“And we know that the Son of God is come and hath given us an understanding that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true even His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”
The Holy Spirit inspired John to write this very kind and loving letter to his ‘little children’ to set forth the proof of the truth of the gospel. The brethren were experiencing very difficult times with the persecution and reviling they were receiving from friends and family. They had forsaken all and followed the leadership of the Spirit and instead of finding peace in this world they found trials and tribulations. John begins by re-establishing that this is not some new and cunningly devised fable in search of a following but rather it is the manifestation of the Word of Life. He writes to them for their joy, for their fellowship and for their watchfulness that they sin not. He does not mean to intimate that they could somehow alter the natural man and overcome the corruption of the flesh but rather that they would understand that they are under no obligation to attempt to measure up to the standard of holiness of the law since it was fulfilled in Christ, the propitiation of our sins. To ignore this truth and attempt to keep the law is unrighteousness and sin but for the child of grace, born from above, to keep the commandments of God (2:3) is for the house of Jacob to walk in the light of the Lord (1:7 & Is. 2:5).
John sets forth axioms for each of the elect to consider and find peace in. He makes no application of assurance except for those who meet the criteria of the axioms. He does not say that all who think or reason within themselves that they walk in the light are walking with Jehovah. He said “if we walk in the light as He is in the light” (1:7) leaving no room for Adam who loves the darkness for his deeds are evil. Adam loves the darkness lest his works be reproved by the light so this has nothing to do with man.
He does not say that as we endeavour to keep the commandments of God we will understand that we are in Him but rather there can be no exception. Te child of grace keeps the commandments of God with all his heart, with all his souls and with all his might (Deut. 6:5) perfectly and hereby do we know that we are in Him. If one is not in the Father, he cannot keep the commandments because he has not the Spirit of God which the Father gives to each of His children, causing them to walk in the light.
But how do we know that it is the Spirit of God? “Every Spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God” (4:2). He did not say that every man that makes this confession. Every professing religionist of the world will give verbal platitudes to God and Jesus and yet every man is a liar so it is not a matter of what comes forth across the lips of man but what is the testimony of the Spirit. Now if the Spirit has been called forth to give testimony and He confesses that the anointed salvation of Jehovah has come forth in the flesh, then He also testifies that the fullness of time has come, all that were given to Him have been redeemed and He has finished the work in righteousness and is seated at the right hand of the Father. Any spirit that is not the Spirit of God cannot and would not acknowledge such precious truth for it is the spirit of anti-chirst. Whatsoever is anti the Messiah is of the world and in the world but the child of grace has overcome them because, “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” (4:4).
These that are of the world speak the language of the world and those with the ears of the world hear their words. This is the voice of the stranger which Jesus said His sheep would not only not listen to but would flea from. They have not the Word of God, cannot speak the things of Zion and their ears have been made dull of hearing (Is. 6:9) so that they cannot hear the Word of the Shepherd. “Why do ye not understand My speech? Because ye cannot hear my words” (John 8:43). They have not the Spirit, they are none of His and they have the spirit of error. This is a spirit of wandering and instability with no sure anchor in a sure place that is tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14).
But the beloved children are of God. He hears His people and His Spirit testifies to the Spirit within, from faith to faith, of the surety of the immutability of God. This is the Spirit of truth because He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Because He has loved His people with an eternal love (Jer. 31:3), His people love one another because His love dwells in them. Every one who has this love is born of God and knows Him as He knows the Son and the Son knows Him. It is the same love wherewith the Father sent the Son to be the propitiation for the sin of His people and since He loved His people in this manner so they love each other in the same way. This is the proof of the indwelling of the Spirit of God and the fullness of the Godhead. Anyone who does not love his brother as himself does not dwell in the Godhead, the Godhead does not dwell in them and they have not the Spirit of God. But the testimony of that Spirit within is that the Father sent His Son the Savior of the world and He is the Son of God.
Now if the proof was a simple speaking of words and lip service to the phrases, we must conclude that the scripture is in error for millions this day make the same confession and believe it. But and since, the world does not hate, despise and reject these minions of trained mouth pieces and condemn them as fools, they must not be singing the songs of the redeemed. The indwelling love of the beloved if made complete because “as he is, so are we in this world” (4:17). The world cannot cast off the cornerstone but accept the building. It cannot call the Great Rock in a weary land, common; and call those hewn from that Rock, precious; and it cannot be deaf to the Words of Life from the mouth of the Savior but find life in the carnal words of Adam. They cannot prove faith by that which is seen and they cannot prove the tangible by faith. The poor outcast child of the King is loved first by the eternal love of the Father which is foreign to the world. They return that same love to the Father and to their brethren by His commandment and the power of His Spirit and they are despised for eating with and receiving sinners. Is this not what Messiah was accused of? And did not the world reject Him? Why then should His people who have the mind of Christ in them, be treated any other way.
All of these proofs come not by sight or by the will of man. The Son of God, who is come, not who has come or is coming again, but >IS come has furnished His people with the faculty, feeling, desire and spirit to have a better way of thinking than that of the flesh. He has removed the old manner of thinking “Wherein in times past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience; among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lust of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind (way of thinking) and were by nature children of wrath even as others” (Eph.2:3). He has removed that old heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh and He has written His law upon the inward parts, that new faculty for thinking, and His indwelling Spirit causes His people to walk after and keep His commandments. This has nothing to do with the flesh.
The proof of which John writes, that ye may know ye have eternal life, is the testimony of Jesus Christ within, that expectation of glory, for which the beast and all his people are wroth with the daughters of Zion (Rev. 12:17). The manifestation of this inward truth is the outward hatred of the world for one who IS born from above and since he that dwells within, or tabernacles with His people (Rev.21:3), will never leave nor forsake His people, then His people shall be hated of all men until the time of this habitation be over. This is the truth of the true God and this is eternal life.
Brethren beware of the need of the flesh for the tangible so as to find comfort and security, this is idolatry.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
January 8, 2012