10-17-2004, 09:48 PM
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You have just told me: "you cannot recognize the Spirits of God that way."
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I hope you're joking. Are you just looking to argue? Read the rest of the chapter! That is very basic common sense.
Stop with the sloppy eisegesis.
I can back up my statement with the records of the greatest scholars:
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1 John 4
Verse 1. Believe not every spirit - Whereby any teacher is actuated. But try the spirits - By the rule which follows. We are to try all spirits by the written word: "To the law and to the testimony!" If any man speak not according to these, the spirit which actuates him is not of God.
Verse 2. Every spirit - Or teacher. Which confesseth - Both with heart and voice. Jesus Christ, who is come in the flesh, is of God - This his coming presupposes, contains, and draws after it, the whole doctrine of Christ.
Verse 3. Ye have heard - From our Lord and us, that it cometh.
Verse 4. Ye have overcome these seducers, because greater is the Spirit of Christ that is in you than the spirit of antichrist that is in the world.
Verse 5. They - Those false prophets. Are of the world - Of the number of those that know not God. Therefore speak they of the world - From the same principle, wisdom, spirit; and, of consequence, the world heareth them - With approbation.
Verse 6. We - Apostles. Are of God - Immediately taught, and sent by him. Hereby we know - From what is said, 1 John iv, 2-6.
Verse 7. Let us love one another - From the doctrine he has just been defending he draws this exhortation. It is by the Spirit that the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. Every one that truly loveth God and his neighbour is born of God.
Verse 8. God is love - This little sentence brought [censored]. John more sweetness, even in the time he was writing it, than the whole world can bring. God is often styled holy, righteous, wise; but not holiness, righteousness, or wisdom in the abstract, as he is said to be love; intimating that this is his darling, his reigning attribute, the attribute that sheds an amiable glory on all his other perfections.
Verse 12. If we love one another, God abideth in us - This is treated of, 1 John iv, 13-16. And his love is perfected - Has its full effect. In us - This is treated of, 1 John iv, 17-19.
Verse 14. And in consequence of this we have seen and testify that the Father sent the Son - These are the foundation and the criteria of our abiding in God and God in us, the communion of the Spirit, and the confession of the Son.
Verse 15. Whosoever shall, from a principle of loving faith, openly confess in the face of all opposition and danger, that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him.
Verse 16. And we know and believe - By the same Spirit, the love that God hath to us.
Verse 17. Hereby - That is, by this communion with God. Is our love made perfect; that we may - That is, so that we shall have boldness in the day of judgment - When all the stout-hearted shall tremble. Because as he - Christ. Is - All love. So are we - Who are fathers in Christ, even in this world.
Verse 18. There is no fear in love - No slavish fear can be where love reigns. But perfect, adult love casteth out slavish fear: because such fear hath torment - And so is inconsistent with the happiness of love. A natural man has neither fear nor love; one that is awakened, fear without love; a babe in Christ, love and fear; a father in Christ, love without fear.
Verse 19. We love him, because he first loved us - This is the sum of all religion, the genuine model of Christianity. None can say more: why should any one say less, or less intelligibly?
Verse 20. Whom he hath seen - Who is daily presented to his senses, to raise his esteem, and move his kindness or compassion toward him.
Verse 21. And this commandment have we from him - Both God and Christ. That he who loveth God love his brother - Every one, whatever his opinions or mode of worship be, purely because he is the child, and bears the image, of God. Bigotry is properly the want of this pure and universal love. A bigot only loves those who embrace his opinions, and receive his way of worship; and he loves them for that, and not for Christ's sake.
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Now, to make use of this last proof, caution was required, for many false prophets would assume, and even in the time of the apostle had already assumed, the semblance of having received communications from the Spirit of God, and insinuated themselves among the Christians. It was necessary therefore to put them on their guard, by giving them the sure mark of the real Spirit of God. The first of these was the confession of Jesus come in the flesh. It is not merely to confess that He is come, but to confess Him thus come. The second was that He who really knew God hearkened to the apostles. In this way the writings of the apostles become a touchstone for those who pretend to teach the assembly. All the word is so, doubtless; but I confine myself here to that which is said in this place. The teaching of the apostles is formally a touchstone for all other teaching-I mean that which they themselves taught immediately. If any one tells me that others must explain or develop it to have the truth and certainty of faith, I reply, "You are not of God, for he who is of God hearkens to them; and you would have me not to hearken to them; and whatever may be your pretext, you prevent my doing so." The denial of Jesus come in the flesh is the spirit of Antichrist. Not to hear the apostles is the provisional and preparatory form of the evil. True Christians had overcome the spirit of error by the Spirit of God who dwelt in them.
