1 John 4:14-16, “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”
Now John, as one of the appointed Apostles, asked to follow Jesus, attests in this first verse that he and the other disciples, Apostles have not just heard that the Father sent the Son as Savior, but actually witnessed that very fact of what we now call is the Christian foundation. In this short verse, the Beloved Apostle states that as a witness, the Father’s motive was to send His only begotten Son, to be Savior, Redeemer, Payment and Sacrificial Lamb for mankind as a whole.
John is not telling us this is unsubstantiated theory or conjecture, but as a matter of factual evidenced as seen through the works and words demonstrated by Jesus Himself as they traveled and lived with Him. John is making it clear, that coming from himself and the other disciples, this is not second-hand hearsay, but rather first hand, eyewitness accounts of the truth!
Think of this; in this short sentence John is describing that what he witnessed and saw in the form and demonstrations of Jesus was Jesus’ relationship to our Heavenly Father, He, Jesus is the Son of the Father. As Son, He comes in the Father’s authority and as stated in previous lessons, He only says and does what the Father tells Him to say and do. (John 12:49-50).
Jesus’ relationship to those to whom the Father sent, was AND still is to this day, Savior and Redeemer to the whole world of mankind and to each of us as individuals within that realm of mankind.
The Father’s mission, as it were, was to send the Son to a world fallen from His (the Father’s) Grace and His relationship due to man’s inherent sin, to Save AND Redeem Him back into that relationship of mercy and grace. Again, as shown in lessons before, the Son’s desire was and is to fulfill the Father’s wishes.
Let me take a step sideways here for a brief moment concerning Salvation and Redemption. Too many only believe that Jesus came that we might be saved so that we can go to Heaven. We are constantly taught about the joys and benefits of Heaven. We are given descriptions as to what we might expect in the Heavenly Kingdom, streets of Gold, in other words, pavement; walls comprised of jewels, again, in other words, building materials. Things that people covet in this life, but in the Eternal life are going to be as common and nothing more than building materials. The value and the treasure will not be in those things as great as they might seem.
Remember this, Heaven is JUST a place! Now don’t get me wrong, I am not belittling the magnificence of the place that Jesus stated He was going to prepare for us, but even at that, it will still be an abode, a some-THING. The real treasure, the REAL Prize, will be being ONE with our Savior and Redeemer for Eternity, an heir and having a never-ending relationship with our Creator and Father THROUGH the Gift of that Oneness with Christ!! Jesus Christ came to Save and Redeem us, not to a place alone, but to our Heavenly Father! That is the real and true treasure!
I remember after being born again in the early 70s singing that song, “Mansion Over The Hilltop.” It was catchy and upbeat but it didn’t take me long to realize, wait a second, that precious gold will be nothing more than paving stones to be trod underfoot. What’s so special about paving stones, gold or otherwise?! You see, it’s all a matter of focus. What is our spiritual eyes, heart and spirit focused on? I WANT, I YEARN, and especially as I have gotten older, to be in the presence of my Heavenly Father and to be One with Christ Jesus, my Redeemer! I’ve always joked with my wife and she with me, just give us a rustic log cabin by the flowing River of Life and we’ll be happy as long as we are in the presence of the Lord!
Things just don’t matter to us as we have gotten older and matured. People do. Yeah, when you’re young, you think of all the things you would like to acquire as a sign of being successful, but when you live life without many of those things, you truly do appreciate what matters most. Family, friends and loved ones and especially as you get older in this life, Brothers and Sisters in the Lord who share your same dreams of an eternal life.
Okay, so I hope you realize the Father’s mission was to send His Son to Save and Redeem us to Himself so that we can have the Father – child relationship that He initially created us for.
As I stated before, the Apostle loves to go back and forth almost like he’s leap-frogging over a subject. He’ll go two or three steps forward and then take a step back to reiterate and remind the reader of something he stated earlier and he builds a foundation this way in his teaching.
In verse 15, he is doing this again; “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” Now remember in the previous verses we studied, John states almost the exact same thing, in 1 John 4:2, “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, . . .” and what we studied last time, “By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” – 1 John 4:13.
But this time the Apostle is building upon the foundation that he laid before. We know that if we confess Jesus Christ in the flesh is of God, we have and know His Spirit and we know because of that same Spirit that He has given us that we then abide in Him and He in us. But notice now what John has added; very similar to verse two, but rather than JUST a confession that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and is of God, now he also states that whoever confesses that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. So we confess and believe that Jesus Christ IS the Son of God, but that as the Son of God, He also came to us in the flesh FROM God! To think or confess anything else is the spirit of antichrist. BUT, on the other hand, to believe and confess this demonstrates to us and the world that God DOES abide in us and we DO abide in God!
