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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles

Chapter 79 - 1 John 4:15 - The Confession and the Indwelling Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles by Bonar, Horatius




The Confession And The Indwelling.


"Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God."-1 John 4:15.



     It is something very glorious that is spoken of here; it is by something amazingly simple that this is to be obtained; and the obtaining of this something is open to all.

     I. The great thing promised.-God dwelling in us and we in God. It is not easy to bring out all the meaning of this figure, nay, impossible. It would be easier to describe heaven, the new Jerusalem, than to tell what is meant by God dwelling in us and we in God. It means so much, so very much, that we can only speak of it very generally, as man's poor language can convey almost nothing of the infinite fullness of the promise. It is a promise like that of John 14:23, 'We will come unto him anti make our abode with him;' and very like that of Revelation 3, 'I will come in unto him and sup with him.' The three persons of the Godhead are thus spoken of. Our text speaks of the Father; the Apostle Paul speaks of 'Christ in us,' and we in Christ; and others speak of the Holy Spirit in us, and we in Him,-as if we were God's habitation or temple, and He ours; He coming down here and entering our dwelling, our heart; we going up to Him and entering into His dwelling, His bosom, where is His only-begotten Son. This dwelling or abiding is twofold,-with us and in us; with Him and in Him. It is not a visit, but an abiding; not a pitching of His tent beside ours, but making His dwelling with and in us.

     Consider what all this implies:-

     (1.) Great love.-It is love on both sides, but specially on His. No common love must that be which such a figure implies,-love going out in quest of a resting place, and finding one in the worthless and unlovable.

     (2.) Great intimacy.-It is far more than friendship. That can bear distance, and intercourse by correspondence; but this is union,-union of the most intimate kind that can be conceived; mutual indwelling. This is the intimacy of intimacies,-the intimacy of an endearment and affection which nothing can equal.

     (3.) Great satisfaction in each other.-Each seems necessary to the other, more than even parent to child, or husband to wife. Each fills up the other: God is our fullness, and the Church is the fullness of Him that filleth all in all. What boundless satisfaction is this! We were made to be filled, not to be empty; and this is the filling up of the soul.

     (4.) Great blessedness.-The state which our text describes is the perfection of blessedness,-God in us and we in God. All sorrow shut out,-all pain, all weakness, all mortality. Nothing but perfection; and with perfection, joy unspeakable; joy in God and with God. All that divine love, fellowship, intimacy, nearness can do for us shall be done. God in us, and we in God. What blessedness!

     (5.) Great glory.-For we are thus placed in the very seat and center of glory: that seat and center are in us. God comes in to us, and with Him all His glory. We go in to Him, and dwell in His glory. Glory within us and around us,-the very glory of Him who is the fountainhead of glory. Not a part or fragment of glory, but the whole; for He who is the God of glory dwells in us, and we in Him. See John 14:16, 15:4,7; 1 John 2:6, 24, 26, 3:24.

     II. The simple way of obtaining it.-By confessing that Jesus is the Son of God. This, of course, implies believing. It is founded on believing; it is the utterance of faith. Not by the comprehension of some great truths, but the simplest of all, that Jesus is the Son of God; that in Jesus is fulfilled all that was written of old concerning the Christ of God. How full of meaning, full of grace and truth, is that expression, 'Jesus is the Son of God!' If Jesus is the Son of God, then, (1) God has had pity upon man, and taken his side against his enemies, according to the first promise. (2) Heaven and earth have come together; there is reconciliation and peace. (3) The sinner may go to God at once,-to God as represented by a man like ourselves: through Him we have access to the Father. (4) There is now forgiveness and life. Jesus of Nazareth went about bestowing these. To receive Him is to receive all His fullness; and we receive Him by owning Him as the Son of God. To own Him as such is to become at once partaker of His fullness. This may seem a very simple truth; but it is one so great and so glorious that it cannot be believed without opening the way for the entrance of Godhead into the soul. In confessing Jesus as the Son of God, I let in every blessing, nay, I let in God Himself. The gate is thrown open, and all Godhead takes up His abode with me and in me.

     III. The freeness to all.-'Whosoever.' Wider than the widest range of human sin, deeper than the lowest depths of earthly pollution, is God's great message of grace. That Jesus is the Son of God is the great truth presented to the sons of men to be believed. No one need say, May I believe it? If it is true, how can you do otherwise? It is a truth as open as it is simple, and as efficacious as it is open. God has testified of Jesus that He is the Son of God; He gave the evidence of this by His resurrection. And this is what He calls on every man to believe, that in believing it he may receive God Himself.