Sermon 3004. The Christian's Manifestation
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 1906.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, AUGUST 5, 1866.
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear,we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." 1 John 3:2.
THE text mentions, "now," and then passes on to the future and speaks of, "yet." It does, however, speak of, "now" and, afterall, despite our trials, there is much to make us happy in our present condition. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God." Ourmanifold temptations and infirmities cannot make us lose the blessings that come to us through our adoption into the familyof God! "Happy are you, O Israel: who is like unto you, O people saved by the Lord?" Today, even today, we are the blessedof the Lord and we find in godliness the blessing of "the life that now is."
Yet, Beloved, for all that, we are still forced to cry-
"Alas for us if you were all, And nothing beyond, O earth!" If this were all our life, it would have been better for us notto have lived. Woe unto us if we had to live here always! Young says-
"Were there no death, even fools might wish to die"-
and, certainly, wise men would do so, for, Brothers and Sisters, this is a life of distractions, cares, anxieties, disappointmentsand, what is worse, it is a life of sins, sorrows and bitter repentances for wrong-doing! This life is to us a traveler'slife with all the inconveniences that we meet with in travelling. We are here today and we are gone tomorrow! Sometimes theheat consumes us and at other times the cold bites us. We are like men at sea-we have not yet cast our anchor, nor furledour sails, nor reached the port where we are bound-and the sea in which we are sailing is rough, tempest-tossed and besetwith rocks, shoals and quicksands. Our soul is often half a wreck and longs for the desired haven where, "the wicked ceasefrom troubling" and, "the weary are at rest." Ours is a soldier's life-we have to be constantly fighting, or else continuallyupon our guard. Think not, you who have just buckled on your harness, that you have won the victory, for the good soldiersof Jesus Christ must fight from morn till evening, from youth's happy morning till the eve of gray old age!
I would not paint life in sadder colors than it needs, but I dare not shut my eyes to the fact that this is a sad world andthat our path is one of sorrow, for it is "through much tribulation" that we "enter into the Kingdom of God."-
"The path of sorrow and that path alone, Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown."
It is to that other and better land that I would, for a little while, bear away your thoughts. We shall borrow the wings ofour text and, like the eagle, soar towards Heaven!
I. We will begin with this sentence-IT DOES NOT YET APPEAR WHAT WE SHALL BE.
What we are to be, we can scarcely guess. Indeed, we cannot guess at all by the use of our senses. "Eye has not seen, norear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him. But God hasrevealed them unto us by His Spirit." But only to our spirits! Flesh and blood, as they are, cannot inherit the Kingdom ofGod and cannot even guess what that Kingdom is like. This is not the place where the Christian is to be seen. This is theplace of his veiling-Heaven is the place of his manifestation. This is the place of his night. Yonder is the place of hisday. Our portion is on the other side of the river-our days of feasting are not yet!
Some of the reasons why "it does not yet appear what we shall be" may be as follows. First, our Master was, to a great extent,concealed and hidden, and we must expect to be as He was. Is it not written, in this very Epistle, "as He is, as are we inthis world?" Jesus said to His followers when He was here upon earth, "The disciple is not above his master, nor the servantabove his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord." My Brothers and Sisters,see that Man wearing a coat "without seam, woven from the top throughout"-the carpenter's son, the heir of poverty, the Companionof the humblest classes of mankind? Can you see in Him God over all, blessed forever? If you can, you are not looking withthe eyes of your flesh, I am sure, for in that manner, you cannot detect the Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ beneath so humblea garb. The veil which the Savior cast about Himself was not so thick but that some rays of His Glory burst through when Hetrod the waves, rebuked the winds and raised the dead, but still, it was sufficiently dense, for He cried, "The foxes haveholes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has not where to lay His head." You will see that Christ wasconcealed as you remember that.
But, as Dr. Watts says-
"All riches are His native right"-
yet, when He had to pay the Temple tax, He had to work a miracle that Peter might be able to catch the fish which had theexact amount required in its mouth. He was so poor that He had to live upon the charity of His followers. Would you have believedthat He was the Lord of all creation if you had seen Him up on yonder lonely mountain's side without a bed to rest upon, orsitting wearily upon Jacob's well at Sychar and asking a sinful woman to give Him a little water to drink? The Savior was,indeed, masked and hidden so that the vulgar eye could not detect His Glory. Only such eagle-eyed men as John were able tosay, "We beheld His Glory, the Glory as of the Only-Begotten of the Father, full of Grace and truth." Our Lord's wisdom, Grace,power and all His other illustrious attributes were concealed beneath the veil of our inferior clay. Dr. Watts was right,as I reminded you just now, when he wrote-
"Worthy is He that once was slain
The Prince of Peace that groaned and died-
Worthy to rise, and live, and reign
At His almighty Father's side!
