SermonIndex Audio Sermons
Access over 100,000+ Sermons from Ancient to Modern : Christian Books : 1 John iv. 21, v. 1

The First Epistle Of John by Augustus Neander

1 John iv. 21, v. 1

Such being the necessary connection between these
two relations of love, the Apostle adds: |And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God, love his brother also. Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him.|

This necessary connection between love to God and Brotherly-love, John deduces from their common sonship to God, from the equal relation of all to God, and their inward relationship of life to one another. He begins with faith, -- faith in its true import. By faith he understands, not what James calls a dead faith. It is not the mere admission of certain historical facts, as one believes any historical narration of the past, without being at all affected thereby in his inner life. It is not the tenacious adherence to certain articles of faith, received into the understanding and memory as a matter of custom; in regard to which the liability y to doubt is less, the less there is felt of a living interest in them, the less their influence penetrates below the mere surface of the spirit. Faith, in the Johannic sense, presupposes all that is involved in the acknowledgment of Jesus as the Christ, in knowing him for ourselves as such. It implies the recognition of the Crucified One, as Sovereign in the kingdom of God, as Redeemer from sin. There is, therefore, implied that deep conviction of sin and longing for deliverance from it, that deep feeling of the necessity of redemption, without which faith in the Redeemer is not possible. There is implied faith in his resurrection, as the divine attestation that Jesus the Crucified is the Redeemer of sinful man, and Sovereign in the kingdom of God; in his ascension to heaven, by virtue of that glorified divine life, exempt from the conditions of mortality, to which he has attained; in his continued fellowship, in this his glorified superearthly state, with believers on earth. In this faith there is presupposed true spiritual fellowship with Christ. For faith is nothing else than that conviction, which, having passed through every stage, from the sense of sin to the acknowledgment of Jesus in every revealed relation, embraces in itself the sum of all; the act whereby the soul, renouncing itself, and joyfully accepting the offered union with this Jesus as its Redeemer and Lord, gives itself wholly away to him, that it may belong no more to itself but to him alone. Hence, of every one who believes in this sense, John says, that he is BORN OF GOD. This he regards as something which cannot proceed from the life inherent in the spirit itself; which can only be the result of a divine power entering the heart, a work of God in man, a divine fact. Where this has taken place, there must exist a divine life; for it is that whereby the being, hitherto wholly centred in himself and sunk in earthliness, receives a new existence whose fountain and root is in God, becomes in the true sense a new man born of God. As man, by natural birth, enters the world and takes his place among the beings who belong to it; so by this fact is he raised to a wholly new, a higher existence. As by natural descent, the son derives from his father a being like his own and reflects his image; so the believer, by virtue of this new spiritual birth from God, by virtue of this new divine life which he has in common with God his Father, is called a son of God. And thus he reflects, by virtue of this divine life, the Father from whom it proceeds. Hence John says that he who loves God, from whom this divine life is derived, must, on the ground of this same descent, this relationship and likeness, love him also who is born of God, in whom exists this same divine life. In love to the Source of the divine life, is necessarily included love to all who are partakers with us in this life. All who are united in this fellowship as children of God, must for that reason feel drawn towards each other, must understand and love each other, as in no other relation among men.

<<  Contents  >>

Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
Affiliate Disclosure | Privacy Policy