1 John 3* The apostle admires the love of God in making believers hischildren. (1,2) The purifying influence of the hope of seeingChrist, and the danger of pretending to this, and living in sin.(3-10) Love to the brethren is the character of real Christians.(11-15) That love described by its actings. (16-21) Theadvantage of faith, love, and obedience. (22-24)1,2 Little does the world know of the happiness of the realfollowers of Christ. Little does the world think that thesepoor, humble, despised ones, are favourites of God, and willdwell in heaven. Let the followers of Christ be content withhard fare here, since they are in a land of strangers, wheretheir Lord was so badly treated before them. The sons of Godmust walk by faith, and live by hope. They may well wait infaith, hope, and earnest desire, for the revelation of the LordJesus. The sons of God will be known, and be made manifest bylikeness to their Head. They shall be transformed into the sameimage, by their view of him. 3-10 The sons of God know that their Lord is of purer eyes thanto allow any thing unholy and impure to dwell with him. It isthe hope of hypocrites, not of the sons of God, that makesallowance for gratifying impure desires and lusts. May we befollowers of him as his dear children, thus show our sense ofhis unspeakable mercy, and express that obedient, grateful,humble mind which becomes us. Sin is the rejecting the Divinelaw. In him, that is, in Christ, was no sin. All the sinlessweaknesses that were consequences of the fall, he took; that is,all those infirmities of mind or body which subject man tosuffering, and expose him to temptation. But our moralinfirmities, our proneness to sin, he had not. He that abides inChrist, continues not in the practice of sin. Renouncing sin isthe great proof of spiritual union with, continuance in, andsaving knowledge of the Lord Christ. Beware of self-deceit. Hethat doeth righteousness is righteous, and to be a follower ofChrist, shows an interest by faith in his obedience andsufferings. But a man cannot act like the devil, and at the sametime be a disciple of Christ Jesus. Let us not serve or indulgewhat the Son of God came to destroy. To be born of God is to beinwardly renewed by the power of the Spirit of God. Renewinggrace is an abiding principle. Religion is not an art, a matterof dexterity and skill, but a new nature. And the regenerateperson cannot sin as he did before he was born of God, and asothers do who are not born again. There is that light in hismind, which shows him the evil and malignity of sin. There isthat bias upon his heart, which disposes him to loathe and hatesin. There is the spiritual principle that opposes sinful acts.And there is repentance for sin, if committed. It goes againsthim to sin with forethought. The children of God and thechildren of the devil have their distinct characters. The seedof the serpent are known by neglect of religion, and by theirhating real Christians. He only is righteous before God, as ajustified believer, who is taught and disposed to righteousnessby the Holy Spirit. In this the children of God are manifest,and the children of the devil. May all professors of the gospellay these truths to heart, and try themselves by them. 11-15 We should love the Lord Jesus, value his love, andtherefore love all our brethren in Christ. This love is thespecial fruit of our faith, and a certain sign of our being bornagain. But none who rightly know the heart of man, can wonder atthe contempt and enmity of ungodly people against the childrenof God. We know that we are passed from death to life: we mayknow it by the evidences of our faith in Christ, of which loveto our brethren is one. It is not zeal for a party in the commonreligion, or affection for those who are of the same name andsentiments with ourselves. The life of grace in the heart of aregenerate person, is the beginning and first principle of alife of glory, whereof they must be destitute who hate theirbrother in their hearts. 16-21 Here is the condescension, the miracle, the mystery ofDivine love, that God would redeem the church with his ownblood. Surely we should love those whom God has loved, and soloved. The Holy Spirit, grieved at selfishness, will leave theselfish heart without comfort, and full of darkness and terror.By what can it be known that a man has a true sense of the loveof Christ for perishing sinners, or that the love of God hasbeen planted in his heart by the Holy Spirit, if the love of theworld and its good overcomes the feelings of compassion to aperishing brother? Every instance of this selfishness mustweaken the evidences of a man's conversion; when habitual andallowed, it must decide against him. If conscience condemn us inknown sin, or the neglect of known duty, God does so too. Letconscience therefore be well-informed, be heard, and diligentlyattended to. 22-24 When believers had confidence towards God, through theSpirit of adoption, and by faith in the great High Priest, theymight ask what they would of their reconciled Father. They wouldreceive it, if good for them. And as good-will to men wasproclaimed from heaven, so good-will to men, particularly to thebrethren, must be in the hearts of those who go to God andheaven. He who thus follows Christ, dwells in Him as his ark,refuge, and rest, and in the Father through him. This unionbetween Christ and the souls of believers, is by the Spirit hehas given them. A man may believe that God is gracious before heknows it; yet when faith has laid hold on the promises, it setsreason to work. This Spirit of God works a change; in all trueChristians it changes from the power of Satan to the power ofGod. Consider, believer, how it changes thy heart. Dost not thoulong for peace with God? Wouldst thou not forego all the worldfor it? No profit, pleasure, or preferment shall hinder theefrom following Christ. This salvation is built upon Divinetestimony, even the Spirit of God.
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