Power and dominion are His due
Who stood condemned at Pilate's bar.
Wisdom belongs to Jesus, too,
Though He was charged with madness here.
All riches are His native right,
Yet He sustained amazing loss!
To Him ascribe eternal might
Who left His weakness on the Cross." So fully did He veil His Glory that some even ventured to call Him Beelzebub and to saythat He was a gluttonous man and a winebibber!
Now, Christian, as you think of all this, do you wonder if worldlings do not know you and only speak of you to slander you?Do you wonder if your integrity is questioned and your most manifest virtue is misrepresented? And if the Grace which reallyis within you is laughed at and despised? How could the world know you when the Savior, Himself, was not discovered? As thebright gleams of His Divine Glory were almost wholly concealed, surely the weaker gleams of your earthly and human glory mustbe altogether hidden! That, perhaps, is the first reason why "it does not yet appear what we shall be."
I think I may also remark, Brothers and Sisters, that we are not yet fit to let it appear what we shall be. "The son in thehouse," says one, "is treated as if he were a servant-and even worse than if he were a servant. A servant is not chastised-hemay do many wrong things and yet escape without a stripe-yet it is not as with the son. Why does not his father give him thehonor and dignity which belong to his sonship?" Simply because he is at present only a child and he must be treated as a childfor a time, in order that he may be fitted to adorn his sonship. It would spoil him to receive at once all that is to be hiswhen he enters upon his inheritance. He is the heir to all his father's estates, yet he has to be thankful to his father foreven a penny-and he receives his pittance week by week, as though he were a poor pensioner upon his father's bounty or a beggarat his door. Why does not the father give this heir to large estates a thousand
pounds? Why does he not entrust him with a great store of wealth? Because he is in his nonage and if he were trusted witha large sum of money at so early an age, he might grow profligate and so be unfit to use his wealth rightly if he should reachriper years.
Brothers and Sisters, you and I, if we are Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, are kings-not only sons of God, but kings whoare to reign with Him forever! Then why are we not treated like kings? You know that in some earthly royal families, it isthought best for the prince, the heir-apparent to the throne, that he should be a soldier or a sailor and serve his countryin that capacity, so that, when he comes to the throne, he may understand how to wield his scepter for the good of all classesof his subjects. So, Christian, is it with you. You are so childish at present-you have just lately begun to learn the natureof Divine things. You are uninstructed-you know but in part and you know that part so badly that it would not be fitting thatyour greatness should be revealed to you at present! You must be held back for a while till you have been better trained inthe Holy Spirit's school-and thenit shall appear what you shall be!
A third reason why it does not yet appear what we shall be is, I think, because this is not the world in which the Christianis to appear in his glory, for, if he did, his glory would be lost in this world. The multitude climbed to the tops of thetrees, or the roofs of the houses, from where they might see Caesar or Pompey returning with the spoils of war. And the multitudesstill clap their hands when a warrior has overcome his country's enemies and so become a great man. But the world cares littleor nothing about self-denial, about Christian love, about consecration and devotion to Christ and His cause-yet these thingsare the glory of a Christian! That morel excellence, that spiritual worth which flashes from the eyes of the holy angels andthe saints in Glory is almost unappreciated here. Your Master has had this Glory, though it was usually veiled while He washere below, yet the people cried out, "away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!" And if you had here, to its full extent,the glory which will be revealed in you in Heaven, people would say the same concerning you! This is not the world in whichyou are to display your full honors. When a king is journeying through a foreign country, he does not wear his crown, northe rest of his regal clothes-he often travels incognito and even when he reaches his own country, he does not put on hisroyal robe for fools to admire at every village wake and fair! He is not a puppet-king, strutting upon the stage to show himselfto the common people-he reserves his grandeur for great public occasions and grand court ceremonies. In this poor sinful world,you Christians would be out of place if you could be what you shall yet be! You, also, must go incognito through this worldto a large extent. But, by-and-by, you shall take off the travel-worn garments that you have worn during your earthly pilgrimageand put on your beautiful array and be manifested to the whole universe as a son or a daughter of "the King Eternal, Immortal,Invisible!"
