1Our Fellowship with Divine Persons
Our fellowship with the Father
The Scriptures declare the love of God for a world of lost sinners (Jn 3.16). We cannot doubt the love of God for us. Even when we had no fellowship with Him, His love and mercy flowed out to us. Love is an action of giving. God gave His best for us, and on the cross Christ gave His all. Calvary is the highest expression of divine love to sinners: "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 Jn 4.10). Just like the prodigal, when the reality of our position dawned upon us and we returned in repentance, He warmly received us back to Himself. It is an unforgettable moment when an individual comes to appreciate Gods love in a personal way and through faith in Christ is reconciled to God.
The Fathers love for His children is just as evident. Now, in Christ, we are in the family of God. This familiar word picture helps us grasp something of the warmth, intimacy, and security that are ours to enjoy: "He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father" (Jn 14.21); "For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me" (Jn 16.27). Our relationship to Christ and love for Him are seen to be central and pivotal. It is not that the Father never loved us before we knew Christ, nor that He will only love us if we love Christ as we should, but that His love continues to flow out to those who share His interests and are devoted to His Son. They are able to enjoy His love in a deeper way. "Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ" (1 Jn 1.3).
The same truth is developed in another way in John 14.23: "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him". This is an amazing statement speaking of the Father and Son abiding within us. (Other passages of the New Testament teach clearly that the Spirit also resides within us.) Concerning the Persons of the Godhead, it is just as true to say that they dwell in us, as it is to say we dwell in them.
Our fellowship with the Son
The divine love enjoyed by the Son is the very same love which He imparts to us. We are to resolve to abide in that love: "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love" (Jn 15.9). We are to respond to that love by keeping His word: "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him" (Jn 14.21). Furthermore, we should love His own: "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another" (Jn 13.34).
Love is the stimulus to abiding in Christ and living to please Him. Sometimes we become careless and wander away along paths of disobedience and selfishness. In a backslidden state we can barely notice that we are becoming hard and cynical. Time and again, it is a fresh revelation of Gods matchless love that breaks us down and draws us back to His side to seek to live for Him again with renewed devotion.
To abide in Christ means to stay near to Him and enjoy communion with Him each moment of the day and each step of the journey home. There are many spiritual blessings that result from this.
Obedience to His word is a proof that we know and love Him enough to seek to please Him: "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him" (Jn 14.21); "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (Jn 14.15); "If a man love me, he will keep my words" (Jn 14.23). "But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him" (1 Jn 2.5). In his first epistle, John teaches that assurance and power with God in large measure flow from obedience: "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments" (1 Jn 2.3); "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight (1 Jn 3.22). It also confirms our fellowship with others: "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments" (1 Jn 5.2).
On the other hand, disobedience calls into question our loyalty and love: "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth" (1 Jn 1.6); "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 Jn 2.4). We remind ourselves that His commandments are not grievous (1 Jn 5.3).
To be continued.