Love Made Perfect
1 John 2:1-6
The object of God the Holy Spirit in giving us the book of 1st John is that all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ might have the blessed assurance of faith, the sweet assurance of God’s salvation (1 John 5:1, 10-13). If you would have assurance, a real assurance of salvation, an assurance that will give you peace in your own conscience, one thing is required, just one thing: — The love of God must be perfected in you.
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.” — John’s message is clear. — Don’t sin! Sin is never to be tolerated by the heaven-born soul. Let all who are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ seek in all things the honor of our Redeemer. — “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). Seek, child of God, to live according to the faith of the gospel God has taught you (Titus 2:1-14), and never be content until you sin no more.
Sin You Do
“And if any man sin…” — Read the “if” as small as you wish, it still reads “when.” The fact is you do always sin. All God’s saints in this world are sinners still; and they all know it (Romans 7:14-25). Sin is mixed with all we do. Anything to which I put my filthy hands, I defile. Even our most perfect deeds of righteousness are filthy rags before the thrice holy God (Isaiah 64:6).
“And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world.” — Blessed be his holy name forever, when God’s saints sin, Christ is our Advocate with the Father, ever present to plead our cause before the throne of grace. And he is an effectual advocate. He always prevails in the court of heaven. Those for whom he pleads can never be charged with sin (Romans 4:8), because he made atonement for our sins and put them away by the sacrifice of himself (Romans 8:1-4; 33-34).
“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” — If we would have assurance of this boundless free grace, of this great salvation in and by the Lord Jesus Christ, we must keep his commandments. How do we keep his commandments? The only way any fallen child of Adam can keep the commandments of God is by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 6:28-29; 1 John 3:23; Romans 3:31), who kept the commandments for us as our Representative (Romans 5:19) and satisfied all the justice of God by his sin-atoning death as our Substitute (Romans 3:24-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13).
“But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” — The assurance of salvation arises from the love of God being perfected in us. The word “perfected” means “finished, fulfilled, completed.” The eternal love of God for his elect comes to its intended end, its fulfilment, its completion when it is shed abroad in the hearts of chosen, redeemed sinners by the Holy Ghost in the new birth (Romans 5:1-5). It is this “perfect love,” the love of God reaching its intended end in our salvation, which “casteth out fear” and will give redeemed sinners “boldness in the day of judgment” (1 John 4:17-18).
It is this revelation of the love of God in Christ that brings faith in Christ by the power and grace of God the Holy Spirit (Galatians 4:6-7). Blessed river of love, ever flowing from the throne of God, making glad the City of God, springing up in our souls unto everlasting life!
“He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” — The love of Christ shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost constrains us to live for his glory in this world. This love of God revealed in us, assuring us of God’s salvation by Christ Jesus, is that which inspires devotion, compels consecration to Christ, and constrains us to live for him who loved us and gave himself for us (2 Corinthians 5:14-16; 1 Corinthians 6:11).
Believers are not under the rule of law, but the rule of love. We are not motivated by fear of punishment or promise of reward. It is the knowledge of the love of Christ that motivates and governs our lives. Knowing that Christ redeemed us, we are assured that when he died, we died in him (Galatians 2:20). And we rejoice to know that Christ died for us that we who live in him might forever cease to live unto ourselves and live unto him who loved us and gave himself for us.
How did our Savior walk in this world? He lived and walked as a man utterly consecrated to God, entirely submissive and obedient to the will of God, loving and serving the children of God (John 13:15). Oh for grace to follow his example! Live for God, my brother. Live for God, my sister (Titus 2:1-14). To live for God is to live for the benefit of his people. (Ephesians 4:32-5:2).
The old commandment of the law and the new commandment of the gospel is the same: — “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Faith in Christ is the evidence of salvation (Hebrews 11:1; 1 John 5:1, 10). Brotherly love is the fruit of faith (1 John 2:7-11). This love which is the fruit of faith is not some imaginary universal love for all men. No man loves all men; and to pretend that he does is to declare that his love is utterly meaningless and useless, for it does nothing for the vast majority of men. That love which is the fruit of faith in Christ, the fruit of God’s love made perfect in us, is the special love of brethren, loving them as brethren, as members of Christ’s body, as one with Christ and for Christ’s sake.
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