And to close this part of the subject, "It does not yet appear what we shall be," because this is not the time for the displayof the Christian's glory. If I may use such an expression, time is not the time for the manifestation of a Christian's glory.Eternity is to be the period for the Christian's full development and for the sinless display of his God-given glory. Herehe must expect to be unknown-it is in the hereafter that he is to be discovered as a son of the great King. At present itis with us as it is with the world during winter. If you had not seen the miracle worked again and again, you would not guess,when you look upon those black beds in the garden, or when you walk over that snowy and frosty covering, crisp and hard beneathyour feet, that the earth will yet be sown with all the colors of the rainbow and that it will be gemmed with flowers of unspeakablebeauty! No, the winter is not the time when the beauty of the earth is to be best seen. And, Christian, you, also, must passthrough your winter season. Yes, but let that wintry weather once be over, let the bleak December winds howl into your ears,let the cold and cheerless January come and go, let February also pass and, behold, the springtime comes! I might also saythat gray hairs come upon your head like the snowflakes appear upon the earth-as the forerunner of spring and of summer-andyour soul shall yet blossom "with unspeakable joy and full of glory," and all the graces and excellence of the Christian shallbe revealed in you! It is winter with you now, but the summer comes!
If you stand, as many of you have often done, at the seaside, you have noticed that at certain hours of the day there is along expanse of mud, or of dry sand, and it may not seem to one who sees it for the first time as though the sea had everrolled over it, or that it ever would. Ah, but "it does not yet appear" what it will be! It is ebb-tide now, but wait tillthe flood comes and then you will see the whole of that black mire or that yellow sand glistening in the sunshine! So, theflood of glory is rising, Christian! Can you not see the breakers in the distance, the white crests of the incoming waves?
God's great sea of eternity draws nearer and nearer! Can you not hear the booming of that mighty flood? Soon shall your ransomedspirit float and bathe in that sea of Glory where not a single wave shall cause you a moment's grief or pain! This is notthe time, Christian, in which you are to be fully revealed. You are, today, like that ugly shriveled seed-there is no beautyin it that you should desire it. Yes, but wait a little while and the sweetly-perfumed flower shall shed its fragrance inthe air and make the gazer pause to admire the matchless colors with which God has been pleased to paint it! Then shall itsfull glory be known and seen! At present you are in your seed stage and your sowing time is coming. Tremble not that it isso. There will be a time for your poor flesh to sleep in the silent grave, but, at the voice of the archangel and the blastof the trumpet of the Resurrection, you shall arise! Just as the flower rises in spring, the dead body, which was put intothe tomb, shall rise incorruptible in the image of the Savior!
So, you see, "it does not yet appear what we shall be," because the Lord Jesus Christ was not fully revealed here, becausewe are not fit to appear in Glory, because we are not here in the midst of the men and women who should see us in our gloryandbecause it is not yet the right time for us thus to appear. "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purposeunder the heavens," but this is not the time for the full manifestation of Christians and, therefore, "it does not yet appearwhat we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."
II. Having spent so much time over the previous clause, we will merely hint at the teaching of the next words of the text-"BUTWE KNOW THAT WHEN HE SHALL APPEAR."
So, then, it is quite certain that Christ will appear. John does not stop to prove it. He speaks of it as though it were perfectlyunderstood that Christ would again appear and he mentions what is to be the nature of that appearing.
Christ will appear in Person. This is what the two angels declared to the disciples after His Ascension, "This same Jesus,which is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into Heaven." That is, as theIncarnate God He will come back from Heaven.
When He comes, He will appear full of happiness. There will be no more sorrow to winkle His brow, no more furrows to be plowedon His back, no fresh wounds to be made in His hands or his feet, no more offering of a Sacrifice for sin-He will come toforever rejoice with His people!
Further, when He comes, He will appear in His Glory-not as the Man of Nazareth to be despised and spit upon- but as "The MightyGod, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." If any of you are tempted to ask, "When will He come?" I give you His ownassurance, "Surely I come quickly." So go your way and pray, as John did, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus," yet do not forget Paul'sInspired sentence, "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves knowperfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then suddendestruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." Christ is coming, Beloved, literallycoming-not figuratively and by His Spirit, but literally, actually, really-
"Lo! He comes with clouds descending Once for favored sinners slain."
He is coming in Glory to dwell in the midst of His saints forever. This is our blessed hope, "the glorious appearing of thegreat God and our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify untoHimself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
III. Now, passing on, "We know that when He shall appear, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM; FOR WE SHALL SEE
HIM AS HE IS.
