Yesterday I began my deep dive into 1 John 4:15-19, and we’ve covered this much Scripture so far:
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.
Just as a recap – more for myself, really – There’s simply so much to be had, so much implied when we say that we believe that Jesus Christ is no ordinary man, but the only begotten Son of God.
First of all, while we’re talking about it, it’s not as if we aren’t familiar with this sort of thinking; why, we’ve been deifying other people since the beginning of time, and when we say that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, well, we’re sort of saying that we’re committed to believing that He is more than anyone says He is, and more than we could ever imagine. I don’t know why I wanted to go ahead and say this but I felt it had to be shared. I’d say that anyone who calls himself a Christian is someone who has given some attention; at the very least – we’ve the smallest amount of consideration to believe in Him – and let me tell you, even if it was as small as a mustard seed, entire mountains in our own lives have been moved – every aspect of our lives, turned upside down.
For we established, by 1 John 4:15-16 and Romans 10:9, that if we believed that Christ is who He says He is, if we believed He is the Son of God, it would eventually follow that we would see His absolute superiority over all that is finite; we would behold how He is the Lord of Lords, infinitely superior to anyone and anything that would try to claim any sort of power, influence and authority over us and all aspects of our being.
We confess that He is the Son of God, and we would see His greatness – He is Lord of Lords.
Furthermore, if we believed that Christ is who He says He is, and if we believed He is the Son of God, not only would we see His Lordship; In my own experience – which may not necessarily be precisely the same as how you would be taught and tutored by the Holy Spirit – The word I choose is ‘reasonable’; as in, I found it only reasonable for Christ to rise from the dead, being infinitely superior to all that is finite, He is therefore greater than death, and I believe it was but natural for Him to walk out of the grave, alive. To say that Christ is the Son of God is not only to believe in His Lordship, but to also acknowledge that, in His greatness, He chose to forsake His glory; To say that He rose from the dead is to say that He was willing to (1) be born as one of us and to (2) lay down His life as a propitiation for all our sins. It was all for our sake, and it was because He loved us THAT much.
We confess that He is the Son of God, and we would see His goodness – God raised Him from the dead.
It’s because of His greatness and goodness that He committed to love us.
It’s because of His love that we see His greatness and goodness.
By the power of the Holy Spirit we have been led to confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and as such, we have been saved. What does it mean to be saved? It means that this God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – infinitely good and eternally great, overflowing in everlasting love – THIS God abides in us, and we abide in Him; Much so that it says in Romans 8:39 that through Jesus Christ, NOTHING can ever separate us from the everlasting love of our God, whom we call our Father.
And so, indeed, we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.
All this, and all I wanted to do was just to do a recap. But it’s time to move on. Let’s keep going, because I believe there’s so much more to be gotten from this tiny portion of Scripture.
God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in Him.
We just acknowledged how God loves us with an everlasting love; He said it in Jeremiah 31:3, and He fulfilled it through Christ’s death and continues to express it through Christ’s life. But here we see that it’s not just that God LOVES us… No, God IS Love.
It’s not enough to say that this great and good God has a great and good love for us, and that it’s in His nature to love – No, the Holy Spirit has revealed to John, who in turn reveals to us, and God HIMSELF is love!
I’m led to recall something I said some time last year – You can’t talk about God without talking about love, and you can’t talk about love without taking about God; and, sure as we believe in Christ, whom we have been brought to believe is God’s expression of His infinite and eternal love for us, so we abide in love, and because God is love, so we abide in Him… and He abides in us.
For the longest time I’ve merely relied on semantics to explain the other side of Romans 8:39 – That is, that because of Jesus Christ, nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Today, however, on top of semantics, I could say that the second part of 1 John 4:16 is the other side of the coin: because of Jesus Christ, we abide in love, and since God is love, so we abide – we cannot be separated, we are always connected to God.
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.
