Wednesday, November 7, 2012
1st John Chapter 4 Part 7
4:12-13 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
John is clearly referring to the Father at this point. Jesus said, “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father,” John 6:46. The Son was incarnated and clearly visible to those who walked with Him, and through the Son we see the Father, John 14:9. It is said in the Scriptures that Jesus is the image of the invisible God, Colossians 1:15.
Nor can man see God in His deity and live according to Scripture, Exodus 33:20. God in His deity cannot be seen or even approached, 1st Timothy 1:17; 6:16; Hebrews 11:27. But Christ Jesus, mediator between God and man, has taken on a body. And though glorified and awe-inspiring to behold, He has been seen and can be approached, Matthew 17:1-2; Revelation 1:13-17.
Before continuing let’s first recall a very similar statement Jesus gave the night of His arrest. We read: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you,” John 15:4-7.
This passage, like the one in John’s gospel, deals with the issue of fellowship between the Christian and God. John wrote a short while earlier in the epistle, saying, “Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us,” 1st John 3:24. One command from Christ our Lord was to love one another, so John asserts that the saint who practices love toward his fellow Christian has God dwelling in him. More than that, the love relationship in the Christian community—each saint serving and giving preference to the others—perfects God’s love in us. This only makes sense, since God is a trinity of persons living in harmonious love and fellowship with each other. If this was not the case, then the dynamic of Christians loving one another and perfecting godly love makes no sense. The Father glorifies the Son, the Son does nothing without the Father, and the Holy Spirit takes of what is theirs and reveals it to us; there is synchronous unity in the Godhead. I believe this touches on what Jesus meant when He prayed, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You have given Me I have given them, that they may be one just as we are one,” John 17:20-22.
The presence of the Holy Spirit given to the believer when they receive eternal life is another piece of evidence John uses to indicate that the Christian abides in God. Refer back to 1st John 3:24 once more and you will find that the apostle mentioned this already; the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is a means of assurance and comfort to the believer. The Holy Spirit does a number of things on our behalf; one invaluable thing is to testify with our spirits that we are children of God, Romans 8:16. He also helps us in our temptations and prayers to God, since it is the Spirit of God alone who knows the mind of God, Romans 8:26-27; 1st Corinthians 2:10-11. The Spirit yearns to witness for Christ on this earth, just as the Son in His earthly ministry witnessed of the Father. If we are obeying our Lord’s commands and abiding in Him, the Holy Spirit is the light inside of us, drawing lost souls to Jesus Christ through our ministry.
It is our privilege and pleasure to serve with God in this way; to demonstrate God’s love for a lost world today by revealing Jesus Christ and His sacrifice to the unsaved. Our lives must first reflect our Lord by conduct conformed by belief; then our ministry will be more than words; it will have the Holy Spirit’s convicting power to save and transform lives; something we cannot do. Only God is capable of this. Without Him we are capable of nothing, John 15:5.