Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Signs of Abiding in God

By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. (1 John 4:13-15)
Are you abiding in God? Is He abiding in you? The Bible says you can know, and the apostle John shows us how.First, remember that this is in the context of the love of God working in us and through us. In verse 12, John said, “If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.”

Now in verse 13, John asserts, “By this we know that we abide in Him, and He is us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” Both verses speak about God’s abiding in us and our abiding in Him. But other than that, what do these verse have to do with one another? What does the Spirit have to do with love? Everything. For the love that has been perfected in us, that works through us and flows to others, is the love that comes by the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. Remember that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is “Love, joy, peace …” Love is at the head of the list. Love is the highest expression of everything God is. In fact, as John tells us, God IS Love. So the Spirit of God is the Spirit of Love.

God has given us His Spirit, the Spirit of Love. When we walk in that love and let it flow toward others, the Love of God is doing its work and become a witness to us that we are abiding in Him and He is abiding in us.

But there is also another work the Spirit of God does in us by which we can know that God abides in us and we in Him. For John continues in verse 14, “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.”

In his Gospel, John recalls Jesus speaking about the Holy Spirit, “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:14). That is what the role of the Holy Spirit is in us—to glorify Jesus and take the things that belong to Jesus and reveal them to us. He is a witness, resident within us, of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Love that is the fruit of the Spirit is the same love demonstrated by the Lord Jesus when He laid down His life for us. (In John 17, we learn that it is the same love with which the Father loves the Lord Jesus, and the exact same love with which the Father loves us.) In the Book of Revelation, John tells us, “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” In other words, whatever the Holy Spirit says and does in us is always about Jesus.

The Holy Spirit testifies, or gives witness, to us that the Father send the Son to be the Savior of the world. Having this witness within us, we begin to testify to the same thing, and that testimony itself become a sign that we are dwelling in the Father and He in us.

“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God” (v. 15). The apostle Paul reminds us that “No one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3). Since that is so, the heartfelt confession that Jesus is Lord again becomes a witness to us that we are abiding in God and He is abiding in us.

Is the Spirit of Love at work in you bringing forth love to others? Is the Spirit of Prophecy speaking forth in your life, bearing witness to the testimony of Jesus? These are the signs by which you be confident that you are dwelling in God and God is dwelling in you. If these signs are obscured in your life, repentance and crying out to Jesus are wonderful opportunities for renewal.