued with doubts about whether you are truly saved, you would be wise to examine yourself as Paul describes in 2Cor 13:5-note.
“Hath given” is perfect tense in the Greek text. The Spirit was given the saints as a permanent gift.
NET Note on of His Spirit - The genitive of His Spirit here, like the phrase in 1Jn 3:24-note, probably reflects a partitive nuance, so that the author portrays God as ‘apportioning’ his Spirit to individual believers.
Hiebert on - The expression “of His Spirit” conveys a partitive sense, that “Christians receive from God a share (only) in the Spirit who fills the whole church.” Only of the incarnate Son could it be said in the fullest sense that He received “the Spirit without measure” (John 3:34 NASB). (The Epistles of John- An Expositional Commentary) (See also related journal article - 1 John 4:7-21 - Excellent)
Jackman on of His Spirit the partitive sense of the Spirit (as in the NET Note above) does not imply that the Spirit is divisible into parts - "This is the same mistake as thinking of the fullness of the Spirit as somehow getting more of the Spirit into us than we now have, as though we could receive Him by installments. He is a Person, one and indivisible; though we must also observe that the fact that He indwells one Christian does not mean that He cannot equally indwell all. So it is impossible for one to have 60% of the Spirit, but not at all impossible that He has less than all of us."
Indeed, we each have all of the Spirit of Christ (cp Col 2:10-note) we are ever going receive, but now the Spirit is in the process of sanctification seeking to get all of us (daily fully surrendering, giving whole hearted obedience, daily dying to self, etc), a process that will not be completed until we are glorified! O blessed day when we see Him face to face for then we will be like Him (1Jn 3:2-note)!
Henry Alford on of the Spirit - We each have the indwelling of one and the same personal Spirit, but each according to our measure, 1Cor. 12:4, 11. One only had the Spirit without measure, in all His fulness: even Christ; John 3:34. And the presence of the Holy Spirit is most aptly adduced here where love is in question, His first fruit being love (Gal 5:22-note), and His presence being tested by His fruits (1 John 4 Commentary)
Wuest on of His Spirit - “Of His Spirit” is literally, “out of His Spirit.” Paul’s words in 1Cor 12:4–11 are of help here. John in using ek “out of,” does not mean to infer that the individual saint receives only part of the Holy Spirit, for a person cannot be divided and parceled out in parts. Each saint receives the Holy Spirit Himself in His entirety. John is here referring to that which the saint experiences of the indwelling Holy Spirit, namely, the operation of the spiritual gifts. No saint is given all of them. The individual saint who is the recipient of these spiritual gifts of the Spirit receives certain ones (ek) out of the total number. But the presence of these gifts in him, shown by their outworking in his life, is also an evidence of the presence of the Spirit in him, and this latter, a proof of the fact that God dwells in that saint and that saint dwells in God.
Just a reminder - Every believer has the Spirit. We do not need to pray for the Spirit. He is present, personal and permanent. Persons lacking the Spirit are not believers as Paul plainly states in Romans 8:9 (note) "However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him." Dear believer, do not let anyone confuse you about the Spirit. He is your personal, permanent possession!
Wiersbe - Imagine the wonder and the privilege of having God abide in you! The Old Testament Israelite would look with wonder at the tabernacle or temple, because the presence of God was in that building. No man would dare to enter the holy of holies, where God was enthroned in glory! But we have God’s Spirit living in us! We abide in this love, and we experience the abiding of God in us. “If a man love Me, he will keep My words; and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him” (John 14:23). (Bible Exposition Commentary)
Brooke - The believer feels in the enjoyment of this affection that the centre of his life is no longer within himself nor on earth; because the spirit by which it is inspired, by which alone it can be inspired, is the Spirit of God. (Critical and Exegetical Commentary- 1 John 4 Commentary)
In 1John 4:13-16 we find three evidences of genuine Christianity. (1) having the presence of the Spirit (1Jn 4:13), (2) acknowledging Jesus as God's Son (1Jn 4:14, 15), and (3) abiding in love (1Jn 4:16). Throughout this epistle, John offers assorted indications of authentic Christian experience which provide a basis for assurance of our eternal security. The presence of these signs testifies to one's true spiritual condition.
