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The Epistles of John (Part 39): 1 John 4:13–14

by Stephen Hebert on Tuesday - 7 July 2009

in Biblical Studies, New Testament

This is the 39th part in an ongoing series on the epistles of John.

English Standard Version Nestle-Aland 27
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Ἐν τούτῳ γινώσκομεν ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ μένομεν καὶ αὐτὸς ἐν ἡμῖν, ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ πνεύματος αὐτοῦ δέδωκεν ἡμῖν. καὶ ἡμεῖς τεθεάμεθα καὶ μαρτυροῦμεν ὅτι ὁ πατὴρ ἀπέσταλκεν τὸν υἱὸν σωτῆρα τοῦ κόσμου.

We have talked at length in this series about abiding in God. We have talked less about how he abides in us. Therefore, I’d like to spend a little time wrapping our minds around this idea to see if we can make sense of it.

When we abide in Christ, we are pressing into him, attempting to come to know him better so that our lives may be conformed to his will and vision. We are looking to become more in tune with the divine. After all, in that image we were created.

However, there is a reciprocity that happens: Christ lives in us.

Blaise Pascal famously noted that there was some sort of hole in the human psyche or in the human heart that only religion/God could fill. While Pascal was a great mathematician and a much-maligned philosopher, I think there is truth in this notion. People are inherently looking for something outside of themselves — something that is bigger, something better, more pleasurable, more fun, more meaningful. Whatever it is that our deepest selves desire, it is almost always something outside of us.

Speaking from experience, I can tell you that there are many artifices that claim to fill this need, fill this hole, but very few are lasting. Sex, money, recognition are probably chief amongst these. But none of them lasts. Once we have one taste of sex/money/recognition we are left wanting more.

God, however, when he comes to abide in us, when he comes to fill that hole in our hearts, that craving in our minds, is somehow enough. That’s right. God is enough.

Peace is found in Christ. Peace is found by getting outside of the negative cycle of worldly desires and wants and getting into the spiritual desire for union with the Almighty Creator of the Universe who has offered himself on a cross as the propitiation and expiation of our sin.

This peace, unfortunately, feels inconsequential. When we first taste this notion of this rest from longing, it is so foreign to us that we don’t recognize it as the satisfaction of all of our inner cravings. God has saved the world, and we experience a taste of it, and we don’t know what to do with it. So, we cast it aside for the immediate pleasures.

Somehow, we’ve got to take hold of that mystery, that union between us and Christ. Somehow, we’ve got to overcome our pride and our arrogance and our insolence and take hold of all that Christ offers for it is more satisfying, more fulfilling, more life-giving, more necessary, more wonderful, and more beautiful than anything else that this world has to offer.

How have we missed it all these years?

Article Series - The Epistles of John

  1. The Epistles of John (Part 1): 1 John 1:1–4
  2. The Epistles of John (Part 2): 1 John 1:5
  3. The Epistles of John (Part 3): 1 John 1:6–7
  4. The Epistles of John (Part 4): 1 John 1:8–10
  5. The Epistles of John (Part 5): 1 John 2:1
  6. The Epistles of John (Part 6): 1 John 2:2
  7. The Epistles of John (Part 7): 1 John 2:3–6
  8. The Epistles of John (Part 8): 1 John 2:7–8
  9. The Epistles of John (Part 9): 1 John 2:9–11
  10. The Epistles of John (Part 10): 1 John 2:12
  11. The Epistles of John (Part 11): 1 John 2:13
  12. The Epistles of John (Part 12): 1 John 2:14
  13. The Epistles of John (Part 13): 1 John 2:15
  14. The Epistles of John (Part 14): 1 John 2:16
  15. The Epistles of John (Part 15): 1 John 2:17
  16. The Epistles of John (Part 16): 1 John 2:18
  17. The Epistles of John (Part 17): 1 John 2:19
  18. The Epistles of John (Part 18): 1 John 2:20
  19. The Epistles of John (Part 19): 1 John 2:21
  20. The Epistles of John (Part 20): 1 John 2:22
  21. The Epistles of John (Part 21): 1 John 2:23–25
  22. The Epistles of John (Part 22): 1 John 2:26–27
  23. The Epistles of John (Part 23): 1 John 2:28
  24. The Epistles of John (Part 24): 1 John 2:29
  25. The Epistles of John (Part 25): 1 John 3:1–3
  26. The Epistles of John (Part 26): 1 John 3:4–6
  27. The Epistles of John (Part 27): 1 John 3:7–10
  28. The Epistles of John (Part 28): 1 John 3:11–12
  29. The Epistles of John (Part 29): 1 John 3:13
  30. The Epistles of John (Part 30): 1 John 3:14-18
  31. The Epistles of John (Part 31): 1 John 3:19–22
  32. The Epistles of John (Part 32): 1 John 3:23–24
  33. The Epistles of John (Part 33): 1 John 4:1–3
  34. The Epistles of John (Part 34): 1 John 4:4–6
  35. The Epistles of John (Part 35): 1 John 4:7-8
  36. The Epistles of John (Part 36): 1 John 4:9
  37. The Epistles of John (Part 37): 1 John 4:10
  38. The Epistles of John (Part 38): 1 John 4:11-12
  39. The Epistles of John (Part 39): 1 John 4:13–14
  40. The Epistles of John (Part 40): 1 John 4:15
  41. The Epistles of John (Part 41): 1 John 4:16–17
  42. The Epistles of John (Part 42): 1 John 4:18–19
  43. The Epistles of John (Part 43): 1 John 4:20–21
  44. The Epistles of John (Part 44): 1 John 5:1
  45. The Epistles of John (Part 45): 1 John 5:2-3

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