If you recall last week, we dove into the Word, and we were in Philippians 4:6-7, and we also dug into 1 Peter 5:6-7. Now, you may not remember the verses word per word, but the derived context I’ve had you consider were as follows:
(1) We pray till our fears fade, and we pray till the peace prospers.
(2) Even in the times when we find it hard to pray, we ought to know that it’s in these times that God cares for us.
Since the time I shared this, I hope and pray that you yourselves have been praying, and have found some peace as you talked to God. I have to admit that I’ve been doing some of this myself – I mean, there were times that I found myself alone in the house and it just seemed right to go ahead and pray – to talk to God like He was literally seated in the living room…
Or well, maybe not. Because I just went ahead and prayed old school, meaning I didn’t care if anyone heard me (because nobody was around anyway), I just went ahead and allowed my mind and my mouth, first and foremost to give thanks to God… and well, everything else followed. All the concerns I’ve hidden inside me regarding my family, my personal life, my friends, my ministry, all of my concerns just brought out and brought to the feet of the throne of grace, by way of me just letting it all out… I turn to writing to sort of sharpen and polish my thoughts. I write to organize what’s in my mind, to clarify concepts into ideas more solid and concrete. But I’m slowly recalling that there’s a level of efficiency to be had when you don’t just write, but you pray. In fact, I know I have it in my mind to write about so many things, but it’s about time I pray about them as well.
As soon as I spoke on the peace that goes beyond understanding, I knew that power had to follow… and there’s no better place for me to start than in 1 John 4:18.
Actually, let’s just stretch the coverage so we get the entire context of the verses:
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:15-19
Take note that I’m writing all of this for the sake of the kids who I know I will be sharing this to, but looking at this set of verses, I believe I’m going to have to go a little deeper and a little more into detail to try to get into the mind of the Apostle John.
“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”
I thank God for the ESV, simply for its feature that points me to other similar sounding verses or other passages with the same context. I thank God, especially for the latter, because in seeing other perspectives the meaning of the original verses is expanded.
Take, for instance, the first portion of the passages we’re talking about today. The ESV app leads me from 1 John to Romans 10, particularly where it says the following:
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”Romans 10:9
Two things: We’re being given a bigger picture as to what we ought to believe as Christians, and we’re seeing one perspective on what it means for us to be saved.
I know I’ve been writing about the Declaration of Faith for the congregation that I’m ministering to, and I think I ought to keep what I’m about to write in mind, especially considering this involves what we ought to believe in, straight from the Bible. It says in both passages in question that as Christians, it is vital for us to believe and therefore put additional meditation and focus on believing the following: (1) That Jesus is the Son of God, (2) Jesus is Lord, and (3) God raised Him from the dead.
“Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”1 John 5:5
When we say that Jesus is the Son of God, we are saying that He is not limited to being a mere finite personality – No. God is the Creator of all things seen and unseen as I love to keep saying, but He is also Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Why is it important at this time to say that God is three and one? He is infinite and eternal, and in His everlasting love for His creation (Father) He chose to be born as one of us, and lay down His body for us; Death could not hold Him down, and He rose from the dead, righteous unto eternal life; He ascended to the heavens, and is seated at the right hand of the Father (Son) just as He is alive in each and every one of us (Holy Spirit). To say that Jesus is the Son of God is to recognize His role in the Godhead’s redemptive work to reconcile all men to Him. To believe that Jesus is the Son of God is to acknowledge the love of the Father, and the faithfulness of the Holy Spirit.
When we say that Jesus is Lord, note that we aren’t saying Jesus Christ is A Lord, implying only a portion of our lives under His power and/or influence. No, we say that this Jesus, who is the Son of God, IS Lord – He is THE Lord, as He is the Lord of Lords – Creator who has full power, influence, authority and responsibility over each and every aspect of our being, over all our existence. To that note, to say that God raised Him from the dead is to acknowledge just how much power He has – power to drain all the death that our sin deserved, and to walk out, victorious, for He is righteous, and righteous unto eternal life. To say that He rose from the dead is to say that sin and death are finite and powerless compared to an infinite and everlasting God.
