I am thankful for the support and encouragement you have given me as I have written this blog everyday for some time. I am hopeful that it has been some help to a few, and it has blessed me as I have studied and written about the Scripture.
I am feeling very tired at the moment and am taking a break from posting. I will finish my commentary on First John and publish it for Christmas.
I hope you will have a break too and enjoy the presence of the Lord in your life.
Christian love and kind regards, Shirley Hamilton.
“This is the boldness which we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he listens to us.”
It is no empty title to belong to the family of God. We are given immense privileges and advantages to being legally brought into the holy family of heaven. When we belong to God we have access into the throne room of heaven to speak with our Father God, because of what Jesus our brother has done for us. He has bourn away all our sin and all our shamefulness and makes us worthy to speak to the Living God. We can come into His holy presence and ask things of Him. We ask according to His will and He hears us. If we ask in the name of Jesus, God will hear us.
“If you will ask anything in my name, I will do it.”
This verse presupposes that we know His will, or that we know the Lord well enough to know what kinds of things we should be asking for. It is clear in this Scripture that we learn how to pray and what to pray for through the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and God teaches us how to pray, as Jesus taught His disciples. The Spirit teaches us the deep things of God from the Word of God, so that we know God as He is revealed to us.
The Holy Spirit gives us the boldness to speak and ask for all the mercy we require for our pains and troubles. He invites us to worship and adore the Lord and enter into divine communion with God through our prayers.
“You shall call on me, and you shall go and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
This amazing statement in this short verse should astound us. The majesty of the holy God is willing to listen to us and take account of our prayers in the outworking of His will. He will take note of us and answer all our prayers that are prayed under the proviso of His determinate will.
We can come with confidence that He will hear us and listen to us. He is our loving Father who has revealed Himself to us that we might believe in Him and know Him as our Lord and God. We know our friends through talking and sharing, and so also with God. As we talk to Him in prayer He hears us and will answer our prayers according to His will. We can come to Him with holy boldness that trusts in Christ and comes with the confidence that we are covered by the shed blood and now worthy to enter to the mercy seat to find help in times of need.
“Let us therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace for help in time of need.”
“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”
The Word of God is carefully written for us so that we have a concrete revelation of who God is and His truth. The Bible is the revealed Word of God and has been inspired and protected by the Holy Spirit so that it is a reliable book for our education and edification in the things of God. It is primarily written that we might know and find the truth about God and have the message of salvation as to how we can come to Him and know Him for ourselves. It is written for the teaching and uplifting of the people of God so that we can know and be sure we have eternal life and can rejoice on the provision of God.
The Scripture is full of teaching and doctrine and all hangs together as a body of truth that will show us what God is like. We can know there is a God from the creation because His being is clearly revealed there and we are without excuse to not believe in Him.
“For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity, that they may be without excuse.”
God has shown His glory and power in the world He has made but His person and glory are more fully revealed in the Scripture. This is why it is recorded for us, so that we are left in no doubt as to what God is like; what He requires of us; how we can be reconciled to Him; what is kept for those who believe and trust in Christ. We need the Scripture more than our daily food, for it feeds our soul and keeps us right with God. Our faith needs food, the food of the Word of God to sustain us and keep our faith in God bright and strong.
As we read the Word of God we are strengthened and the Holy Spirit witnesses to the inner soul of each of us and teaches us about the Lord. We learn how to please Him and how to live our Christian life for the glory of God.
Beloved, let us continue to put our faith in our Saviour; trust in the eternal Word of God; obey and conform our life to God’s precepts.
“He who has the Son has the life. He who doesn’t have God’s Son doesn’t have the life.”
In this verse we have another conclusion from the reasoning the Apostle John has been leading us through. If we do not possess Christ and His person in our lives, we do not have love and we do not have true life – eternal life. If we do possess Christ in our life, we have eternal life as we still live on this earth.
Jesus brings us eternal life through His sacrificial death on the cross. That sacrifice has paid the price of our sin and when we come to know Him and trust in that sacrifice, we receive eternal life. This is not just a hope in heaven, but a quality of life in the here and now, and a strength in our souls that we did not have before we were changed by Christ. We have become new people – new creations in Christ, made for His glory and not our own sinful self. Self is now put on the cross with Christ and we have a new nature that can fight and overcome temptations and sin and live for God.
Those who know Jesus as their Saviour and Lord have this eternal life and those who do not have this living relationship with Him are lost to life and live in this world under the condemnation of God. To have eternal life means your sins are dealt with and there is no condemnation over you at all.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who don’t walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
Those who have been changed by Christ now live their lives in the power of the Spirit of God and have put to death the compulsion of the flesh, to follow it’s desires and wants. Instead we put on spiritual life and live to God, which we are able to do because of the Spirit within us and the eternal life that we now possess.