The three tests of true Christianity are now distinctly laid down, and the apostle pursues his exhortations, developing the fullness and intimacy of our relationships with a God of love, maintaining that participation of nature in which love is of God, and he who loves is born of God-partakes therefore of His nature, and knows Him (for it is by faith that he received it) as partaking of His nature. He who loves not does not know God. We must possess the nature that loves in order to know what love is. He then who does not love does not know God, for God is love. Such a person has not one sentiment in connection with the nature of God; how then can he know Him? No more than an animal can know what a man's mind or understanding is when he has not got it.
Give especial heed, reader, to this immense prerogative, which flows from the whole doctrine of the epistle. The eternal life which was with the Father has been manifested and has been imparted to us: thus we are partakers of the divine nature. The affections of that nature acting in us rest, by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the enjoyment of communion with God who is its source; we dwell in Him and He in us. The first thing is the statement of the truth in us. The actings of this nature prove that He dwells -that, if we thus love, God Himself dwells in us. He who works this love is there. But He is infinite and the heart rests in Him; we know at the same time that we dwell in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. But this passage, so rich in blessing, demands that we should follow it with order.
He begins with the fact that love is of God. It is His nature: He is its source. Therefore he who loves is born of God, is a partaker of His nature. Also he knows God, for he knows what love is, and God is its fullness. This is the doctrine which makes everything depend on our participation in the divine nature.
Now this might be transformed on the one hand into mysticism,- by leading us to fix our attention on our love for God, and love in us, that being God's nature, as if it was said, love is God, not God is love, and be seeking to fathom the divine nature in ourselves; or to doubt on the other, because we do not find the effects of the divine nature in us as we would. In effect, he who does not love (for the thing, as ever in John, is expressed in an abstract way) does not know God, for God is love. The possession of the nature is necessary to the understanding of what that nature is, and for the knowledge of Him who is its perfection.
But, if I seek to know it and have or give the proof of it, it is not to the existence of the nature in us that the Spirit of God directs the thoughts of the believers as their object. God, he has said, is love; and this love has been manifested towards us in that He has given His only Son, that we might live through Him. The proof is not the life in us, but that God has given His Son in order that we might live, and further to make propitiation for our sins. God be praised! we know this love, not by the poor results of its action in ourselves, but in its perfection in God, and that even in a manifestation of it towards us, which is wholly outside ourselves. It is a fact outside ourselves which is the manifestation of this perfect love. We enjoy it by participating in the divine nature; we know it by the infinite gift of God's Son. The exercise and proof of it are there.
The full scope of this principle and all the force of its truth are stated and demonstrated in that which follows. It is striking to see how the Holy Spirit, in an epistle which is essentially occupied with the life of Christ and its fruits in us, gives the proof and full character of love in that which is wholly without ourselves. Nor can anything be more perfect than the way in which the love of God is here set forth, from the time it is occupied with our sinful state till we stand before the judgment-seat. God has thought of all: love towards us as sinners, verses 9,10; in us as saints, verse 12; with us as perfect in our condition in view of the day of judgment, verse 17. In the first verses, the love of God is manifested in the gift of Christ; first, to give us life-we were dead; secondly, to make propitiation-we were guilty. Our whole case is taken up. In the second of these verses the great principle of grace, what love is, where and how known, is clearly stated in words of infinite importance as to the very nature of Christianity. Herein is love, not that we have loved God (that was the principle of the law), but in that He has loved us, and has given His Son to make propitiation for our sins. Here, then, it is that we have learnt that which love is. It was perfect in Him when we had no love for Him; perfect in Him in that He exercised it towards us when we were in our sins, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for them. The apostle then affirms, no doubt, that he who loves not knows not God. The pretension to possess this love is judged by this means; but in order to know love we must not seek for it in ourselves, but seek it manifested in God when we had none. He gives the life which loves, and He has made propitiation for our sins.
And now with regard to the enjoyment and the privileges of this love:-if God has so loved us (this is the ground that He takes) we ought to love one another.
No one has ever seen God: if we love one another, God dwells in us. His presence, Himself dwelling in us, rises in the excellency of His nature above all the barriers of circumstances, and attaches us to those who are His. It is God in the power of His nature which is the source of thought and feeling and diffuses itself among them in whom it is. One can understand this. How is it that I love strangers from another land, persons of different habits, whom I have never known, more intimately than members of my own family after the flesh? How is it that I have thoughts in common, objects infinitely loved in common, affections powerfully engaged, a stronger bond with persons whom I have never seen, than with the otherwise dear companions of my childhood? It is because there is in them and in me a source of thoughts and affections which is not human. God is in it. God dwells in us. What happiness! What a bond ! Does He not communicate Himself to the soul? Does He not render it conscious of His presence in love ? Assured]y, yes. And if He is thus in us, the blessed source of our thoughts, can there be fear, or distance, or uncertainty, with regard to what He is? None at all. His love is perfect in us. We know Him as love in our souls: the second great point in this remarkable passage, the enjoyment of divine love in our souls.
