Note: this post was accidentally published Wednesday morning around 5 a.m. and then promptly removed. I apologize if you have already read this or had problems with the link.
If you ask people if they love Jesus and what is the evidence of their love, you would get a variety of answers. Some would say that they go to church frequently or are church members. Others would say that they love their fellow man and do no harm to others; maybe some would say they fast certain things during the year or that they pray. Some would say they go on pilgrimages to holy sites, give of their money or keep their denominational traditions.
In the Gospel of John, the Lord Jesus told us how He determines if we really love Him or we are just honoring Him with our words, but our hearts (who we really are) are far from Him. Listen to what He said in John 14: 21 (Wuest Expanded Translation):
“He who has my commandments and habitually keeps them, that one is he who is loving me with a divine and self-sacrificial love.”
On this blog we have quoted the Apostle John in I John numerous times writing about habitually practicing righteousness. John was at the last supper when Jesus said this. That is where he received this truth.
Lord Jesus goes on to describe what happens when we habitually keep His commandments:
“And he who is loving me thus, shall be loved with this same kind of love by my Father, and I shall love him with a divine and self-sacrifical love, and I shall disclose myself to him.” (22)
God the Father poured out this kind of love on the world (John 3:16) when He sent His Son to the cross to bear the guilt and penalty of our sins. And He continues to do so when we are obedient to the gospel and are born again.
But there is more. His disciples thought that Jesus was about to “disclose” Himself as the conquering Messiah to the nation of Israel. The mother of James and John had already approached Jesus about her two sons being seated in places of honor in His messianic court. So one of the disciples asked Him why He was going to disclose Himself to them and not the whole world. Here is His reply:
“Answered Jesus and said to him, If anyone as a habit of life loves me with a divine and self-sacrificial love, my word he will keep, and my Father will love him, and to him we shall come, and an abiding place with him we shall make for ourselves. He who is not habitually loving me with a divine and self-sacrificial love, my words he is not keeping. And the word which you are hearing is not mine but belongs to Him who sent me, the Father.” (23-24)
Now this is very amazing! The God of the universe is going to come and abide in us. How does this happen?
“This things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. And the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my Name, that One will teach you all things and recall to your mind all things which I spoke to you.” (25-26)
In Acts 2: 38 the people cried out , “What shall we do”, after hearing the first gospel message. Peter told the Passover crowd to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. These people were obedient to the gospel message and the Holy Spirit set them apart (i.e. sanctified them) to the Lord Jesus and they were sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (Ephesians 1). In other words, the Lord Jesus and The Father came and made their abode with these converts through the Holy Spirit. And God does the same for us when we are obedient to the gospel message.
This is what the Apostle John is telling us in I John 1: 3-4 when he writes:
“…what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. (NASB)
Amazing! We born again believers in Jesus Christ have the privilege of fellowshipping with God Almighty today and everyday. John goes on to tell us how our behavior affects this fellowship. I John 1: 5-10 says the following:
“And it is the message which we have heard from Him and at present is ringing in our ears and we are bringing back tidings to you, that God as to His nature is light, and darkness in Him does not exist, not even one particle. If we say that things in common we are having with Him, and thus fellowship, and in the sphere of the aforementioned darkness are habitually ordering our behavior, we are lying, and we are not doing the truth. But if within the sphere of the light we are habitually ordering our behavior as Himself is in the light, things in common and thus fellowship we [the believer and God] are having with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son keeps continually cleansing us from every sin.”
“If we say that [indwelling ] sin we are not having, ourselves we are leading astray [nobody else], and the truth is not in us. If we continue to confess our sins, faithful is He and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from every unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned and are now in a state where we do not sin, a liar we are making Him, and His word is not in us.” (Wuest Expanded Translation)
The reason John is telling us this he states next in I John 2: 1:
“My little children … these things I am writing to you in order that you may not commit an act of sin. And if anyone commits an act of sin, One who pleads our cause we constantly have facing the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One. ” (Wuest Expanded Translation)
In closing, two things.
First, is there enough evidence in my life to convict me of really being in love with Jesus, per His definition, or am I a hypocrite like the people in Mark 7:6 to which the Lord said:
“And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.
In Luke 6:46 Jesus asked the question “And why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?
Secondly, the Apostle John is telling the born again believer that our indwelling sinful nature, though we are dead to it, has not been eradicated from our being. Therefore, we will occasionally sin and, when we do, we need to confess that sin to maintain fellowship with our Father. (Notice I said fellowship and not relationship. Because of our faith in the work of Christ on the Cross, our relationship is secure with the Father.)
He not only immediately forgives us
but the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness, i.e. habitual sins of ignorance that we are walking in but are not aware of yet. What a merciful God!!!
My friends, it all boils down to a simple question for everyone: Is Christ Lord of your life?
I hope you enjoy the fellowship with your heavenly Father and His Holy Son today. Walk in the light as He is in the light.