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Please explain the statement in 1 John 4.17: "As he is, so are we in this world". What does this mean?

1 John 4.17 is a wonderful statement. The believer has boldness; he does not fear that he will be judged at the Great White Throne judgment, because as Christ is in Heaven - even now accepted by God, welcomed there and in the place of nearness - so are we in this world. It is the truth of the believer’s acceptance. We might have understood it had John said, "…so we will be", but it is more wonderful than that. We are in this world, and in Christ, before the Father, we are accepted in Him. It is one of the great New Testament truths, and sounds too good to be true, but had not God’s inspired Word revealed it one might have been led to say such a statement would have been the most frightful presumption that ever came from the pen of man.

Note the little word "as" in 2.6, 3.2 and 4.17. The first is our responsibility to Christ; we owe it to Christ to walk as He walked. The second speaks of our resemblance to Christ; "we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is". The third points to our relationship to Christ and means that we should have no fear about future judgment. Our vital association with Christ in heaven guarantees safety from ever reaping the consequences of our sins. The statement supports the doctrine of the eternal security of the believer in Christ. 1 John 4.17 is a blessed truth to rejoice in and gives much assurance to the heart of the believer. Years ago considering this verse I came across the following line: "John’s nine monosyllables all in a row are my delight and comfort wherever I go"! May this be our experience too.

John J Stubbs

Who are "the sons of God" referred to in Genesis 6.2?

It is generally agreed that the references to "the sons of God" in Job 1.6; 2.1 and 38.7 are to angels, thus: "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord" (Job 1.6).

That "the sons of God" portrayed in Genesis 6.2 as taking wives of the daughters of men were fallen angels is taught in the Epistle of Jude: "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation". Thus they invaded the domains of men: "Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh" (vv.6-7). In each case the right ways of God were perverted. The result of this unholy union was that monstrosities were produced - "There were giants (Heb: Nephilim, fallen ones) in the earth in those days"; men with extraordinary powers came into being, "the same became mighty men, which were of old, men of renown" (Gen 6.4). If it should be objected that angels do not marry, it should be observed that the Lord Jesus limits His remarks to "the angels of God in heaven" (Mt 22.30).

Jude tells us that the Lord "hath reserved (these angels) in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day" (v.6). In the parallel passage in 2 Peter we learn that "God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (Tartarus, the lowest hell), and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgment" (2.4). This verse is not referring to their original fall. These particular angels have an awful sentence pronounced upon them. They are clearly a distinct class of fallen angels.

Angels often appeared in human form in the Old Testament: e.g. the two unfallen angels whom Lot entertained in Sodom (Gen 19.1). These angels are described as "men" (vv.5,8,10,12). It is clear from the perverted desires of the men of Sodom that these angels had bodies that were capable of sexual abuse, and thus we read, "bring them out unto us, that we may know them" (Gen 19.5).

David E West


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