“I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. That life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.”
This is the quality of life that the Christian possesses and we live it by faith because we have been so loved. The old self is put to death and we live in the life of Christ which has been put in us by the Spirit. It is a resurrection of the soul and we are now alive to God and dead to self. This is true living and will last forever in joy and peace as we walk with God.
“The testimony is this: that God gave to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”
What exactly is the testimony spoken about here in this book and series of verses? The Apostle tells us clearly.
The testimony of the Word of God and the confirmation of the Holy Spirit is that God has given us eternal life as a free gift because we are in His Son, Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world. This is a kind of life and a quality of life we do not naturally possess, but it is given to us as a free gift when we put our trust in the Son. This life is in us now, who believe, by the Spirit and we enter into the full reality of it at death or when Christ returns for His people. It is a life that will last forever in the bliss of the presence of our Father God and we will see our Saviour, Jesus in all His glory.
Heaven will be filled with all those who have believed to the saving of their souls, and the whole redeemed family of God will be together; people from every nation, tribe and tongue.
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no man could number, out of every nation and of all tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.”
What a gathering that will be, together in eternal joy, all tears wiped away and troubles all over. Death and hell will be long gone and no memory of any hurt or disappointment.
“He will wipe away from them every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away.”
This life is promised to all who believe and the offer of this salvation is open to all who will humble themselves and come to Christ. He is the only Saviour and the only mediator between God and man. We come in humility and repentance to Him and He will freely forgive and take us into the family of God.
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,”
1 Timothy 3:5
This is the true testimony of the Scripture and we can be sure, for those who come to the Lord Jesus are never disappointed. We have the testimony of God which is sure and the testimony of all those who have believed. We can see the truth of God working out through eyes and the mind that have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit. This is what pleases the Lord.
“He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. He who doesn’t believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son.”
Our own validation of our faith is also important. We must know if we are believing in Jesus Christ as revealed in the Scripture and counting on His salvation to rescue us from sin and make us part of the family of God. The inner testimony of the Holy Spirit and the witness of our own conscience confirms our faith and walk with God.
God Himself testifies to us, in His Word, that we are of the family of God. The testimony God gives about His Son is true and so His promises and judgement towards us is also true. If we do not believe what God says concerning His Son, then we make God out to be untrue and therefore unrighteous and unjust. We are passing judgment which is inappropriate, since we are mere creatures and not God. This is the pride of the human heart, that we feel able or have the right to make such judgments.
If we are to count God unreliable in our salvation, then He is also unreliable on other counts too. We end up undermining our faith and counting the efficacy of the blood of Jesus to forgive us as having no effect. This is really blasphemy against the holy God and pure unbelief. If we disbelieve the Word of God then there is no other testimony that is reliable and no foundation for faith but our own feelings and futile thinking.
It all or nothing. We either believe in the Lord our God and what He says to us or not. Our faith is founded on the truths and promises of His Word and so, is reliable. All who trust in Him will never be put to shame…
“Yes, no one who waits for you shall be shamed. They shall be shamed who deal treacherously without cause.”
“If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is God’s testimony which he has testified concerning his Son.”
It is satisfying to be recognised, especially as a sister or brother in Christ. It is assuring when others see your Christian testimony and are able to embrace you and accept you into their circle. To have a witness before each other is so important as by our outward testimony we encourage each other to believe and grow and progress in faith and the Christian life. To be a singular Christian is very difficult and we easily fall into lazy and complacent ways, because we are neglecting to meet together with other believers.
However, even if others do not recognise us and sideline us, we have the witness of God who encourages us in the Scripture and assures us that we belong to Him. This witness is of greater value because of who is saying it. God is the ultimate judge as He knows His own people.
“However God’s firm foundation stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let every one who names the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.”
2 Timothy 2:19
As we conform to the standards of the Word and grow as Christian people, so we are assured that we belong to Christ. Faith saves us and obedience causes us to grow. We know we are of the household of faith because we are obedient children and love the family of God. This is the message of this book and is the testimony that we belong to God. Job also testifies to the comfort of this witness from God, as God’s witness is 100% reliable.
“Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven. He who vouches for me is on high.”
The Lord will vindicate His people and bring all things to justice on their behalf.
God’s testimony is of the same ilk as His testimony about Jesus, His Son, and the whole of Scripture vindicates and validates Him. The testimonial and reassurance of the Lord is the greatest assurance we can have and is far superior to the faulty judgment of human beings. We again take our comfort from the Word of God that we belong to Him because we are trusting in Christ.
