Thursday, 21 May 2020
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 1 John 4:15
John is methodically presenting what it means to be a saved believer in Christ Jesus. Following the train of thought from verse 12 shows us what is on John’s mind –
If we love one another, God abides in us and His love has been perfected in us.
It is by the Spirit that we can know that we abide in Him and He in us.
It is testified to by the apostles that the Father sent Jesus as the Savior of the world.
Love is what demonstrates our position.
The Spirit is what identifies our position.
Christ makes our position possible.
Therefore, John next says –
“Whoever confesses that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” The Greek more precisely reads, “Who if any shall confess.” It is an aorist subjunctive verb. It is conditional, but if it happens at a certain point, then the result (which he will state in the second clause) will occur. As the Pulpit Commentary paraphrases this thought, “Whosoever has once for all taken up the position of confessing.” It is a one-time and for-all-time result based on meeting the conditions John puts forth, meaning confessing “that Jesus is the Son of God.”
In this, John again brings in the Father/Son relationship. This has been contrasted to the Devil and the Antichrist. One is either positionally under the Devil’s authority and resides in the spirit of the Antichrist, or he has moved to being in Christ and under the authority of the Father. The way one makes this move is by confessing “that Jesus is the Son of God.”
This is exactly what Paul speaks of. Paul gives the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4 –
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Paul then shows how this is appropriated in Romans 10:9, 10 –
“…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Paul then shows what the effects of this process is in Ephesians 1:13, 14 –
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
Belief + confession = salvation (note; confession is not a work. Refer to Romans commentary). Salvation is then confirmed through the sealing of the Spirit. It is the same message proclaimed by both apostles.
When this process is followed by a person – believing, confessing, and being saved, John says, “God abides in him, and he in God.” The verb is present indicative. Abiding is the result and it is a certain thing. One no longer needs to wonder if God abides in Him or not. If he has believed and confessed concerning Jesus – meaning that He is God come in the flesh – the indwelling has taken place.
As previously stated, the key of the entire process is “what Jesus.” There are those who claim Jesus as their Savior, but they do not believe He is God incarnate. That is a false Jesus and thus they have believed a false gospel. God entered the stream of humanity, uniting with flesh in the Person of Jesus. This is proven in the resurrection, and that is why Paul includes that point in the gospel (above) of 1 Corinthians 15. One must accept the work of God in Christ, as presented, in order to move from the Devil to God. It is that simple.
Life application: In the previous verse it was seen that Jesus is “the Savior of the world.” Yes, this is true, and He is the One that can bring salvation; no other name will do. But this in no way implies universalism. Jesus is not the Savior to everyone in the world, despite being the Savior of the entire world. There is a requirement for this salvation to be realized. This requirement is consistently stated in the Bible – faith in Jesus.
Confessing that Jesus is the Son of God is the vehicle of salvation, but faith is the gas which makes it run. In other words, anyone can say, “Jesus is the Son of God,” but not really mean it. Tied into this confession is the sincere belief that it is true. Also tied into it is what is implied in the confession. “Son of God” means exactly that, Son of God.
If God is God and God has a Son, then the Son of God carries the very nature of His Father – He is fully God. Likewise, man is man. If Jesus was born into humanity, then the Son of Man carries the very nature of humanity – He is fully Man. The confession that Jesus is the Son of God is a confession about the very nature of the Person, and it is a confession based on faith. This isn’t complicated, but it is so enormously twisted by cults – Gnostics, Arians, Mormons, etc. that the concept no longer carries the same meaning intended by the Holy Spirit who authored Scripture.
This shouldn’t be difficult for us to grasp, but it carries eternal consequences. If you are struggling with Jesus’ nature, pray to the Lord and ask Him to clear this up in your thinking. God has given you all the necessary information, and He wants you to process it properly. When you do, God abides in you and you in God.
Lord Jesus, we confess that You are the Son of God – born of God and bearing the very nature of Your Father. You came in human flesh to give us restoration so that we can now call on Him as our Father! Thank You for this glorious work, and may Your name be praised for all eternity! Amen.