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born of God, is a partaker of His nature. Also, he knows God, for he knows what love is, and who is its fulness. This is the doctrine which makes everything depend on our participation in the divine nature.

Now this might be transformed into mysticism, by leading us to fix our attention on our love for God and by seeking to fathom the divine nature in ourselves. In effect, he who does not love (for the thing is expressed in an abstract way), does not know God, for God is love. The possession of the nature is necessary to the understanding of what that nature is, and for the knowledge of Him, who is its perfection. But it is not to the existence of the nature in us that the Spirit of God directs the thoughts of the believers as their object. God, He has said, is love ; and this love has been manifested towards us in that He has given His only Son, that we might believe through Him. The proof is not the life in us, but that God has given His Son in order that we might live. God be praised ! we know this love, not by the poor results of its action in ourselves, but in its perfection in God, and that even in its manifestation towards us. It is a fact outside ourselves which is the manifestation of this perfect love.

The full scope of this principle and all the force of its truth are stated and demonstrated yet more plainly in that which follows. Herein is love, not that we have loved God, but in that He has loved us and has given His Son to make propitiation for our sins. Here, then, it is, that we have learnt that which love is. It was perfect in Him when we had no love for Him. Perfect in Him, in that He exercised it towards us when we were in our sins and sent his Son to be the propitiation for them. The apostle then affirms, no doubt, that he who loves not knows not God. The pretension to possess love is judged by this means; but in order to know love we must not seek for it in ourselves, but must see it manifested in God when we had none. which loves, and He has made propitiation for our sins,

And now with regard to the enjoyment and the privileges of this love. If God has so loved us—this is the ground he takes--we ought to love one another.



He gives the life


No one has ever seen God: if we love one another God dwells in us. One can understand this. How is it that I love strangers from another land, persons of different habits whom I have never known, more intimately than members of my own family after the flesh? How is it that I have thoughts in common, objects infinitely loved in common, affections powerfully engaged, a stronger bond, with persons whom I have never seen, than with the otherwise dear companions of my childhood? It is because there is in them and in me a source of thoughts and of affections which is not human. God is in it. God dwells in us. What happiness! What a bond! Does He not communicate Himself to the soul? Does He not render it conscious of His presence in love? Assuredly, yes.

And if He is thus in us, the blessed source of our thoughts, can there be fear, or distance,

or uncertainty, with regard to what he is? None at all . His love is perfect in us.

We know Him as love in souls.

The apostle has not yet said “We know that we dwell in Him. He will say it now.

But, if the love of the brethren is in us, God dwells in us. When it is in exercise, we are conscious of the presence of God, 23 perfect love in us.

It fills the heart, and thus is

Now this is the effect of the presence of His Spirit as the source and power of life and nature in us. He has given us not “ His Spirit,” the proof that He dwells in us, but “of His Spirit ;" we participate by His presence in us, in divine affections through the Spint

, and thus we not only know that He dwells in 95, but the presence of the Spirit, acting in a nature which is that of God in us, makes us conscious that te dwell in Him.

The heart rests in this, and enjoys Him, and is hidden from all that is outside Him, in the consciousness of the perfect love in which (thus dwelling in Him), one finds oneself

. The Spirit makes us dwell in God and gives us thus the consciousness that He dwells in us.

compare ver. 12 of this chapter (iv.) with ver. 18, chap. i. of the gospel by John, we shall better apprescope

of the Apostle's teaching here. The same


exercised in us.

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difficulty, or, if you will, the same truth, is possessed in both cases.

No one has ever seen God. How is this met? In John i. 18, the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. He, who in the most perfect intimacy, in the most absolute proximity, and as the one, eternal, absorbing object that knew the love of the Father as His only Son, has revealed Him unto us as He has Himself known Him. What is the answer in our epistle to this same difficulty? " If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and His love is perfected in us." By the communication of the divine nature and by the dwelling of God in us, we inwardly enjoy Him, as He has been manifested and declared by His only Son. His love is perfect in us, known to the heart, as it has been declared in Jesus. The God who has been declared by Him dwells in us. What a thought! that this answer to the fact that no one bas ever seen God, is equally that the only Son has declared Him, and that He dwells in us. What light this throws upon the words “ Which thing is true in Him and in you !