There are other passages in His Word where we are distinctly told that His manifestation will be coincident with our manifestation.Here we are told that "when He shall appear, we shall be like Him." And the reason given for this is, "for we shall see Himas He is."
Let us, while pondering the text, then, meditate upon this great Truth of God-"We shall be like Him." This afternoon, meditatingupon this glorious assurance that I shall be like Christ-and I fully believe that I shall be like Him-it did seem to me asif it were almost too good to be true!
Yet it is true that we are to be like Christ, first, as to our body. Here we are like the first Adam of the earth, earthy.But we shall, one day, have a body like that of the second Adam, a heavenly body! Like the first Adam, we are now
mortal. Like the second Adam, we shall, by-and-by, be immortal! Christ's body is not now subject to any pains, or to any decayor disease-neither shall our body be. It is quite true that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God," yet it willbe this very body of ours that willinherit the Kingdom of God, only that which is corruptible in it, that which is mere fleshand blood, will then have been removed! As the Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians in that wonderful chapter about theResurrection, "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body." It is "a spiritual body" which the Lord Jesus Christhas today. I cannot imagine how glorious the Savior is in Heaven, but I always think of Him, even when He was upon this earth,as being far fairer than any artist ever depicted Him. I have gazed a long while upon many paintings of Christ, both in Englandand abroad, but I have never yet seen one which appeared to me to be equal even to my ideal of the Savior! I have looked andI have said, "Oh, no! He was far fairer than that! There must have been more beauty in His face than even that great masterhas portrayed." Well, Brothers and Sisters, if that is true concerning Him as He was when among the sons of men, how trueit must be concerning Him as He is now! He is fairer than all the fair spirits that surround the heavenly Throne! He is "theRose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valleys." Among the shining seraphim and cherubim, none can be compared with Him and, Christian,you are to be like Him! Whatever are the Characteristics of the Savior's glorified body, they are to be the characteristicsof your body, also! You are to have an immortal body, a spiritual body, a body incapable of pain, suffering, decay-a bodywhich shall be suited to your emancipated spirit, a body having a wider range than this limited earthly sphere, having greaterpowers at locomotion, perhaps flying, swiftly as light, from world to world, or possibly having the power even to outrun thelightning's flash! I do not know how wondrous Christ's glorified body is, but I do know that when He shall appear, we shallbe like Him (even in body); for we shall see Him as He is."
But, far more important than that, we shall also be like Christ in soul. Have the eyes of your spiritual understanding orsanctified imagination ever looked upon Christ's spotless, perfectly-developed soul-that equably-adjusted spirit, in whichno one power or passion was too prominent or predominant-but in which His whole Being was beautifully molded and rounded accordingto the perfect pattern of moral excellence and beauty? Now, Beloved, you are to be just like that-not quick in temper, asperhaps you now are, but meek and lowly as He was-not haughty and prone to pride, but humble and gentle as He was-not selfishand self-seeking, but as disinterested and as tender to others as He was-in fact, perfection's own self! It was said of Harrythe Eighth that if all the histories of all the tyrants who ever lived had been lost, you might have composed them all withthe material from the life of that execrable monster! And I will venture to say that if all the biographies of all the goodmen and holy angels that have ever existed could be blotted out of existence or memory, they might all be written again withthe material from the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, for in Him dwells all excellence and all goodness! What a joy it is tous to know that we shall be like Him! Brothers and Sisters in Christ, this blessed Truth of God is enough to make you standup or even leap in the exuberance of your joy! I have heard of our enthusiastic Welsh friends dancing during some of theirpreachers' sermons-and if it is this or a similar Truth which makes them dance, who can wonder at it? "We shall be like Him"-likeHim in soul, with no more infirmities of temper, or sloth, or undue haste. Our human nature shall be rid of all its rags andwe shall be perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is perfect! Oh, that the blessed day had already come and that we were likeour Lord! But "we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is."-
"Nor does it yet appear-How great we must be made! But when we see our Savior here, We shall be like our Head."
