Abiding in God’s Love

Recap 1 John 1-3

John testified that Jesus Christ was from the beginning, he was the word of life, the eternal life who was with the Father from the beginning, who became man, who the apostles/disciples saw and touched and heard. John was proclaiming the message they had heard from Jesus.

“God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn 1).

“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected” (1 Jn 2).

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 Jn 2).

“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous” (1 Jn 3).

1 John 4:13-15 ESV

“By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”

If you read these verses here out of context of 1 John, as a whole, you might get a different impression of what the author is saying here than you would if you read these words in the whole context of 1 John. For, you can’t just claim you have the Spirit and therefore you have Christ. You can’t just make a verbal confession that Jesus is the Son of God, and therefore that means God abides in you and you in him.

We must NOT walk (conduct our lives, in practice) in darkness (sin), but we must walk (live our lives) in the light (truth, righteousness, Jesus Christ). For if we claim to have fellowship with God, but we are still walking (habitually) in sin, then we are liars who don’t live by the truth.

We must keep (obey, put into practice) his commandments (his instructions to us under the New Covenant in the New Testament). For, if we say we know Jesus, but it is not our practice to obey his instructions to us, which are written down for us, his followers, in the New Testament, then we are liars if we say we know him. A verbal confession of him is not enough.

If we love (prefer, choose) the world of sin over Jesus Christ by how we live our lives – if we hunger after what is of the flesh over that which is of God and of his righteousness, then the love of God is NOT in us. But it is whoever is doing the will of God who abides with Christ forever.

If we make sinning our practice, then we don’t know the Lord, and he does not abide in us or us in him. Now, this is not saying that we will never sin again (see 1 Jn 2:1-2), and it isn’t saying that we can’t ever wander from our pure devotion to Jesus Christ, for a time (see Rev 2-3), and need to be brought back to repentance. But if we confess Jesus as Lord and yet we keep on living in sin, then we don’t know him.

Also, our righteousness is not just a status we have now that we are saved from our sins and we have eternal life with God. It is he who practices righteousness who is righteous in God’s sight. But this is not self-righteousness. This is putting Christ’s righteousness into practice in our daily lives by the Spirit, by God’s grace, in his strength and power.

1 John 4:16-18 ESV

“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.”

So, the word “love” here is not human love but divine love. It is a love which prefers what God prefers and which centers in moral preference. Since it comes from God, it is a love which is pure, honest, unadulterated, just, righteous, holy, unselfish, and giving of oneself to the needs of others.

If we are in genuine relationship with Jesus Christ by God-given and God-persuaded faith in him, then God abides in us, and thus his love also abides in us, and we can and should put that love into practice in our daily lives.

So, when this says that whoever abides in love abides in God, this is speaking of those who live in God’s love, who love others with the love of Christ, who do not make sin their practice, but whose practice is righteousness and godliness, by God’s Spirit.

It is speaking of those who love others as God loves us and gave his life up for us. This is not human love which makes compromises with the world and which will lie to people to make them feel good about themselves. This is a love which speaks the truth in love and which has the same concern for the salvation of human lives as God does.

Therefore, we can have confidence on the day of judgment because we are living in obedience to our Lord, we are not walking in sin, our passions (preferences) are for the things of God and not for the things of this world, and because righteousness is what we practice, by God’s Spirit. For this is what it means to abide in love, to be like Jesus in the world.

[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-32; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Tit 2:11-14; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10]

Songs in the Night

An Original Work / December 18, 2013

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84

Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.

I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!

Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.

I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!

Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.

Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!

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