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 the foregoing message we pointed out that the believers’ relationship in life with God is unbreakable, but their fellowship with Him can be broken. The former is unconditional and has been settled once for all; however, the latter is conditional and may fluctuate. Let us now go on in this message to consider the first condition that must be fulfilled if we are to maintain the divine fellowship: the confessing of sins (1:5—2:2).
In 1:5 John says, “And this is the message which we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” This verse speaks of God. In order to maintain fellowship with God, we need to abide in God. We have seen that in this Epistle there are seven mysteries: the divine life, the fellowship of the divine life, the anointing of the Triune God, abiding in the Lord, the divine birth, the divine seed, and the water, the blood, and the Spirit. Here we are concerned with the mystery of abiding. In the Gospel of John, the Lord Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you” (15:4). Because He is the vine and we are the branches, we need to abide in Him. This revelation concerning abiding is a great matter and a crucial one. We all need to abide in God.
What does it mean to abide in God? Many years ago, I thought that to abide is merely to stay or remain. The Chinese version of the Bible uses the word “dwell.” More than three hundred years ago, when the King James Version was translated, in English the word “abide” did have the connotation of dwell. However, this connotation has largely been lost, and today the word abide primarily means to stay or remain. Actually, “dwell” is a more accurate rendering of the Greek. To abide in God, therefore, is to dwell in Him. Not only should we stay in God—we should dwell in Him. We should live, act, move, and have our being in God.
This thought corresponds to that conveyed by the word “walk” in verse 7, where we are told to walk in the light. The Greek word translated “walk” means to move, act, and have our being. As we remain in God, we should dwell in Him and have our being in Him. God is our true dwelling place, our home. Hence, wherever God goes, we should go with Him and in Him. Because God is our dwelling place, we need to dwell in Him.
We need to know not only who God is but also what God is. First John 1:5 tells us that God is light and that in Him is no darkness at all. The very God in whom we dwell is light. The first aspect of the first condition of maintaining our fellowship with God is to dwell in God as light. When the house in which we dwell is full of light, we also are in light, not in darkness. In a similar way, when we dwell in God, we dwell in light, for God is light.
If we do not dwell in God, our fellowship with Him will immediately be broken. Whenever we do not dwell in God, we are out of the divine fellowship. However, our life relationship with God is not broken. For example, whether a child’s behavior is good or bad, he still has a relationship in life with his father. Whether a child stays at home or tries to run away, the relationship in life with his father remains unbroken. However, the child may not remain in fellowship with his father. There may be times when he does not want to be in the same room with his father or talk with him face to face. This is because the fellowship has been broken, although the life relationship remains. Our life relationship with God cannot be broken. But our fellowship with Him will be broken if we do not abide in Him as the divine light.
We have pointed out that Spirit is the nature of God’s Person, love is the nature of God’s essence, and light is the nature of God’s expression. Light, therefore, is God’s expression; it is God shining. Hence, when we dwell in God, who is the shining One, we are in light.
In 1:5 John says that in God there is no darkness at all. As light is the nature of God in His expression, so darkness is the nature of Satan in his evil works (3:8). Thank God that He has delivered us out of the satanic darkness into the divine light (Acts 26:18; 1 Pet. 2:9). The divine light is the divine life in the Son operating in us. This light shines in the darkness within us, and the darkness cannot overcome it (John 1:4-5). When we follow this light, we shall by no means walk in darkness (John 8:12), which according to the context (1 John 1:7-10) is the darkness of sin.
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