“For there are three who testify: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and the three agree as one.”
We have here another trinity in the Scripture that witnesses to the person and work of Christ. The Holy Spirit of God; the water of human birth, thereby showing the identify of Christ as the Son of Man; and the spilt blood on the cross at Calvary for the sin of the world.
The Spirit of God dwelling within the Christian testifies with us what is of God and what is anti-Christ. We can tell who is of the Lord and who not, although in these difficult days, it can be very hard to tell. The waters have been so muddied by falsehood, that there are many issues around true faith and false faith in a fake Saviour, that it is hard to judge sometimes. Not everyone who cries “Lord” is born of God as we are warned in the Scripture.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Disobedience, toleration of worldliness and bad attitudes all abound, and it is easy to be taken in by false people; false doctrine; and the spirit of the age. We must stick to our core beliefs and not be intimidated and brow-beaten into just accepting what we are told. We live in the final days and are entering a period of great turmoil and strife in our world. Trouble is coming and we need to be prepared and to stand against the infiltration of evil into even our churches.
“But know this: that in the last days, grievous times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, not lovers of good, traitors, headstrong, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,”
2 Timothy 3:1-4
These things are all too apparent and not just on the television…
The Spirit testifies with the Word, and we must know the Word and stand with it.
The water that signifies the Son of Man ensures that Jesus is our worthy Saviour and fits the criteria to justify us before the Holy God. His birth signified the beginning of a life lived for us, perfectly and completely in compliance to the will of God. We are saved by this His life and His perfect behaviour has purchased for us that robe of righteousness for us that we must have to stand before God.
The blood of Christ washes away all sin in those who confess their guilt and repent. His blood calls out for the salvation of all the people of God and is sufficient to cleanse the worst of sinners. The blood of Jesus testifies to His amazing love and condescension towards us and shows us that He is our Saviour. Some are embarrassed to speak about the blood of Jesus and feel it is very basic and embarrassing in the complexity of our so-called modern times. This should not be, for without the shed bold there is no salvation for us and we are still sinners who will have to pay for our own sins. Too many are ashamed of Christ in their polite communities which have become infected with political correctness and consider the work of Jesus to be an embarrassment. This is part of the great falling away, along with those who refute personal holiness and pursue experiences and fables.
Beloved, let us test the spirits to ensure we are believing the right things; let us embrace our Saviour for His perfect life; let us not be ashamed of the sacrifice of blood, shed for us on the cross.
“This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.”
The fact that Jesus is the Son of Man as well as the Son of God is central to the doctrine about who Jesus is. He took upon Himself a human body, became man, so that He would qualify to be our Saviour. He came by water when He was born in Bethlehem’s stable and was born into this world as a baby. The eternal Son of God humbled Himself and became like one of His creatures, so that we could be saved from certain destruction and have eternal forgiveness and life with Him. He also identified with us in baptism, asking John the Baptist to baptise Him in the Jordan river. Jesus identified Himself with sinners, as He is the Saviour of sinners and took upon Himself our sin and was punished for it instead of us. The Scripture says that Jesus became sin for us and therefore bore away all our transgressions on His body on the tree.
Jesus was born of blood through the power of the Holy Spirit and was baptised into death for our sake. His body was enveloped in His blood when it was shed to pay for the sin of so many. His blood was His only covering as He was subjected to such shame. As the red blood coved His shame, so it also covers ours and gives us the opportunity to possess that robe of righteousness that we need to cover our sinful nakedness.
We know the truth about Jesus because of the Word of truth, which is the Word of God and the inner witness of the Spirit of God who dwells within us. It is not just emotion or intellectual impressions of what we think is true, but the Spirit witnesses with the Word of God that the words are right and true. The Spirit of God never goes against the Word of the Lord. Anything that is outside the Scripture is not to be trusted, for there is no way we can corroborate that is being put forward. We stand completely on the Holy Word and what it teaches us about our Saviour Jesus.
We live in dangerous days, beloved, for error and deception abound. We must not give our hearts to anyone except the Lord, as He is revealed in the Word of God. We have no other foundation and we must guard our minds and hearts fully against all evil, error and delusion.
“According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another builds on it. But let each man be careful how he builds on it. For no one can lay any other foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 3:10-11
We build our faith on the Word of God alone – on the Old Testament law and prophets and the New Testament Apostles. There is no other foundation than Christ and what has been revealed to us. Let us guard our minds and not give ourselves to emotion and impressions which have no concrete evidence that they are from God.