Up to this moment I’ve stated that Jesus Christ is God’s expression of His infinite and eternal love for us… I’ve said that it was infinite and borderless, eternal and never-ending… but more than this, it is perfect. And if you’ve been faithfully and patiently combing through my babble I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned my struggle earlier – of how it is to explain that the state of perfection isn’t a static one, in the sense that it is always growing, and it is always overflowing. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t make sense, just as much as we would say that a full glass isn’t overflowing – but really, shouldn’t it be overflowing? I mean, would it be overflowing if it wasn’t full?
Either way, it was through Jesus Christ and His finished work that we have been brought to a union with God, who is so close to us that we are able to live and move and have our being – in Him, through Him, and with Him – even in this finite world. By the salvation guaranteed to us by Jesus Christ, who we believe is the Son of God, we are therefore brought to believe that we have been reconciled to the Creator of the Universe – and, in fact, we have been so reconciled that nothing can separate us from God, who is love, just as we are ALWAYS connected to Him.
I believe this would in turn cause us to overflow with awe, wonder, worship, and all sorts of other emotions and related actions… but one thing that we’re all sure to feel is confidence – that’s right, because we have been brought to believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who, by His finished work, has (1) connected us to and (2) guaranteed that we will never be separated from God, we can be confident at the ‘the day of judgment’ – in my mind, the end and culmination of time and all things finite and created.
At this time I do want to touch base on what I think about where it is mentioned – ‘as He is so also are we in this world’.
I used to make a lot out of this little bit of scripture – and didn’t we all? I’d feel a headache and ‘meditate’ on the claim that as Christ is perfectly healthy, so I am healthy. As Christ is prosperous, so I could subtly expect prosperity for myself, and according to my terms. And, okay, sure – my point in bringing this up is not to bash yet another finite analysis of infinite wisdom (whoops, I just did), I’m sure it’s okay.
No, I mean it. We used to make a huge thing about it in church, where we would either re-word or proclaim an outright ban on songs that – well, didn’t match what ‘theology’ we had as a community at the time. But I’m learning that nobody wins if you argue against it – after all, you never know if it’s still something that someone out there would need at the time you sing it. Same thing with the declarations we make – if you believe and claim that Christ is powerful and therefore you are powerful in this world, then I’d rather not argue with you.
Instead, I’d respect you by acknowledging your claim, maybe even encourage you, but in the process, I’d respect you even more by sharing my take in the matter – and my take on ‘as He is so also are we in this world’ is to look at in and meditate on it, not only through the lens of grace, but in the context of all that’s been discussed before this. We should probably be more hasty to claim that as God loves unconditionally, and as God abides in me, and I abide in God, so I am also able to love unconditionally in this world. As Christ enjoys me, far more than I say I enjoy Him, so I am able to throw all things aside and enjoy the company of others, here in this world.
In fact, I’d like to go further than love, because it’s the first of many more fruits of the Holy Spirit, as shared in the book of Galatians. As God is love, so also we are love in this hateful world.
As we have been secured with peace, so we also move towards peace in this anxious world.
As Christ has and is patient with us, so we also endure with longsuffering in this impatient world.
As we have been led to find exceeding joy, so we also live for others to find the same joy in Christ.
As God continues to be faithful, and as Christ is faithful to us even when we are faithless, so we are also able to not only stay faithful but also to find the good in any situation that would otherwise break a person’s faith.
Are we enjoying this as much as I am?
As God is so kind to us, so we can be kind in this selfish world.
As God is good, and good to us all the time, so we can stand to be good even as the rest of the world pushes us to be otherwise.
And as God has exhibited self-control over us, just as Christ showed self-control in His condemnation and crucifixion, so we are able to not only control ourselves, but to be in perfect peace, even in this world out of control.
Christ has demonstrated that God is Love, and He has guaranteed that Love abides in us, and we abide in God. Because Christ was judged, we are confident in the day of judgment, because as God is love, so also we are love in this world. For a moment I was tempted to give another elaboration, but I’ll let that marinate, not only for you, dear reader, but for me as well.
I’d like to keep on going, but I think I’ll end here, for now. Until the next post, be blessed, and know that you are loved.
God bless you.
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