The apostle has not yet said, "We know that we dwell in him." He will say it now. But, if the love of the brethren is in us, God dwells in us. When it is in exercise, we are conscious of the presence of God, as perfect love in us. It fills the heart, and thus is exercised in us. Now this consciousness is the effect of the presence of His Spirit, as the source and power of life and nature, in us. He has given us, not here "his Spirit"--the proof that He dwells in us, but "of his Spirit;" we participate by His presence in us in divine affection through the Spirit, and thus we not only know that He dwells in us, but the presence of the Spirit, acting in a nature which is that of God in us, makes us conscious that we dwell in Him. For He is the infiniteness and perfection of that which is now in us.
The heart rests in this, and enjoys Him, and is hidden from all that is outside Him, in the consciousness of the perfect love in which (thus dwelling in Him) one finds oneself. The Spirit makes us dwell in God, and gives us thus the consciousness that He dwells in us. Thus we, in the savour and consciousness of the love that was in it, can testify of that in which it was manifested beyond all Jewish limits, that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. We shall see further another character of it.
If we compare verse 12 of our chapter 4 with chapter 1:18 of the Gospel by John, we shall better apprehend the scope of the apostle's teaching here. The same difficulty, or if you will, the same truth is presented in both cases. No one has ever seen God. How is this met?
In John 1:18 the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. He who is  in the most perfect intimacy, in the most absolute proximity and enjoyment of the Father's love, the one eternal, sufficient object that knew the love of the Father as His only Son, has revealed Him unto men as He has Himself known Him. What is the answer in our epistle to this same difficulty? "If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us." By the communication of the divine nature, and by the dwelling of God in us, we inwardly enjoy Him as He has been manifested and declared by :His only Son. His love is perfect in us, known to the heart, as it has been declared in Jesus. The God who has been declared by Him dwells in us. What a thought! that this answer to the fact that no one has ever seen God is equally, that the only Son has declared Him, and that He dwells in us. What light this throws upon the words, "which thing is true in him and in you!"  For it is in that Christ has become our life that we can thus enjoy God and His presence in us by the power of the Holy Ghost. And from this we have seen that the testimony of verse 14 flows.
We see, also, the distinction between God dwelling in us and we in God, even in that which Christ says of Himself. He abode always in the Father, and the Father in Him; but He says, "The Father who dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." Through His word the disciples ought to have believed in them both; but in that which they had seen-in His works -they had rather seen the proof that the Father dwelt in Him. They who had seen Him had seen the Father. But when the Comforter was come, at that day they should know that Jesus was in His Father-divinely one with the Father.
He does not say that we are in God, nor in the Father,  but that we dwell in Him, and we know it, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have already noticed that He says (chap. 3:24) "hereby we know that he God abideth in us, because he has given us his Spirit." Here he adds, We know that we dwell in God, because it is-not the manifestation, as a proof, but-communion with God Himself. We know that we dwell in Him, always as a precious truth-an unchangeable fact; sensibly, when His love is active in the heart. Consequently it is to this activity that the apostle immediately turns by adding "and we have seen and do testify, that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." This was the proof for every one, of that love which the apostle enjoyed-as all believers do-in his own heart. It is important to notice how the passage thus first presents the fact of God's dwelling in us, then the effect (as He is infinite), our dwelling in Him, and then the realisation of the first truth in conscious reality of life.
We may remark here that, while God's dwelling in us is a doctrinal fact and true of every real Christian, our dwelling in Him, though involved in it, is connected with our state. Thus chapter 3:24, "He that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him." Chapter 4:16, "He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him."
Love one to another is indeed taken as the proof that God is there, and His love is perfected in us-this to contrast the manner of His presence with that of Christ. (John 1:18) But, what we thus know is dwelling in Him and He in us. In each case this knowledge is by the Spirit. Verse 15 is the universal fact: verse 16 brings it fully up to its source. We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. His nature is there declared in itself (for we joy in God); God is love, and he who dwells in love dwells in God and God in him. There is none anywhere else: if we partake of His nature, we partake of it, and he who abides in it abides in God who is the fullness of it. But then remark that while what He is is insisted on, His personal being is carefully insisted on. He dwells in us.
And here comes in a principle of deep importance. It might perhaps be said that this dwelling of God in us and our dwelling in Him depended on a large measure of spirituality, the apostle having in fact spoken of the highest possible joy. But although the degree in which we intelligently realise it is in effect a matter of spirituality, yet the thing in itself is the portion of every Christian. It is our position, because Christ is our life, and because the Holy Ghost is given us. "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him and he in God." How great the grace of the gospel! How admirable our position because it is in Jesus that we possess it! It is important to hold fast this, that it is the portion of every Christian, the joy of the humble, the strongest reproach to the conscience of the careless.