Steven Cole expands John's teaching on the Spirit in 1Jn 4:13 - God’s Spirit is both the Spirit of truth (John 14:17) and the Spirit of love (Gal. 5:22-note). John has just spoken about love and he will go on to speak about the truth and love. As we saw last week, John does not separate truth from love or put love above the truth, so as to minimize or negate the truth. In 1Jn 4:13, he is going to the source of love and truth in us, namely, God’s Spirit. Note that John here does not say that God has given us His Spirit, although that is true. He says, “He has given us of His Spirit.” The Greek word means “out of.” Thus John is looking at something which God has imparted to us out of His Spirit, namely, truth (1Jn 4:14-15) and love (1Jn 4:16). In John 3, when Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about the new birth, He said (1Jn 3:6-8-note), “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 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.” The Christian life is not only a matter of subscribing to certain doctrines, although it includes that. It is not merely a matter of stopping certain sinful practices and adding certain godly ones, although it does require that. At its root, Christianity is receiving new life from the Holy Spirit. At the moment that you are born of the Spirit, He comes to indwell you. Thus Paul writes (Ro 8:9), “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” To come back to 1 John 4:13, the apostle says, “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” You may wonder, “Is this just an inner, subjective feeling that the Holy Spirit is in me?” In the context, John is saying, “Don’t focus on subjective feelings. Look for evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in your life.” You can’t see the wind, but you can see its effects. Do you see love? Do you believe and confess the truth about Jesus Christ? These are effects of the Holy Spirit in your life. These things show that God has given you of His Spirit. When you see them, you can know that you abide in Him and He in you. We could list many other effects that God’s Spirit produces in believers (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Love of God [Crossway], pp. 97-101, develops these in some detail). Here are a few: Are you concerned about the things of God? Do you have a desire to experience more of Him? Do you love God’s Word? Do you have a sense of sin, so that you recognize that you are a sinner? Do you hate your sin and struggle daily against the flesh? This inner war between the flesh and the Spirit is a sign that you have the Holy Spirit within you (Gal. 5:17-note). Do you have a living relationship with God, where you see His hand at work in your life? Do you have the sense that you may come before God as your loving Father, not as your Judge? Do you find joy in using any spiritual gifts that He has given you in ministry to others? (1 John 4:12-16 Assurance of Abiding)
Martyn Lloyd-Jones expounds on the Holy Spirit, His objective evidence in our lives and how we receive Him - I have pointed out that there are certain tests that we can apply to ourselves in order that we may know whether we have received the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit. That is the most important question for anyone in this world today....I have got to meet God, and therefore the urgent question for me is, have I received His Spirit? Am I dwelling in God, and is God dwelling in me? Now there are certain general tests that one can apply to oneself, and we have seen some already. A sense of sin, a sense of unworthiness, a realization of who Jesus Christ is and what He has done, and an increasing longing to be more like Him—an awareness of a conflict between the flesh and the Spirit, this internal warfare—the fruit of the Spirit, and the possession, perhaps, of certain of the special gifts which the Holy Spirit in His sovereignty dispenses to certain people at certain times—these are the general tests. (Life in Christ - Studies in 1 John- Martyn Lloyd-Jones)
OUR SUPERNATURAL POSITION:
Guy King discusses our supernatural position in Him - "In Him" (1Jn 4:13) - a privileged position, beyond all human comprehension, but not, thank GOD, beyond our apprehension.
You will recall that the phrase is one characteristic of Paul, who constantly uses it - "in the Lord", " in Christ". Led of the SPIRIT, he confidently affirms that all that we Christians have, or hope for, is because of our being "in Him". Such a position brings us such a plethora of graces and blessings. "We dwell in Him", says John, "and He in us", he adds; for there is, as we have seen, a reciprocal aspect about it - if the poker is in the fire, the fire is soon in the poker; if the sponge is in the water, the water is in the sponge; if the body is in the air, the air is in the body - and, to infinitely greater purpose, if we dwell in Him, He dwells in us. It is this second side of the coin that gives the value to the specie; and if only we recognize it, we shall be saved from so much spiritual collapse. Recall the low moral condition into which the Corinthian Christians had fallen, and note Paul's indication of its root cause - "What? Know ye not that....the Holy Ghost... is in you" (1Corinthians 6:19- note). With the Holy One there they ought not, and need not, be unholy; nor we!
What of the Old Home? Of the unrepentant unbeliever, the threefold record runs:
(1) "Born in sins", John 9:34 - not true of our LORD, but true of all else. Do you remember the pathetic lines of poor Tom Hood, in his Past and Present:
"I remember, I remember, the house where I was born
The little window where the sun came peeping in at morn."
Spiritually, this was it: "born in sins". If we are no longer there, let us thank GOD for the grace that moved us; but to continue,
(2) "Lived in them", Colossians 3:7-note - all we believers lived there once, and what a life of disappointment it was; what an unsafe and unsatisfactory house to be in.
(3) "Die in your sins", John 8:24 - there is the poignant Obituary Notice of the impenitent. That, then, is our original dwelling-place - in sin; until we come to be - in Him.
What of the New Home? How different from the old place. Here is love, and joy, and peace, and satisfaction, and service, and all blessing. Here we abide all the years of our earthly life - not only with Him, but in Him - until the great Removal Day when, in the mercy of GOD, we move into that other "house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens", 2Corinthians 5:1-note.
Members of the Fellowship: how infinitely privileged we are in our Position, while Here - and when There. (1 John 4:7-21 The Position of the Fellowship)