This month's Series looks at I John verse by verse. (Here is the link to the beginning of the Series: I John Introduction.)
Yesterday's post covered I John 4:8-9. Here is the summary:
Remember, towards the end of I John 3, we saw John's preliminary explanation for love:
LOVE is a QUANTITATIVE ACTION that SPECIFICALLY involves GIVING.
LOVE is Profitable.
LOVE is a Right WHAT (giving) with a Right HOW/WHY. However, John has not explained the Right HOW/WHY yet.
I John 4:9 agrees with John's preliminary explanation for love. God sending His only begotten Son into the world is a quantitative action that specifically involves giving.
The EFFECT of this action (us living through Him) is Profitable.
Today, we will see continue to learn the Right HOW/WHY associated with John's definition for love...
I JOHN 4:10-11
"10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
John continues to explain the Right HOW/WHY that defines love. John states that another example of love is God loving us by sending His Son as a propitiation for our sins.
Again, notice this is an ACTION. God gave to us. What EXACTLY did He give to us? What does "propitiation" mean?
This was the same word John used in I John 2:2...
Here is an excerpt from that post:
I JOHN 2
"1 My little children, these things write I unto you that ye may not sin. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
2 and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world."
It is only two verses, but there is a lot here...
-"My little children" means this section is written to new believers.
-John states the reason he has written these thing is so that these new believers may not sin. However, we know that people are going to sin...so John is trying to help people do the best they can at NOT sinning. John's solution is to have Fellowship with God and all the effects mentioned in I John 1 will follow.
-John then ALSO helps people after they sin by stating that if you sin, you have an Advocate: CHRIST.
(Excerpt from "I John 2:1-7")
The verses from I John 4 that we are looking at today sync up with the foundational verses in I John 2. Jesus being the propitiation for our sins allows us to attain Salvation AND avoid sinning. This is a HUGE point!
WHATEVER explanation you have for Salvation, it ought to deal with sin so that it results in Salvation AND prevent the person from sinning WHILE they are doing the explanation you have for Salvation.
Let's take a brief look at two models for Salvation. If you are interested in looking at this issue in depth, we did an entire Series on Salvation. Here is the link for the beginning of that series: "Salvation Series Introduction: Resolution".
Most "Christians" follow the man-made traditional explanation of grace: unmerited favor. There are Greek words for this concept of unmerited favor and they are NOT in the Bible.
Unmerited favor believes that God gives us value we don't deserve to cover our sins. So, the result is we are back to even. There is NO Righteousness that is accumulated. Jesus said our Righteousness needed to EXCEED the righteousness of the Pharisees in order to get into Heaven. Unmerited favor does NOT result in Salvation according to Jesus.
Worse yet, believing in unmerited favor would require the individual to believe we have to reimburse God for what He has given to us OR the individual has to believe that God violates Justice.
Notice that unmerited favor is ONLY necessary when we sin. So we have to sin IN ORDER to get this "grace". Unmerited favor does NOT help us avoid sinning!
Here is a summary from a post from the Salvation Series: "Unmerited Favor":
"Unmerited favor" does NOT result in Righteousness and therefore can't result in Salvation.
"Unmerited favor" violates Justice.
"Unmerited favor" is a man-made tradition that is making the Word and Will of God of NONE effect.
Remember yesterday's post with the verse (Ephesians 2:7) previous to today's focus where Paul speaks about God showing the exceeding riches of His grace in ages to come? Why would we need to cover sins in Heaven?...yet there will be grace in Heaven.
Biblical Grace is "the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life."
We saw that John called this "an anointing from the Holy One" in the same passage that warned us about "antichrists"!
God influences our heart through the Holy Spirit. We choose to allow this influence to reflect off of us and be carried out in our life by the Holy Spirit OR do something in our own strength. This is Fellowship with God!
We do NOT get credit for the resulting work. We get credit for choosing to allow God to flow through us. We don't obtain Reward through Grace, we obtain Salvation through Grace.
It is like taking medicine for an ailment. The medicine cures us. We are only responsible for whether we take the medicine or not. It would be foolish and prideful to state that we cured ourselves. No...the medicine cured us. However, we have to chose to take the medicine or we don't get cured at all. All we can do is PREVENT ourselves from getting cured.
According to Ephesians 2:8, Salvation is by grace through faith. Allowing grace through us results in Righteousness that is God's. I represent this Righteousness with a capital "R". This Righteousness is necessary for Salvation.
Our works result in righteousness which results in Reward. This righteousness is like filthy rags compared to the Righteousness that comes from God and leads to Salvation.
Biblical Grace begins with God giving to us and us choosing to let God reflect off of us. The resulting Profitability is attributed to God, NOT us. God supplied it AND God gets the resulting value. This does NOT violate Justice.
Notice, Biblical Grace is GIVEN to us and can ONLY reflect off of us if we are humble...if we confess and repent. This is how Biblical Grace deals with sin. Also, notice doing this process helps us avoid sinning. John repeatedly states that a person CANNOT sin if they are abiding in God and allowing Him to direct our actions...Fellowship with God...which is Biblical Grace!
Here is a summary from a post from the Salvation Series: "Biblical Grace":
We attain Salvation by choosing to let God work through us. This is a cause that results in Righteousness that we can't boast about because the ONLY way it happens is if we humble ourselves...which is the OPPOSITE of ANYTHING we can do in our strength!
How can ANYONE boast about being humble?
How is humbling one's self an accomplishment?
Notice, this doesn't violate Justice!
Now, notice the second verse from today's passage: if God loves us we ought to love others. If God is flowing through us, the result ought to be that we love others. If we are in Fellowship with God, we ought to be in Fellowship with others who are in Fellowship with God. Basically, we ought to be grace to others.
Can we be grace to others? Can we give unmerited favor to others? Isn't it prideful to think we have the favor that saves others?
However, we would be able to be a godly influence (grace) to others if we allow God to flow through us to others.
The letter from Paul that presents the Salvation Process (Ephesians 2:8-9) also has a verse about being grace to others!
"29 Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for edifying as the need may be, that it may give grace to them that hear." (Ephesians 4:29)
Edifying means PROFITABLE.
Paul is saying that what proceeds out of our mouth OUGHT to be an influence that fits the specific and unique need of the person to the point of making them Profitable...and Paul called it "grace".
John states that if God loved us then we ought to love others BECAUSE we are able to do it...BECAUSE God is doing it through us towards others AND God WANTS to love others through us. John also stated this process results in Salvation for the individual.
We now see how Biblical Grace, Love, and Salvation work together without contradiction. However, we still don't know SPECIFICALLY John's definition for love.
Tomorrow, we will continue learning more about John's definition for love...