Time fails me to say what I should have liked to have said, yet I ought to add that we shall be like Christnot only in bodyand in soul, but also in condition. We shall be with Him where He is and we shall be as happy as He is, as far as our capacityfor happiness goes. We shall be crowned even as He is crowned and we will sit upon thrones even as He sits upon His Father'sThrone. He shall lead us to living fountains of water and be our constant Companion, never going away from us again. He shallcall us His brethren and we shall share in His honor and Glory. The joy of which we shall partake shall be His joy, and itwill be in us that our joy may be full. O Christian, think lofty thoughts concerning the Lord in Glory and remember that youshall be like Him! I cannot help repeating that quaint little ditty which Rowland Hill was so fond of humming in his old age-
"And when I'm to die, 'Receive me,' I'll cry, For Jesus has loved, I cannot tell why! But thus I do find, we too are so joinedHe'll not live in Glory and leave me behind."
IV. So, "we shall be like Him." And the reason why we shall be like Him is thus given by John, "FOR WE SHALL SEE HIM AS HEIS."
How is it that we shall be like Him because of that? Partly, by reflection. Perhaps you are aware that in the olden time,looking-glasses (if I may use an Irishism), were not looking-glasses at all, for they were made of polished brass. If a personlooked into such a mirror when the sun was shining upon that mirror, not only would the mirror itself be bright, but it wouldalso throw a reflection on the face of the person who was looking into it. This is only according to the laws of light. Whena man looks into a bright mirror, it makes him, also, bright, for it throws its own light upon his face and, in a much morewonderful fashion, when we look at Christ, who is all brightness, He throws some of His brightness upon us! When Moses wentup into the mountain to commune with God, his face shone because he had received a reflection of God's Glory upon his face.He had looked into the blazing light of Deity, as far as a created eye could look there and, therefore, that light was sobrilliantly reflected in his own face that Aaron and the people were afraid to draw near him-and he had to cover his facewith a veil while he spoke to them.
Further, Beloved, we get to be like Christ by seeing Him in type and symbol, as through a glass darkly. The Lord's Supperis one of the glasses. Believer's Baptism is another. The preaching of the Word is another. The Bible, itself, is anotherof these glasses. It is only a partial reflection of Christ that we get from all these glasses yet, as we look at it, as Paulwrites to the Corinthians, "We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the sameimage from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord," or, "by the Lord, the Spirit."
But, Brothers and Sisters, if there is such a sanctifying influence about the very reflection of Jesus Christ, what a wondrouspower it must have upon us when we see Him as He is When we shall gaze upon Him with unveiled vision and see Him as He is,do you wonder that John says that then, "we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is"? Oh, that amazing sight, thatunique sight of Jesus as He is! It would be worthwhile to die a thousand painful deaths in order to get one brief glimpseof Him as He is! I do not think that Rutherford exaggerated when he talked of swimming through seven Hells to get at Christif he could not get at Him any other way. A distant view of Him, as we have seen Him "leaping upon the mountains, skippingupon the hills," has so ravished our souls that we have scarcely known whether we have been in the body or out of our body.When we have heard His voice, we have longed to be with Him. The very thought of Him has made us like the dove separated fora while from her mate, long to cleave the air with rapid wing and fly home to our dovecote and to our blessed Noah. What mustit be to be there? What must it be to see our Savior as He is?
In some of the houses not far from here, I noticed some finches in cages in which there were tufts of grass, or small branchesof trees as perches for the poor prisoners-yet they were singing away right merrily. I suppose that grass and those fragmentsof trees were meant to remind them, in this great, dirty, smoky Babylon, that there are green fields and wide forests somewhere.I thought, as I looked upon them, "Ah, you poor birds are like what I myself am! My Master has put me in a little cage andbid me bide here for a while-and He has given me my little tuft of grass as an earnest of my inheritance in the-
"Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood."
He graciously sends me a few comforts on the way. Ah, but that poor little tuft of grass, what is it in comparison with thefields and the hedges which are the proper home of the singing birds which have their liberty? And, Christian, you do notknow what it will be for you to have your cage door opened that you may fly away to that blessed land where the true birdsof Paradise forever warble, from their joyful throats, the loudest praises to the great King who has set them free forever!Let us begin the music here! Let us try, even now, to anticipate that happy day as we sing of-
"Jerusalem the golden,
With milk and honey blest-
"The daylight is serene."-
"The pastures of the blessed
Are decked in glorious sheen."
I leave my text with you who love the Lord. As for you who do not love Him, I dare not give it to you. Oh, that you did loveHim and that you did trust Him! He waits to be gracious. Seek His face and He will be found of you. Fly to Him and He willnot reject you. Trust in Him and He will wash you from all your sins and bring you to His Presence in eternal Glory, to gono more out forever! May He give you this unspeakable blessing, for His love's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: 1 JOHN 2; 3:1, 2.