The apostle explains this high position by the possession of the divine nature-the essential condition of Christianity. A Christian is one who is a partaker of the divine nature, and in whom the Spirit dwells. But the knowledge of our position does not flow from the consideration of this truth, though it depends on its being true, but of that of God's own love, as we have already seen. And the apostle goes on to say "We have known and believed the love that God has to us." This is the source of our knowledge and enjoyment of these privileges, so sweet and so marvelously exalted, but so simple and so real to the heart when they are known.
We have known love, the love that God has for us, and we have believed it. Precious knowledge! by possessing it we know God; for it is thus that He has manifested Himself. Therefore can we say, "God is love." There is none beside. Himself is love. He is love in all its fullness. He is not holiness, He is holy; but He is love. He is not righteousness; He is righteous.
By dwelling then in love I dwell in Him, which I could not do unless He dwelt in me, and this He does. Here he puts it first, that we dwell in Him, because it is God Himself who is before our eyes, as the love in which we dwell. Therefore, when thinking of this love, I say that I dwell in Him, because I have in my heart the consciousness of it by the Spirit. At the same time this love is an active energetic principle in us; it is God Himself who is there. This is the joy of our position-the position of every Christian.
Verses 14 and 16 present the twofold effect of the manifestation of this love.
First, the testimony that the Father has sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Quite outside the promises made to the Jews (as everywhere in John), this work is the fruit of that which God Himself is. Accordingly whosoever confesses Jesus to be that Son enjoys all the fullness of its blessed consequences.
Secondly, the Christian has believed for himself in this love, and he enjoys it according to its fullness. There is only this modification of the expression of the glorious fact of our portion-that the confession of Jesus as the Son of God is primarily here the proof that God dwells in us, although the other part of the truth equally says that he who confesses Him dwells also in God.
When speaking of our portion in communion, as believing in this love, it is said, that he who dwells in love dwells in God; for in effect that is where the heart is. Here also the other part of the truth is equally true; God dwells in him likewise.
I have spoken of the consciousness of this dwelling in God, for it is thus only that it is known. But it is important to remember that the apostle teaches it as a truth that applies to every believer. These might have excused themselves for not appropriating these statements as too high for them; but this fact judges the excuse. This communion is neglected. But God dwells in every one who confesses that Jesus is Son of God, and he in God. What an encouragement for a timid believer! What a rebuke for a careless one!
The apostle returns to our relative position, viewing God as outside ourselves, as Him before whom we are to appear and with whom we have always to do. This is the third great proof and character of love in which it is complete, testifying, as I have already said, that God has thought on all as to us from our sinful state to the day of judgment.
Herein is love perfect with us (in order that we may have boldness for the day of judgment), namely, that as He is, such are we in this world. In truth, what could give us a more complete assurance for that day than to be as Jesus Himself-like the judge? He who will judge in righteousness is our righteousness. We are in Him the righteousness according to which He will judge. We are in respect of judgment as He is. Truly this can give us perfect peace. But observe, that it is not only in the day of judgment that this is so (it gives us boldness for it), but we are it in this world. Not as He was, but in this world we are as He is, and have our known place already, as needed, and according to the nature and counsels of God, for that day. It is ours as being livingly identified with Him.
Now in love there is no fear; there is confidence. If I am sure that a person loves me, I do not fear him. If I am only desiring to be the object of his affection, I may fear that I am not so, and may even fear himself. Nevertheless this fear would always tend to destroy my love for him and my desire to be loved by him. There is incompatibility between the two affections-there is no fear in love. Perfect love then banishes fear; for fear torments us, and torment is not the enjoyment of love. He therefore who fears does not know perfect love. And now what does he mean by "perfect love"? It is that which God is, and which He has fully displayed in Christ, and given us to know and to enjoy by His presence in us, so that we dwell in Him. The positive proof of its complete perfectness is that we are such as Christ is. It is manifested towards us, perfected in us, and made perfect with us. But that which we enjoy is God, who is love, and we enjoy Him by His being in us, so that love and confidence are in our hearts, and we have rest. That which I know of God is that He is love, and love to me, and nothing else but love to me, because it is Himself who is so. Therefore there is no fear.  If we inquire practically into the history, so to speak, of these affections; if we seek to separate that which in the enjoyment is united, because the divine nature in us, which is love, enjoys love in its perfection in God (His love shed abroad in the heart by His presence therefore); if we wish to specify the relationship in which our hearts find themselves with God in regard to this, here it is: " we 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 passage. Verses 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. Verses 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. Verse 17 His love is perfected with us; the perfection of that love, viewed in the place that it has given us in view of judgment-we are, in this world, such as Christ is. Verses 18-19: it is thus fully perfected with us. Love to sinners, communion, perfection before God, give 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 know~ 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 this world, and as He is, 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 divine nature, so near us (in the brethren near us), and Christ's value for them, does not awaken our spiritual affections, how then can He who is afar off do so? This also is His commandment, that he who loves God love his brother also. Obedience is found here also. (Compare John 14:31)
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 whoever 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.
 Note, it is not "was." It is never said in scripture, as often, He left the Father's bosom; but "the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father." As so knowing God, He revealed Him on earth.
