1 JOHN 5
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3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Love is the first and greatest. It is the power and spirit of them all. It must radiate like light from us toward everyone and everything. In defining what love is, and how it acts, John lays the very clearly-defined foundation which we must constantly keep in mind-
"This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments." (1 Jn. 5:3).
If we get away from the commandments, we are not loving in the scriptural and acceptable sense, however affectionate our feelings or good our intentions. There must be a careful adherence to divine commandments to keep love in a sound and healthy path.
But there is far more to love-infinitely more-than a cold, technical compliance to command. In our necessary opposition to the wishy-washy sentimentalism of the world's religion, we may tend to lose sight of some of the immeasurable depths and beauties of love.
Love is far more than any technical definition can encompass. Love is a transformation of the mind from the cramped self-centeredness of the natural man to the universal beneficent goodwill of the man of God. Love is complete and glorious newness of life.
In our defense of sound doctrine, in our condemnation of evil, in our opposition to looseness and laziness and compromise and declension, let us never-never-belittle or betray love.
Let us never crush love, or cast it aside, even momentarily, on the pretext of any other virtue or necessity. What cannot be done in love and kindness should not be done at all. It is so easy to let self-righteousness and natural antagonism and contentiousness trample love underfoot on the pretext of duty.
Bro Growcott - Mortify the Deeds of the Body
4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Jesus made everything hinge on faith-
"All things are possible to him that believeth" (Mk. 9:23).
In view of the magnitude and immensity of the divine relationship to which we have been called, we exclaim with the disciples-
"Lord, increase our faith!" (Lk. 17:5).
But there is a vital part in the process that we must do-
"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17).
Our duty is to increasingly build the power of our faith by constant study of the Word.
How clear is the majestic picture faith portrays, compared with the pitiful confusion and speculation of the world-
"Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God" (Heb. 11:3).
Bro Growcott - Mortify the Deeds of the Body
12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
Adam's life is flesh sustained in action by blood, air, and electricity, or by digestion and respiration; and transmitted by natural laws.
The fabulous existence elaborated by the unenlightened thinking of Sin's flesh, is that theory upon which all superstition is based -- the conceit of an inborn ghost, deathless and having independent existence, apart from all corporeality.
This incorporeal abstraction the Devil, that is, Sin's Flesh, has denominated "THE IMMORTAL SOUL." This serpentine philosopher, whose pious lucubrations "deceive the whole world" (Apoc. xii. 9; xx. 2,3) teaches, that it is "the vital principle," the real man, and the true image and likeness of his Maker!
Religion, he says, is for the preventing of all immortal ghosts who sincerely repent of their sins, from falling into eternal torments, to which they are all liable by an eternal decree; and for their emigration from earth on angels' wings to kingdoms beyond the skies! This is the gospel of the Archdeceiver of the world; and preached substantially by all the "Holy Orders" of his establishment; and all mankind, in their Names and Denominations of Blasphemy, go "wondering after" the abomination.
So long as the serpent in the flesh can charm them with such vanity they will remain unregistered in the book of the Lamb's life, and be obnoxious to the plagues of the Little Book in which it is written, that "for the fearful, and UNBELIEVING, and the abominable, and murderers, and harlotists, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and for all the liars (the "clergy") their part is in the lake burning with fire and brimstone,"being there" tormented in the presence of the holy messengers, and in the presence of the Lamb" (Apoc. xxi. 8; xiv.10: xix. 20: xx. 14,15).
The life purchased by Jesus for his brethren has no affinity with such a fiction. He purchased life for dead bodies; not happiness for immortal ghosts. "This is the testimony, that God gives aionian life to us, and this life is in his Son; he who hath the Son, hath the life; he who hath not the Son of God, hath not the life" (1 John v. 11,12), and "shall not see life but the wrath of God abides upon him" (John iii. 36).
16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
John here merely notes that there is a sin which God will not forgive. He does not say what it is. We must therefore learn its character from other testimonies. In this there is no difficulty, as it is clearly defined in more places than one, and in a manner accordant with judgment.
Peter refers to it thus: "If, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning."
He further speaks of it as a "turning from the holy commandment delivered unto them," and as a washed sow returning to its wallow (2 Pet. ii. 20-22). Paul speaks of it as a falling away, crucifying the Son of God afresh and putting him to an open shame on the part of those who "were made partakers of the Holy Spirit and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the world to come" (Heb. vi. 6). Jesus says that all manner of sin shall be forgiven unto men, except this same sin against the Holy Spirit-of which he accused the Scribes and Pharisees in their attributing the works performed by the Spirit of God through him, to the machinations of an unclean spirit (Matt. xii. 31; Mark iii. 30).
From all this it follows that sin unto death consists of turning against Christ after having had evidence that the work of Christ is the work of God by the Spirit through him. It is reasonable that a crime so flagrant and so inexcusable should be unforgivable. "Sin not unto death" is easily distinguishable from this: sins of infirmity and not of design, such as Peter's momentary denial of the Lord, repented of in grief immediately, as contrasted with Judas's deliberate mercenary betrayal. The one was forgiven: the other not.
The Christadelphian, Oct 1894