Life-Study of 1, 2, & 3 John, Judeby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall continue to consider 2:3-6. We have seen that 2:1 and 2 are a conclusion to the word in 1:5-10 regarding our confession and God’s forgiveness of our sins. Confessing our sins is the first condition of our enjoyment of the fellowship of the divine life. According to 2:3-11, the second condition is that we keep the Lord’s word and love the brothers.
In 2:5 John says, “But whoever keeps His word, truly in this one the love of God has been perfected. In this we know that we are in Him.” The words “in this” in the last sentence refer to the matter of keeping the Lord’s word and having the love of God perfected in us. The phrase “in Him” refers to our being in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a strong expression, for it emphasizes the fact that we are one with the Lord.
If we read the context of these verses, we shall realize that it is an important matter to have a sign indicating that we are in the Lord. How can we prove that we are in the Triune God? What is the evidence that we are truly in Him? The first sign that we are in Him is that we know God experientially in our daily life.
When John speaks of knowing God (v. 3), he speaks of knowing Him not doctrinally but experientially, by keeping His commandments. We should not merely know in a doctrinal way that God is almighty and that He created the heavens and the earth. We need to know God experientially in a way that affects our daily living. Others may wonder why you do not participate in certain forms of worldly entertainment. The reason that you do not participate should be that you know God, that you know Him in His holy nature. Because God’s holy nature does not allow you to participate in that form of entertainment, you refrain from doing so. Likewise, if we know God in His nature, this will affect the way we do our shopping. Knowing God in this way will also cause us to be sincere in relation to others. Because we know the Lord in His nature of sincerity, we would not be political. Therefore, the reason we behave ourselves and have our being in a particular way should not be merely that we follow the outward teachings of the Bible, but even the more that we know God’s nature and character and live according to what God is.
Sometimes others may try to convince you that there is no need for you to be so strict in your living. They may tell you, for example, that there is nothing wrong with spending some time engaging in a certain kind of amusement. You may wish to answer them by saying, “I do not view this as a matter of right or wrong. My testimony is that I know my God. I have a living God dwelling within me, and I am in Him and one with Him organically. This means that His nature becomes mine and what He is becomes my constituent. As a result, I know Him subjectively and experientially. This is the reason I cannot conduct myself in the same way others do. Unbelievers do not have Him, and, of course, they do not know Him or experience Him. Do you know why I behave in the way I do? It is because I have Him, know Him, and enjoy Him. The Lord is not only my life—He is everything to me. I do not live according to certain regulations or requirements. This is a matter of the divine life within me. The Lord dwells in me, and I know Him experientially.”
To be in the Lord Jesus Christ is to be one with Him organically. It is not to be one with Him merely in a doctrinal way. When we are organically one with the Lord, He is our life and even becomes our nature.
Every kind of life has its particular nature. With the nature of the divine life there is a certain taste. Because we have the Lord as our life and because we enjoy His nature, we also have the taste that comes with the divine nature. However, anyone who does not have the divine nature cannot have the divine taste. But because we have the taste of the divine nature, we simply cannot do certain things.
As an illustration of what we mean by the taste of the divine nature, we may consider what happens when something with a bitter taste is placed in the mouth of a baby. There is no need to teach the young one not to eat something bitter. As soon as a bitter-tasting substance is placed in a baby’s mouth, he will spit it out. The child does not behave according to regulations learned from his mother. There is no need for a mother to teach her baby not to eat things that are bitter. In the life of her child there is a nature that rejects things that taste bitter. In a similar way, there is in the divine nature a particular taste that causes us to reject those things that are contrary to the nature of the One who lives within us.
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