And, indeed – who is it that overcomes this world riddled with sin and death, except the one who believes in Jesus, the Son of God, the Lord who rose from the dead?
Folks, this is Jesus, whose painting we’ve seen in churches, and whose figure is portrayed as crucified in hospital rooms, whose likeness is by and large misunderstood, and often raised to ridicule, by other entities trying to be THE Lord of Lords, only to miss the mark each and every time. This is Jesus, and though the world would try to give Him a bad name, their thoughts of Him would never be smeared, for His glory can never be contained by our finite minds – no, better than this, He is literally alive in each and every one of us who are saved. It is as it was mentioned – if you piece the latter parts of 1 John 4:15 and 1 John 5:5, we can consider that we are saved because God abides in us, and we abide in God; consequently, we abide in God, and God abides in us, because we are saved. Better than any portrayal by the media, more precise than what worldly wisdom could piece together – The Light of the World is shone the brightest and the most accurate, in each and every one of us who, again, have considered and given belief to Jesus being the Son of God, the Lord, and the One who rose from the dead.
“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.”
Folks, how do we know that God loves us? And how DOES God love us? What’s the love that God has for us? Well, consider that we would know the answer to these questions for ourselves as we continue to appreciate how we abide in God, and how God abides in us.
First of all, we know that God loves us – it’s seen and proven in Christ, who left the infinite glory of heaven to be born as a finite man, just like us. He was willing to go this far for us, and more – He lived with us, ate like us, laughed with us, wept with us, enjoying us just as we would come to enjoy Him… but He was willing to go even further. By laying down His life, and rising from the dead and ascending into heaven He guaranteed that He wouldn’t just be close to the disciples who were physically close with Him and had most of His attention; no, He gave it all up if only to reconcile us to God, and much so that we would be as close to Him as He would be close to us. We know God loves us because Jesus gave it all for us to be saved; He knew we didn’t deserve it, but He committed Himself anyway… again, because of His great mercy and love for us.
His love for us was why He was committed to leaving the infinite glory of heaven. He loved us, and He loved us so much that He wasn’t content to live with us, but He was committed to die for us – and He was committed to die for us, because He was committed to be with us forever.
That’s the love God has for us. That’s HOW God loves us. He wants us to be with Him forever, and He wants to be with us forever, and this was guaranteed, through the finished work of His only Son, Jesus Christ. We who have once been separated from Him by sin, are now reconciled to Him, brought as close as we could ever be to each other, all because of Jesus. And because of Jesus’ infinite wisdom, eternal power and everlasting love for us demonstrated through His birth, death, resurrection and ascension, now absolutely nothing can ever separate us from His love.
Indeed, it’s impossible for us to know the love that God has for us without giving serious consideration to the Truth that Jesus is the Son of God, He is Lord, and He rose from the dead. But on the flip side, the moment that we do come to believe in Christ, not only would we KNOW the love that God has for us – the passage also implies that if we believe in Jesus, then we consequently believe in the love God has for us; But I dare say that in our believing, we would not only be satisfied with mere belief, but man, we’d be so overwhelmed and brought into sheer awe of this great, spectacular, and everlasting Love!
At this time, let me pause. I just want to take some time to day that it’s just so beautiful, how we could extract all of this from the Scripture. I hold fast to my belief of Christ being our Living Word, who adds Life and meaning to the words we read when we meditate on the Bible. He’s certainly been faithful to me today… and this is just the first part of the set of verses. Apparently I’ll need to take more time to tackle all of it, and then eventually condense it, because this is what I plan on sharing to the kids on Friday, God willing.
Friends, I am thankful that you took the time up until this last paragraph – unless you skipped all the way to here, which is fine as well. Either way, I speak blessings to you, and I pray that you continue to find motivation and inspiration in the love of the Lord. Until next post, be blessed.
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