Now I want to spend a little time on this thought of confession or confessing this truth, but before we do, I wanted to share a little something I read a while ago in an article about the concept of “God abiding in us and we abiding in God.” Some people look at that and think circular reasoning, it doesn’t make sense, and although trying to describe something in the spiritual with something natural is never perfect, sometimes it lets us see or get a picture of the concept in our minds.
What I read goes kind of like this and I don’t remember the article or the exact words, but you might compare it to, “a hot poker in a fire, or a sponge submerged in the water, or a balloon filled with air floating in the air around it.” To a degree, that is what we are looking at when we say that “God abides in us, yet at the same time, we abide in Him.”
Now back to the subject of confessing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, come to mankind in the flesh from God. When we talk about this type of belief, or when we speak out this belief in the form of confessing what we believe, we are NOT talking merely as an intellectual acknowledgement. We are stating a fact IN FAITH, and yet not just analytically. It would be like confessing that two multiplied by two equals four. We know that to be an intellectual and analytical fact because we can work it out through equation. We know that Jesus was an historical figure a few decades before the Jewish revolt with the Romans around 70 A.D. That is an intellectual fact. As witnessed by John and the other disciples approximately 40 years earlier though that this same Jesus WAS God’s Son come in the flesh and died as our Savior and Redeemer is attested too by John and others as eyewitnesses to His deeds and proclamations. That is not JUST intellectual fact, but based on factual testimony or also Faith-based facts. “The proof is in the pudding,” so to speak. The facts based on eyewitness testimony passed down by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit speaks to the truth of that.
This confession that we attest to and acknowledge is the same that the Apostle Paul wrote about to the Romans, “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” – Romans 10:8-10. Paul explains what he means by confession. Paul is reiterating what Jesus spoke of in the latter part of the verse in Luke 6:45, “For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” What you truly, sincerely believe in comes first from the heart and it is then that the lips speak it. This Spiritual Principle has been proved countless times over and over again and still is proven even in this day and age!
So, just as Paul explains that we SHALL be saved by a righteous and sincere confession, so John is telling us that by that same confession we KNOW, beyond a shadow of any doubt, that “God DOES abide in us and we DO abide in Him,” when we believe and confess it.
Here in this next verse, the Beloved Apostle does what he always does so well, he again reminds us by continuing on with the thought in the verse we just discussed, “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” AND, that is the continuation from verse 15. We know “God abides in us and we abide in Him AND, ALSO, we have known and believed the love that God has for us.”
He has already established the fact of abiding in God and God in us, but he adds to it, like he so often does, by reminding us that we all, not just the Apostles and disciples now, but all of us abiding in, have known and experienced AND believed the love that God, our Father has shown and demonstrated to us. It is a fact, it is not hearsay, it is first-hand experience that we have been privy to God’s love and the knowledge of that love He has for all of us. I love this next part and I quote it so often in so many things I write and teach on, “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” As you remember, this hearkens back to the previous verses, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” – 1 John 4:7-8.
I know, as I stated, John always moves forward, but goes back to re-establish a theme he is teaching us on. With a subject matter such as God’s love towards each of us, why wouldn’t we want to absorb that concept as much as we possibly can?! I want you though to take this one step further; when we abide in God and He abides in us, we are like that sponge I mentioned and His love is like the water surrounding us. It is not just surrounding us, but it is actually immersed within us. Where does the water end and the sponge truly begin? When we are immersed IN God’s love, and His love is immersed IN us, where does love end and we as a vessel begin? In truth, isn’t this actually what surrendering to God’s will is all about. When we can truly be like that vessel surrounded and inundated with God’s love, what is it or what will it be that people will see? They will only see God’s Love. This is the example He sent us in the form, in the flesh of His only begotten Son! Christ Jesus is our example!
Have we come to the point in our lives, where God’s love (remember He IS love) fills us so completely and surrounds us so completely that we can say as Jesus did, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.” – John 14:10, (John 12:49-50). I know that is what I am striving for, what I am pressing onward towards. I’m not there yet, but I am looking forward to that as the goal, the prize, as the Apostle Paul calls it.
When we have that kind of love filling us to overflowing and we are truly abiding in it, then we can also love one another as we are supposed too. When you have that kind of abiding, it can’t help but overflow to others. It is just as Jesus stated as recorded by John, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” – John 7:38-39.
To those of you reading this today, Jesus HAS been glorified, He HAS ascended to the Father, the Holy Spirit HAS been given, it is long past time to break that dam surrounding the reservoir of your heart and let the Living Waters overflow to others and to the world! Let the world see God’s love surrounding you, encompassing you and overflowing from inside you!