 This gives us too, in their highest character and subject, the difference between the gospel and Epistle.
 The only expression in the word that has some resemblance to it is "the church of the Thessalonians, which is in God the Father." This is addressed to a numerous corporation in quite another sense.
 Righteousness and holiness suppose reference to other things; thus, evil to be known, rejection of evil, and judgment. Love, though exercised towards others, is what He is in Him self. The other essential name that God bears is " light." We are said to be "light in the Lord " as partakers of the divine nature; not love, which is, though the divine nature, sovereign in grace. We cannot therefore be said to be love. (See Eph. 4 & 5)
 It is striking to see that he does not say, We ought to love Him because He first loved us; but we love Him. We cannot know and enjoy love to us without loving. The sense of love to us is always love. It is not known and valued without its being there. My sense of love in another is love to him. We ought to love the brethren, because it is not their love to us which is the spring of it, though it may nourish it in this way. But we love God because He first loved us.
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1 John 4
4:1 1 Beloved, believe not every a spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
(1) Taking occasion by the name of the Spirit, lest love and charity should be separated from the worship of God, which chiefly depends on his true knowledge, he returns to that which he spoke of in the second chapter concerning the taking heed of antichrists: He will have us here take heed of two things, the one is, that seeing there are many false prophets, we should not trust every man: the other is, that because many men teach false things, we should not therefore believe any. We must then observe, that we may be able to discern the spirits of God which are to be followed, from impure spirits which are to be avoided.
(a) This is spoken by metonymy and it is as if he had said, Believe not every one who says that he has a gift of the Holy Spirit to do the office of a prophet.
4:2 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: b Every spirit that confesseth that c Jesus Christ is come in the d flesh is of God:
(2) He gives a certain and perpetual rule to know the doctrine of antichrist, that is, if either the divine or human nature of Christ, or the true uniting of them together is denied: or if the least jot that may be, be detracted from his office who is our only king, prophet and everlasting high priest.
(b) He speaks simply of the doctrine, and not of the person.
(c) The true Messiah.
(d) Is true man.
4:4 3 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
(3) He comforts the elect with a most sure hope of victory: but yet so, that he teaches them that they fight not with their own power, but with the virtue and power of God.
4:5 4 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
(4) He brings a reason why the world receives these teachers more willingly than the true: that is, because they speak nothing but that which is worldly: which is another note also to know the doctrine of antichrist by.
4:6 5 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the e spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
(5) He testifies to them that his doctrine and the doctrine of his companions, is the assured word of God which of necessity we have boldly to set against all the mouths of the whole world, and thereby discern the truth from falsehood.
(e) True prophets, against whom are false prophets, that is, those who err and lead others into error.
4:7 6 Beloved, let us love one another: 7 for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
(6) He returns to the commending of brotherly love and charity. (7) The first reason: because it is a very divine thing, and therefore very fitting for the sons of God: so that whoever is missing it cannot be said to know God correctly.
4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; 8 for God is love.
(8) A confirmation: for it is the nature of God to love men, of which we have a most manifest proof above all other, in that of his only free and infinite good will towards us his enemies, he delivered to death, not a common man, but his own Son, indeed his only begotten Son, to the end that we being reconciled through his blood might be partakers in his everlasting glory.
4:11 9 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
(9) An other reason by comparison: if God so loved us, shall not we his children love one another?
4:12 10 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is g perfected in us.
(10) A third reason: Because God is invisible, therefore by this effect of his Spirit, that is, by charity, he is understood to be not out of us, but united with us and in us, in whom he is so effectually working.
(g) Is surely in us indeed, and in truth.
4:14 11 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son [to be] the Saviour of the world.
(11) He underlays this charity with another foundation, that is, faith in Jesus, which joins us indeed with him, even as charity witnesses that we are joined with him. Furthermore he testifies of Christ, as who had seen him with his eyes.
4:15 Whosoever shall h confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
(h) With such a confession as comes from true faith, and is accompanied with love, so that there is an agreement of all things.
4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. 12 God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
(12) A fourth reason: God is the fountain and wellspring of charity indeed charity itself: therefore whoever abides in it, has God with him.
4:17 13 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because i as he is, so are we in this world.
(13) Again (as before) he commends love, seeing that by our agreement with God in this thing, we have a sure testimony of our adoption, it comes to pass by this that without fear we look for that latter day of judgment, so that trembling and torment of conscience is cast out by this love.
(i) This signifies a likeness, not an equality.
4:18 There is no k fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
(k) If we understand by love, that we are in God, and God in us, that we are sons, and that we know God, and that everlasting life is in us: he concludes correctly, that we may well gather peace and quietness by this.
4:19 14 We love him, because he first loved us.