1 John 2:1. My little children, these things I write unto you, that you sin not This is one of the great objectives of all that is writtenby Inspiration-that we may be kept from sin. O child of God, as you would fear to drink poison, as you would flee from a serpent,dread sin!
1. And if any man sins. Is it a hopeless case then? Far from it! "If any man sins."
1-3. We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins: and not forours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.Holiness of life is the best proof that we know God. It matters not how readily we can speak about God, nor how much we supposethat we love Him-the great test is, do we keep His commandments? What a heart-searching test this is! How it should humbleus before the Mercy Seat!
4-6. He that says, I know Him, and keeps not His commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps Hisword, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him. He that says he abides in Him ought himselfalso so to walk, even as He walked. When we try to be, in every respect, what God's Word tells us we ought to be, then maywe know that we are in God. But if we walk carelessly, if we take no account of our actions, but do, after a random fashion,whatever comes into our foolish hearts, then have we no evidence at all that we are in God!
7. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which we had from the beginning. The old commandmentis the word which you have heard from the beginning. "From the time when Christ first began to preach, or when the Gospelwas first preached in your ears."
8. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in Him and in you: because the darkness is past, and thetrue light now shines. That which is new in the Gospel, in one sense, is not new in another, for, though John was about towrite what he called a new commandment, yet, at the same time, he was writing something which was not novel, something whichwas not grafted upon the Gospel, but which grows naturally out of it, namely, the Law of Love.
9. He that says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness, even until now. God is Love and God is Light. Therefore,love is light, and the Light of God is Love. Where enmity and hatred are still in the heart, it is proof positive that theGrace of God is not there.
10-15. He that loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hates hisbrother is in darkness, and walks in darkness, and knows not where he goes, because that darkness has blinded his eyes. Iwrite unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake. I write unto you, fathers, becauseyou have known Him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because you have overcome the Wicked One. I writeunto you, little children, because you have known the Father I have written unto you, fathers, because you have known Himthat is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word ofGodabides in you, andyouhave overcome the Wicked One. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, thelove of the Father is not in him. For this sinful world is directly opposed to the Father. You cannot send your heart at thesame time in two opposite ways-towards evil and towards good. You must make a choice between the two.
16, 17. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of theFather, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides forever.It ought not, then, to be difficult to make a choice between these fleeting shadows and the everlasting substance.
18. Little children, it is the last time. You may read the passage, "It is the last hour," as if John wanted to show how lateit was and how soon Christ would come. "It is the last hour."
18. And as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is thelast time. How much more emphatically John might write this verse if he were writing today!
19. They went out from us. For, alas, many of the antichrists came out of the Church. They sprang up from among the followersof Christ. "They went out from us."
19, 20. But they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us but they went out,that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But you have an unction from the Holy One, and you know allthings. "You who know God-and even the little children, the babes in Christ, know the Father-know all things. And you willnot be led astray and deceived by these antichrists who have gone out into the world."
21. I have not written unto you because you know not the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.The truth is all of a piece, and a lie cannot be a part of the truth. Christ does not teach us a Jesuitical system in whicherror and falsehood are mixed up with truth-the Gospel is all truth-and to those who believe it we may say, "You know thetruth, and you also know that no lie is of the truth."
22, 23. Who is a liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ?He is antichrist that denies the Father and the Son. Whoeverdenies the Son, the same has not the Father. They who deny the Deity of Christ practically deny the Divine Fatherhood of God.It is not possible for us to understand the rest of the Truth of God if we do not believe in Christ, who is the Truth. Asthe poet says-
"You cannot be right in the rest Unless you think rightly of Him."
23-28. [But]he that acknowledges the Son has the Father also. Let that therefore abide in you, which you have heard from thebeginning. If that which you have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, you also shall continue in the Son, and inthe Father. And that is the promise that He has promised us, even eternal life. These things have I written unto you concerningthem that seduce you. But the anointing which you have received of Him abides in you, and you need not that any man teachyou: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and in truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, we shallabide in Him. And now, little children, abide in Him. That which is the subject of promise is also the subject of precept.And the precepts of the Gospel are given to Christians because, in this way, God keeps His own promise and so leads me toobey His precepts.
28, 29. That, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know thatHe is righteous, you know that everyone that does righteousness is born of Him.
1 John 3:1, 2. Behold, what manner oflove the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the worldknows us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God and it does not yet appear what we shall be: butwe know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.