“By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. ~ 1 John 4:13
Explanation of the Text: How wonderful the Christian life is, but it can only be considered the Christian life if the Spirit is involved. What joy can be found during both the thrills and the tribulations of life when life is experienced in the Spirit. A very gift of God, the Spirit of God is a helper and enabler, engaging us with God’s higher calling upon our lives. It is the Holy Spirit that gives testimony and experience to one’s self of the eternal security one finds in the salvation from our Lord.
It is God’s gift of His Spirit that provides evidence to us that we abide in Him. John affirms this point for us in a way that we must not take for granted. He wisely uses the phrase ‘we know.’ The present tense usage tells us of the constant reassurance that we have. It is not merely something that took place awhile ago or a mere comfort to be found in the future, but the Spirit is a present reality in our lives.
Secondly, John uses the first person plural, indicating ‘we.’ More than simply a casual reference of relationship between people, John has greater meaning. He has been speaking of love in this section. Repeatedly John calls on believers to abide. We are to abide with God and with others. Thus, his reference to ‘we’ here carries a great meaning: we love one another because of God’s love given to us through His spirit. True “Christian love is motivated by the Spirit, not by sentimental emotion” (1).
Examination & Application of the Text: The Christian position is a privileged position. Yet, how frequent it is that we seem to overlook that value there is in being a child of God. In dwelling upon this text it is my hope that each of us, myself included, finds a softer heart towards this great gift. It is too easy to become comfortable in our position and thus be complacent in our walk. Instead, our contentment in our position in Christ should not lead to complacency but to comfort of a life in God.
Previously the Spirit’s work in the life of a believer was seen through signs, miracles, and wonders. Now the Spirit’s work in the life of a believer is seen through the expression of love. A Christian lifestyle is a lifestyle of love. The question is, do you love God enough to love others?
Questions to Consider:
- What role does the Holy Spirit play in your life?
- Have you come to a point in your life in which you fully trust and rely on the Holy Spirit?
(1) Karen H. Jobes, 1, 2, & 3 John, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014).