(14) Lest any man should think that that peace of conscience proceeds from our love as the cause, he goes back to the fountain, that is, to the free love with which God loves us although we deserved and do deserve his wrath. From this springs another double charity, which both are tokens and witnesses of that first, that is, that we love God who loved us first, and then for his sake our neighbours also.
4:20 15 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: 16 for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
(15) As he showed that the love of our neighbour cannot be separate from the love with which God loves us because this last gives rise to the other: so he denies that the other kind of love with which we love God, can be separate from the love of our neighbour: of which it follows, that they who say they worship God, and yet do not regard their neighbours lie shamelessly.
(16) The first reason taken from comparison: why we cannot hate our neighbour and love God, that is, because he that cannot love his brother whom he sees, how can he love God whom he cannot see?
4:21 17 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
(17) A second reason, why God cannot be hated and our neighbour loved, because this same lawmaker commanded us both to love him and our neighbour.
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Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown:
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1Jo 4:1-21. TESTS OF FALSE PROPHETS. LOVE, THE TEST OF BIRTH FROM GOD, AND THE NECESSARY FRUIT OF KNOWING HIS GREAT LOVE IN CHRIST TO US.
1. Beloved--the affectionate address wherewith he calls their attention, as to an important subject.
every spirit--which presents itself in the person of a prophet. The Spirit of truth, and the spirit of error, speak by men's spirits as their organs. There is but one Spirit of truth, and one spirit of Antichrist.
try--by the tests (1Jo 4:2, 3). All believers are to do so: not merely ecclesiastics. Even an angel's message should be tested by the word of God: much more men's teachings, however holy the teachers may seem.
because, &c.--the reason why we must "try," or test the spirits.
many false prophets--not "prophets" in the sense "foretellers," but organs of the spirit that inspires them, teaching accordingly either truth or error: "many Antichrists."
are gone out--as if from God.
into the world--said alike of good and bad prophets (2Jo 7). The world is easily seduced (1Jo 4:4, 5).
2. Hereby--" Herein."
know . . . the Spirit of God--whether he be, or not, in those teachers professing to be moved by Him.
Every spirit--that is, Every teacher claiming inspiration by the HOLY SPIRIT.
confesseth--The truth is taken for granted as established. Man is required to confess it, that is, in his teaching to profess it openly.
Jesus Christ is come in the flesh--a twofold truth confessed, that Jesus is the Christ, and that He is come (the Greek perfect tense implies not a mere past historical fact, as the aorist would, but also the present continuance of the fact and its blessed effects) in the flesh ("clothed with flesh": not with a mere seeming humanity, as the Docetæ afterwards taught: He therefore was, previously, something far above flesh). His flesh implies His death for us, for only by assuming flesh could He die (for as God He could not), Heb 2:9, 10, 14, 16; and His death implies His LOVE for us (Joh 15:13). To deny the reality of His flesh is to deny His love, and so cast away the root which produces all true love on the believer's part (1Jo 4:9-11, 19). Rome, by the doctrine of the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary, denies Christ's proper humanity.
3. confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh--IRENÆUS [3.8], LUCIFER, ORIGEN, on Mt 25:14, and Vulgate read, "Every spirit which destroys (sets aside, or does away with) Jesus (Christ)." CYPRIAN and POLYCARP support English Version text. The oldest extant manuscripts, which are, however, centuries after POLYCARP, read, "Every spirit that confesseth not (that is, refuses to confess) Jesus" (in His person, and all His offices and divinity), omitting "is come in the flesh."
ye have heard--from your Christian teachers.
already is it in the world--in the person of the false prophets (1Jo 4:1).
4. Ye--emphatical: YE who confess Jesus: in contrast to "them," the false teachers.
overcome them-- (1Jo 5:4, 5); instead of being "overcome and brought into (spiritual) bondage" by them (2Pe 2:19). Joh 10:8, 5, "the sheep did not hear them": "a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers."
he that is in you--God, of whom ye are.
he that is in the word--the spirit of Antichrist, the devil, "the prince of this world."
5. of the world--They derive their spirit and teaching from the world, "unregenerate human nature, ruled over and possessed by Satan, the prince of this world" [ALFORD].
speak they of the word--They draw the matter of their conversation from the life, opinions, and feelings of the world.
the world heareth them-- (Joh 15:18, 19). The world loves its own.
6. We--true teachers of Christ: in contrast to them.
are of God--and therefore speak of God: in contrast to "speak they of the world," 1Jo 4:5.
knoweth God--as his Father, being a child "of God" (1Jo 2:13, 14).
heareth us--Compare Joh 18:37, "Every one that is of the truth, heareth My voice."
Hereby-- (1Jo 4:2-6); by their confessing, or not confessing, Jesus; by the kind of reception given them respectively by those who know God, and by those who are of the world and not of God.
spirit of truth--the Spirit which comes from God and teaches truth.
spirit of error--the spirit which comes from Satan and seduces into error.
