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f the truth is equally true,
usness of this dwelling in it is known. But it is he Apostle teaches it as a lever. These might have copriating these statements is fact judges the excuse.
But God dwells in every s Son of God, and he in ent for a timid believer. one. The Apostle returns God as outside ourselves, ppear, and with whom we is love perfect with us (in ness for the day of judgsuch are we in this world. more complete assurance us himself. He who will righteousness. We are in og to which He will judge.
But observe us before God that this is for our life, and as being
r: there is confidence. If me I do not fear him. If I ect of his affection, I may - may even fear himself. always tend to destroy my
be loved by him. There e two affections—there is e, then, banishes fear; for t is not the enjoyment of irs does not know perfect e mean by “perfect love"? heart of that which God is, t we dwell in Him. The uch as Christ is. But that is love, and we enjoy Him love and confidence are in
our hearts; and we have rest. That which I know God is that He is love and love to me, and nothing els but love to me, because it is Himself who is so. There fore there is no fear.
If we enquire practically into the history, so to speak of these affections—if we seek to separate that which in its enjoyment is united, because the divine nature in us which is love, enjoys love in its perfection in God, Hi love shed abroad in the heart by his presence, therefore we wish to specify the relationship in which our hearts find themselves with God in regard to this—here it is, love him because he first loved us." It is grace and it must be grace, because it is God who is to be glorified.
Here it will be worth our while to notice the order of this remarkable psssage (7-10). We possess the nature of God, consequently we love; we are born of Him and we know him. But the manifestation of love towards us in Christ Jesus is the proof of that love; it is thus that we know it (11-16); we enjoy it by dwelling in it. It is present life in the love of God, by the presence of His Spirit in us; the enjoyment of that love by communion, in that God dwells in us, and we thus dwell in Him (17); His love is perfected with us; the perfection of that love, viewed in the place that it has given us-we are, in this world, such as Christ is (18, 19); it is thus fully perfected with us--love to sinners, communion, perfection before God, gives us the moral and characteristic elements of that love, what it is in our relationship with God.
In the first passage, where the Apostle speaks of the manifestation of this love, he does not go beyond the fact that one who loves is born of God. The nature of God, which is love, being in us, he who loves knows Him, for he is born of Him, has His nature and realises what it is.
It is that which God has been with regard to the sinner, which demonstrates His nature of love. Afterwards, that which we learnt as sinners, we enjoy as saints. The perfect love of God is shed abroad in the heart, and we dwell in Him. As already with Jesus in
teis world, fear has no place in one to whom the love of God is a dwelling-place and rest.
Verse 20. The reality of our love to God, fruit of His love to us, is now tested. If we say that we love God and do not love the brethren, we are liars; for if the divice nature so near us (in them), does not awaken our spiritual affections, how then can he who is afar off do so? Accordingly, this is His commandment, that he who loves God, love his brother also.
Love for the brethren proves the reality of our love for God. And this love must be universal, must be in exercise towards all Christians, for whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and he who loves a person will love one who is born of him. And if the being born of him is the motive, we shall love all that are born of him.
But a danger exists on the other side. It may be, that we love the brethren because they are pleasant to us; they furnish us with agreeable society, in which our conscience is not wounded. A counter proof is therefore given us. “ Hereby we know that we love the children of God, if we love God and keep his commandments.” It is not as children of God that I love the brethren, unless I love God, of whom they are born. I may love them individually as companions, or I may love some among them, but not as the children of God, if I do not love God Himself. If God Himself has not His true place in my heart, that which bears the name of love to the brethren shuts out God; and that in so much the more complete and subtle a manner, because our link with them bears the sacred name of brotherly love.
Now there is a touchstone even for this love of God, namely, obedience to His commands. If I walk with the brethren themselves in disobedience to their Father, it is certainly not because they are His children that I love them. It was because I loved the Father and because they were His children, I should assuredly like them to obey Him. To walk then in disobedience with the children of God, under the pretext of brotherly love, is not to love them as the children of God. If I loved
them as such, I should love their Father and my Father, and I could not walk in disobedience to Him, and call it a proof that I loved them because they were His.
If I also loved them because they were His children, I should love all who are such, because the same motive engages me to love them all.
The universality of this love with regard to all the children of God: its exercise in practical obedience to His will: these are the marks of true brotherly love. That which has not these marks is a mere carnal party spirit, clothing itself with the name and the forms of brotherly love. Most certainly I do not love the Father, if I encourage His children in disobedience to him.
Now there is an obstacle to this obedience, and that is the world. The world has its forms, which are very
far from obedience to God. When we are occupied only with Him and His will, the world's enmity soon breaks out. It also acts, by its comforts and its delights, on the heart of man as walking after the flesh. In short, the world and the commandments of God are in opposition to each other; but the commandments of God are not grievous to those who are born of Him, for he who is born of God overcomes the world. He possesses a nature and a principle which surmount the difficulties that the world opposes to his walk. His nature is the divine nature, for he is born of God; his principle is that of faith. His nature is insensible to the attractions which this world offers to the flesh, and that because it has outside this world an independent spirit, an object of its own, which governs it. Faith directs its steps, but faith does not see the world nor that which is present. Faith believes that Jesus, whom the world rejected, is the Son of God. The world, therefore, has lost its power over it. Its affections and its trust are fixed on Jesus, who was crucified, owning Him as the Son of God. Thus the believer, detached from the world, has the boldness of obedience, and does the will of God which abides for ever,
The Apostle sums up in a few words the testimony of God respecting the life eternal which He has given us.
This life is not in the first Adam, it is in the second
in the Son of God. Man does not possess it, does not acquire it. He ought, indeed, to have gained life under the law. This characterised it, “Do this and live.” But man did not and could not.
God gires him eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life, and he who has not the Son, has not life.
Now what is the testimony rendered to this gift of life eternal? The witnesses are three: the Spirit, the water and the blood. This Jesus, the Son of God, is he who came by water and by blood. Not by water only, but by water and by blood. The Spirit also bears witness because He is truth. That to which they bear witness is that God has given us eternal life, and that this life is in His Son. But whence did this water and this blood How? It was from the pierced side of Jesus. It is the judgment of death pronounced and executed (compare Rom. viii. 3), on the flesh, on all that is of the old man, on the first Adam. Not that the sin of the first Adam was in the flesh of Christ, but that Jesus died in it as a sacrifice for that sin. “In that He died, He died unto sin once.” Sin in the flesh was condemned in the death of Christ in the flesh. There was no other remedy. The desh could not be modified nor subjected to the law. The life of the first Adam was nothing but sin in the principle of its will; it could not be subject to the Law. Our purification as to the old man is its death. He who is dead is freed from sin. We are, therefore, baptised to have part in the death of Jesus. crucified with Christ, nevertheless we live, but not we, it is Christ who lives in us. Participating in the life of Christ risen, we reckon ourselves as dead with Him, for why live of this new life, this life of the second Adam, if we could live before God in the life of the first Adam ? No; by living in Christ we have accepted, by faith, the sentence of death, passed by God on the first Adam. This is Christian purification: even the death of the old man, because we are made partakers of life in Christ Jesus. “We are dead,” crucified with Him. We need a perfect purification before God—we have it for that which was impure no longer exists.