February 26, 2014
I John 4:10-14
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Another nose of many for the Apostle John! Well, another thing John knows – is absolutely sure about – is in verse 13 of I John 4:10-14:
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to
be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to
love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another,
God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that
we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we
have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.
John could be called the apostle of love. Love of God and of one another, truth in the person of Jesus and the written Word, and the indwelling Holy Spirit are all tied up together in his epistles. And – as stated before in John’s Nose! – I, his Knows in one form or another occur 42 times in I John alone! He is absolutely sure of the things about which he writes, and we should be absolutely sure of such things also!
Let’s start at the end of the passage above, verse 14: “…we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.” John has had an advantage that we today do not have. That advantage is put forth in I John 1:1 and 2: “…we have heard…we have seen with our eyes…we have looked upon…our hands have handled…the Word of life [Jesus the Christ] — the life was manifested, and we have seen it….” John was one of the first two disciples who met Jesus (see John 1:35 through 39), so he spent almost all of the Lord’s three and a half year ministry with Him. No wonder John can be so sure!
But we have an advantage that John did not have! We have the full revelation of God’s Word, the Bible. Yes, it was all written but the book of Revelation and perhaps II and III John by the time the apostle wrote his first epistle, but the 27 books of the New Testament were not officially recognized or ‘canonized ’ until the Council of Carthage in 397 AD. Some scholars say it was canonized earlier. The 27 books of the New Testament were being circulated in one form or another as early at the middle of the second century, but John did not have the complete New Testament as we have!
The point is that we have the complete Bible in many editions, translations and paraphrases. We have also two thousand years of recorded study by great Christian minds on many theological subjects. We have much supporting evidence from archeology and other sciences. Yes, we also have ‘seen’ Jesus, perhaps more clearly than some who heard Him, saw Him and handled Him.
Having seen Jesus, we also are to testify concerning the Savior to those who are lost. And we are to share His Lordship with those who already know Him, encouraging one another to walk more and more in obedience to Him.
It is interesting that John points out in verse 12 that “No one has seen God at any time.” He is talking about the Trinitarian God who, according to John 4:24, “…is Spirit….” Paul tells us in I Timothy 6:16 that God dwells “…in unapproachable light whom no man has seen or can see….” But because the Son of God has come in human flesh, Jesus could say, “…he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.” (John 12:45). “For in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9).
This God who occupied human flesh in the person of Jesus – this same God who is pure Spirit apart from the incarnation – this same God in the person of the Holy Spirit was sent to indwell us and abide with us forever, and we abide in Him! How do we know this? John lists three things which he has been emphasizing throughout his first epistle:
• I John 4:12 – “If we love one another, God abides in us….” We are “…to love one another [because] …God so loved us…” (I John 4:11). Because agape love (see the February 17 blog – John’s Nose! – VI) has its source in God, it is proof that He “…abides in us.”
• I John 4:12 – “…His love has been perfected in us.” Perfected – or perfect – love is described in I John 4:10: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” He loves us so much that He died to make the only sacrifice – John calls it propitiation in verse 10 – acceptable for our sins.
• I John 4:13 – “…because He has given us of His Spirit.” We have God within us! Paul describes the Holy Spirit as imparting into us “…the fulness of Him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:23).
…all three – loving one another, God’s perfected love in us, and His indwelling Holy Spirit prove that we are one with Jesus Christ!
The first two are the result of the third, and all three are to be evident in our lives. We are to be one with one another and with God through Jesus Christ – as the Lord prayed in the Garden in John 17:21: “…that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us….”
If we live this truth out, then the last part of John 17:21 will be realized: “…that the world may believe that You sent me.” Isn’t that why God has left us in this old world even after we have been saved? So let’s fulfill God’s purpose for us!