7. Resumption of the main theme (1Jo 2:29). Love, the sum of righteousness, is the test of our being born of God. Love flows from a sense of God's love to us: compare 1Jo 4:9 with 1Jo 3:16, which 1Jo 4:9 resumes; and 1Jo 4:13 with 1Jo 3:24, which similarly 1Jo 4:13 resumes. At the same time, 1Jo 4:7-21 is connected with the immediately preceding context, 1Jo 4:2 setting forth Christ's incarnation, the great proof of God's love (1Jo 4:10).
Beloved--an address appropriate to his subject, "love."
love--All love is from God as its fountain: especially that embodiment of love, God manifest in the flesh. The Father also is love (1Jo 4:8). The Holy Ghost sheds love as its first fruit abroad in the heart.
knoweth God--spiritually, experimentally, and habitually.
8. knoweth not--Greek aorist: not only knoweth not now, but never knew, has not once for all known God.
God is love--There is no Greek article to love, but to God; therefore we cannot translate, Love is God. God is fundamentally and essentially LOVE: not merely is loving, for then John's argument would not stand; for the conclusion from the premises then would be this, This man is not loving: God is loving; therefore he knoweth not God IN SO FAR AS GOD IS LOVING; still he might know Him in His other attributes. But when we take love as God's essence, the argument is sound: This man doth not love, and therefore knows not love: God is essentially love, therefore he knows not God.
9. toward us--Greek, "in our case."
sent--Greek, "hath sent."
into the world--a proof against Socinians, that the Son existed before He was "sent into the world." Otherwise, too, He could not have been our life (1Jo 4:9), our "propitiation" (1Jo 4:10), or our "Saviour" (1Jo 4:14). It is the grand proof of God's love, His having sent "His only-begotten Son, that we might live through Him," who is the Life, and who has redeemed our forfeited life; and it is also the grand motive to our mutual love.
10. Herein is love--love in the abstract: love, in its highest ideal, is herein. The love was all on God's side, none on ours.
not that we loved God--though so altogether worthy of love.
he loved us--though so altogether unworthy of love. The Greek aorist expresses, Not that we did any act of love at any time to God, but that He did the act of love to us in sending Christ.
11. God's love to us is the grand motive for our love to one another (1Jo 3:16).
if--as we all admit as a fact.
we . . . also--as being born of God, and therefore resembling our Father who is love. In proportion as we appreciate God's love to us, we love Him and also the brethren, the children (by regeneration) of the same God, the representatives of the unseen God.
12. God, whom no man hath seen at any time, hath appointed His children as the visible recipients of our outward kindness which flows from love to Himself, "whom not having seen, we love," compare Notes, 1Jo 4:11, 1Jo 4:19, 20. Thus 1Jo 4:12 explains why, instead (in 1Jo 4:11) of saying, "If God so loved us, we ought also to love God," he said, "We ought also to love one another."
If we love one another, God dwelleth in us--for God is love; and it must have been from Him dwelling in us that we drew the real love we bear to the brethren (1Jo 4:8, 16). John discusses this in 1Jo 4:13-16.
his love--rather, "the love of Him," that is, "to Him" (1Jo 2:5), evinced by our love to His representatives, our brethren.
is perfected in us--John discusses this in 1Jo 4:17-19. Compare 1Jo 2:5, "is perfected," that is, attains its proper maturity.
13. Hereby--" Herein." The token vouchsafed to us of God's dwelling (Greek, "abide") in us, though we see Him not, is this, that He hath given us "of His Spirit" (1Jo 3:24). Where the Spirit of God is, there God is. ONE Spirit dwells in the Church: each believer receives a measure "of" that Spirit in the proportion God thinks fit. Love is His first-fruit (Ga 5:22). In Jesus alone the Spirit dwelt without measure (Joh 3:34).
14. And we--primarily, we apostles, Christ's appointed eye-witnesses to testify to the facts concerning Him. The internal evidence of the indwelling Spirit (1Jo 4:13) is corroborated by the external evidence of the eye-witnesses to the fact of the Father having "sent His Son to be the Saviour of the world."
seen--Greek, "contemplated," "attentively beheld" (see on 1Jo 1:1).
sent--Greek, "hath sent": not an entirely past fact (aorist), but one of which the effects continue (perfect tense).
15. shall confess--once for all: so the Greek aorist means.
that Jesus is the Son of God--and therefore "the Saviour of the world" (1Jo 4:14).
16. And we--John and his readers (not as 1Jo 4:14, the apostles only).
known and believed--True faith, according to John, is a faith of knowledge and experience: true knowledge is a knowledge of faith [LUECKE].
to us--Greek, "in our case" (see on 1Jo 4:9).
dwelleth--Greek, "abideth." Compare with this verse, 1Jo 4:7.
