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 1 John there are three main sections: the fellowship of the divine life (1:1—2:11), the teaching of the divine anointing (2:12-27), and the virtues of the divine birth (2:28—5:21). The first portion in the third section (2:28—3:10a) is concerned with the practice of the divine righteousness. With this message we come to the second portion of this section (3:10b—5:3), a portion on the practice of the divine love. In the divine birth there is a virtue that enables us to practice the divine love.
In order to practice the divine love as a virtue of the divine life, we need the divine life and the divine Spirit. The divine life is the divine seed that we all have within our regenerated spirit. In addition to the divine life that has been sown as the divine seed into our being, we also have the divine Spirit within our spirit. The divine life and the divine Spirit are the “capital” within us that enables us to practice the divine love. The divine life is the source, and the divine Spirit is the One who actually carries out the matter of loving others. The divine love is our daily living as the expression of the divine life carried out by the divine Spirit.
The divine life and the divine Spirit are basic factors for the practice of the divine love. With the divine life and by the divine Spirit, we can have a love that is divine and not merely human. This divine love in the daily living of the children of God is an evidence that we have both the divine life and the divine Spirit.
In 3:10b John says, “Everyone who does not practice righteousness is not out of God, and he who does not love his brother.” Righteousness is the nature of God’s acts; love is the nature of God’s essence. What God is, is love; what God does is righteousness. Love is inward; righteousness is outward. Hence, love is a stronger manifestation that we are the children of God than righteousness. Therefore, the apostle, from this verse through verse 24, proceeds further, from righteousness to love, in the manifestation of the children of God, as a further condition of the life that abides in the Lord.
It is a serious thing for John to say that everyone who does not love his brother is not out of God. As children of God, we certainly are of God and even out of God. Because we are out of God, we surely have God’s life and God’s Spirit in us. Spontaneously, we live a life of loving the brothers. However, if someone does not have such a love, this is an evidence that he has neither the divine life nor the divine Spirit. Hence, there is a serious question concerning whether such a one is a child of God, born of Him. Loving the brothers is a strong evidence that we are out of God, having God’s life and enjoying God’s Spirit.
In verse 11 John goes on to say, “Because this is the message which you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” The message heard from the beginning was the commandment given by the Lord in John 13:34, which is the word the believers heard and had from the beginning. In verse 11 the phrase “from the beginning” is used in the relative sense. The love spoken of here is a higher condition of the life that abides in the Lord.
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