"d for it is in that Christ has become our life, that we can thus enjoy God and His presence in us by the powers of the Holy Ghost.

We see also the distinction between God dwelling in us and we in God, even in that which Christ says

of Himself. He abode always in the Father and the Father in Him; but He says " The Father who dwelleth in me, He doeth the works.” Through His word the disciples ought to have believed in them both; but in that which they had seen-in His works—they had rather seen the proof that the Father dwelt in Him. They who had seen Him had seen the Father. But when the Comforter was come, at that day they should know that Jesus was in His Father—divinely one with the Father.

He does not say that we are in God nor in the Father, d. This gives us, too, in their highest character and subject the difference between the gospel and epistle.

• The only expression in the word that has some resemblance to it is the church of the Thessalonians, which is in God the Father.” This is addressed to a numerous corporation, in quite another sense.


but that we dwell in Him, and that we know it, because He has given us of His Spirit

. We have already noticed that He says (iii. 24) hereby we know that He (God) abideth in ús because He has given us His Spirit. Here he adds, we know that we dwell in God, because it is not the manifestation, as a proof, but-communion with God Himself. We know that we dwell in Him always, as a precious truth-an unchangeable fact. Sensibly

, when his love is active in the heart. Consequently, it is to this activity that the Apostle immediately turns, by adding, “and we have seen and do testify, that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” This was the proof, for every one, of that love which the Apostle enjoyed—as all believers do-in his own heart. It is important to notice how the passage thus first presents the fact of God's dwelling with us, then the effect, 25 He is infinite, of our dwelling in Him, and then the realisation of the first truth, in conscious reality of

And here comes in a principle of deep importance. It might

, perhaps, be said that this dwelling of God in us and our dwelling in Him, depended on a large measure of spirituality, the Apostle having, in fact, spoken of the highest possible joy. But although the degree in which we intelligently realize it is, in effect, a matter of spirituality, yet the thing in itself is the portion of Every Christian. It is our position, because Christ is our life and because the Holy Ghost is given us. “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him and he in God.” How great the grace of the Gospe!! How admirable our position, because it is in Jesus that we possess it. The Apostle explains this high position by the possession of the divine nature - the essential condition of Christianity. A Christian is one who is a partaker of the divine nature. But the knowledge of our position does not flow from the consideration of this truth, but of that of God's own love, as we have already seen. And the Apostle goes on to say " We have known and believed the love that God hath to us." This is the source of our knowledge and enjoyment of these privileges, so sweet and so marvellously exalted, but so simple and so real to to the heart when they are known.

We have known love, the love that God has for us, and we have believed it. Precious knowledge ! by possessing it we know God; for it is thus that He has manifested Himself. Therefore can we say,

“God is love." There is none besides. Himself is love. He is love in all its fulness. He is not holiness, He is holy; but He is love. He is not righteousness; He is righteous.

By dwelling, then in love, I dwell in Him, which I could not do unless He dwelt in me, and this He does. Here he puts it first, that we dwell in Him, because it is God Himself who is before our eyes, as the love in which we dwell. Therefore, when thinking of this love, I say that I dwell in Him, because I have in my heart the consciousness of it by the Spirit. At the same time, this love is an active, energetic principle in us, it is God Himself who is there. This is the joy of our positionthe position of every Christian.

Verses 14 and 16 present the twofold effect of the manifestation of this love.

First. The testimony that the Father has sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world, Quite outside the promises made to the Jews (as everywhere in John), this work is the fruit of that which God Himself is. Accordingly, whosoever confesses Jesus to be that Son, enjoys all the fulness of its blessed consequences.

Second. The Christian has believed for himself in this love, and he enjoys it according to its fulness. There is only this modification of the expression of the glorious fact of our portion—that the confession of Jesus as the Son of God is primarily here the proof that God dwells in us, although the other part of the truth equally says that he who confesses Him dwells also in God.

When speaking of our portion in communion, as believing in this love, it is said, that he who dwells in love dwells in God; for, in effect, that is where the heart

Righteousness and holiness suppose relationship with other beings good and evil ; thus evil to be known, rejection of evil

, and judgment.

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