Friday, September 21, 2012

1st John Chapter 3 Part 14

3:24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
It is only those Christians who keep the Lord’s commandments that truly abide in Christ. Likewise, Jesus abides in such saints. Jesus said that if someone loved Him they would keep His word; this would be a visible sign to the saints and the world that the love of God abides in them, John 14:23.

There is an interesting similarity to the OT commandment that we should love God with all of our heart, soul, and strength, Deuteronomy 6:5. When God is given the preeminence in a believer’s life blessing is the result; we have ordered our life aright and God is free to bless our lives and works, for they are done in Him. Jesus promised the Father and the Son would abide in such a person, and there would be a reciprocal love relationship between God and that believer, demonstrated by their circumspect walk of faith.

John continues to press home the certainty of knowing; in this case knowing that Jesus abides in us. John  wrote earlier that we may know that we know God in that we keep His commandments, 1st John 2:3. We may know that we have passed from death to life in that we love fellow Christians, 1st John 3:14. We know love because Jesus laid down His life for us, 1st John 3:16. We know we are of the truth because we love in deed rather than word, 1st John 3:18-19. This word “know” is used many times in John’s little epistle. The version of the word we are presently looking at is “ginosko” in the Greek and means to understand completely or absolutely. The second Greek word is “eido” and means “to know be perception.” We are presently concerned with “ginosko” which is used in this verse when John writes that hereby we know (ginosko) that Jesus abides in us. We may be absolutely assured of this fact, John is saying. How? Not by our works, but by the reception of Christ’s indwelling Spirit.

We read: “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, his is not His,” Romans 8:9. A man or woman may only be God’s if God’s Spirit is given to them. How does this occur? Paul also answers this important and necessary question for us. “This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Galatians 3:2. To clarify, the apostle tells us in another epistle what this “hearing of faith” is. “In [Jesus] you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,” Ephesians 1:13. So the Holy Spirit’s reception is given upon hearing the word of truth, or the gospel of our salvation. What is this gospel? “Moreover brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,” 1st Corinthians 15:1, 3-4.

John writes that a believer may be assured of their salvation by the outcome of its efficacy. Spiritual fruit reaped from the new life within us is a sure sign that we have been born again through faith in Jesus Christ, 1st John 3:14, 19. But John is presently focusing on the matter of God’s fidelity toward the believer. The Holy Spirit is a witness within that we are children of God. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God…the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” Romans 8:14, 16. We have received the Spirit of adoption, who gives us the privilege and the right to call God our Father, Romans 8:15. The reception of the indwelling Spirit is surety of future immortality (1st Corinthians 15:50-53) and assurance of present eternal life, John 7:37-39; Titus 3:5-7. God Himself has stated for our comfort and hope, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” and again, “Lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:20.


  1. The attitudes described as the fruit of the Spirit produce an desire to obey God that the unsaved don't have. Obedience is thus the result of salvation rather than a means to attain or keep it. As a result the Christian doesn't have to work at being and doing good, he just instinctively is. As Galatians 5:16 says, "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."

  2. As someone put it to me a long time ago, God isn't looking to make an apple tree flourish and produce better apples; He's looking to take an apple tree and make it an orange tree. God is looking for fruit formerly foreign to us, but which should be supplied naturally now because He has made us into a vessel capable of bearing it; something the unsaved cannot do. Thanks for the insights, dfish. I appreciate your comments as always.


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