17, 18. (Compare 1Jo 3:19-21.)
our love--rather as the Greek, "LOVE (in the abstract, the principle of love [ALFORD]) is made perfect (in its relations) with us." Love dwelling in us advances to its consummation "with us" that is, as it is concerned with us: so Greek. Lu 1:58, "showed mercy upon (literally, 'with') her": 2Jo 2, the truth "shall be with us for ever."
boldness--" confidence": the same Greek as 1Jo 3:21, to which this passage is parallel. The opposite of "fear," 1Jo 4:18. Herein is our love perfected, namely, in God dwelling in us, and our dwelling in God (1Jo 4:16), involving as its result "that we can have confidence (or boldness) in the day of judgment" (so terrible to all other men, Ac 24:25; Ro 2:16).
because, &c.--The ground of our "confidence" is, "because even as He (Christ) is, we also are in this world" (and He will not, in that day, condemn those who are like Himself), that is, we are righteous as He is righteous, especially in respect to that which is the sum of righteousness, love (1Jo 3:14). Christ IS righteous, and love itself, in heaven: so are we, His members, who are still "in this world." Our oneness with Him even now in His exalted position above (Eph 2:6), so that all that belongs to Him of righteousness, &c., belongs to us also by perfect imputation and progressive impartation, is the ground of our love being perfected so that we can have confidence in the day of judgment. We are in, not of, this world.
18. Fear has no place in love. Bold confidence (1Jo 4:17), based on love, cannot coexist with fear. Love, which, when perfected, gives bold confidence, casts out fear (compare Heb 2:14, 15). The design of Christ's propitiatory death was to deliver from this bondage of fear.
but--" nay" [ALFORD].
fear hath torment--Greek, "punishment." Fear is always revolving in the mind the punishment deserved [ESTIUS]. Fear, by anticipating punishment (through consciousness of deserving it), has it even now, that is, the foretaste of it. Perfect love is incompatible with such a self-punishing fear. Godly fear of offending God is quite distinct from slavish fear of consciously deserved punishment. The latter fear is natural to us all until love casts it out. "Men's states vary: one is without fear and love; another, with fear without love; another, with fear and love; another, without fear with love" [BENGEL].
19. him--omitted in the oldest manuscripts. Translate, We (emphatical: WE on our part) love (in general: love alike Him, and the brethren, and our fellow men), because He (emphatical: answering to "we"; because it was He who) first loved us in sending His Son (Greek aorist of a definite act at a point of time). He was the first to love us: this thought ought to create in us love casting out fear (1Jo 4:18).
20. loveth not . . . brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen--It is easier for us, influenced as we are here by sense, to direct love towards one within the range of our senses than towards One unseen, appreciable only by faith. "Nature is prior to grace; and we by nature love things seen, before we love things unseen" [ESTIUS]. The eyes are our leaders in love. "Seeing is an incentive to love" [ŒCUMENIUS]. If we do not love the brethren, the visible representatives of God, how can we love God, the invisible One, whose children they are? The true ideal of man, lost in Adam, is realized in Christ, in whom God is revealed as He is, and man as he ought to be. Thus, by faith in Christ, we learn to love both the true God, and the true man, and so to love the brethren as bearing His image.
hath seen--and continually sees.
21. Besides the argument (1Jo 4:20) from the common feeling of men, he here adds a stronger one from God's express commandment (Mt 22:39). He who loves, will do what the object of his love wishes.
he who loveth God--he who wishes to be regarded by God as loving Him.
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And I can give many more if you like.
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This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God
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And it gives an entire letter in which it explains how to do so. You are acting as though the requirements for testing whether something is of God stops at verse three. It does not, John did not arrange his letters by chapter and verses, and this was done much later for our convenience to quickly find scriptures. It was one long letter, and thus to be read, understood, and interpreted that way.
Moreover, as I showed the words used in these verses symbolize a cultural understanding of what "Spirit" "Christ" , etc notated. It is not saying every one that believes Christ existed or was simply a prophet is of the Holy Spirit. That completely contradicts the rest of the letter!!!
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I agree. They do not believe was fully God. But that has nothing to do with how we should "test the Spirit of God".
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On the contrary it has everything to do with it! If you understood the basics of Christian doctrine this would not even be an issue.
Furthermore, common sense displays that you need to read the rest of the book to gather the full meaning of the text in question.
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The Book of Mormon always refers to Jesus as "Christ", and the Koran repeatedly refers to Jesus as "the Messiah". Therefore, your "deeper meaning" is another red herring in my eyes.
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Then I recommend rubbing the crust out of them, because that is perhaps one of the worst arguments of logic I have ever heard.
I have already shown that their definition of "Christ" and "Messiah" are not the same as is understood in the bible. Not at all. All you have done is set up a bait and switch, then attacked that strawman.
You have failed to prove that "Christ" and "Messiah" by their theological understanding is the same as was understood by John when he wrote his letter, as I have clearly done. Therefore your arguement is lacking and backbone.
Please, if you have a sincere question feel free to ask, but that was simply a sad case, and an example of poor logical flow.
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