All that occurs is this life since its beginning is due to the fact that God allows it to transpire! Before creation He foreknew of everything that will happen, being omniscient! Thus, whatever comes to pass is supposed to happen, or He would have allowed something else to happen. Such is the knowledge of our Father, and the demonstration of His orchestration, as He “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph 1:11). This “work” centers on the “mystery” concerning the union and communion of “Christ in you” (Col 1:27). No “Tree,” no sin. No sin, no plan of salvation. Thus, no “Christ in you.” I see it incomparable and much more meaningful concerning the point, that God be in us, rather than just with us (Jhn 14:16; Rev 22:17), as He was with Adam and Eve.

Like Father, Like Son

The special point in what we have before us in 1John 1, as I may say in all the writings of John, is such a manifestation of the Father in the Son as should bring us into fellowship and association with both. But we have difficulties: there is the holy nature and character of God, and our condition. John first puts this blessed thought and purpose of God, giving us fellowship with the Father and the Son, and then goes on to show where the difficulty lies.

As Christians we have a new life with the capacity of enjoying our Father—“that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”; and we have the enablement of the Holy Spirit. Our evil nature has special delights; and so our divine nature (“new man” - Eph 4:24; Col 3:10 - which is divine but not those who are only “partakers” of it -2Pe 1:4—NC) delights in divine things. If this were simply so, all would be easy; but the “old man” (evil nature - Rom 6:6—NC) is there. Yet it is true for all that, that we would never have had the same kind of fellowship with the Father and the Son if we had not these exercises with other things that are definitely not of the Father and the Son.

We have to go through temptations and trials, but all this brings out the love and thoughtfulness of our Father about us that we never would have learned if we were not what we are. Man in Eden would be in innocence, thanking God and enjoying himself; but we have the Lord Jesus, that is, God revealing Himself in grace above all the sin. It was natural for God, if I may so speak, to love creation, but something more than natural, when He in sovereign grace commends His love to us when we were sinners. There I find what rises above all my thoughts of simple goodness; One absolutely holy, not merely good, but a perfectly holy nature dealing with one that is totally evil (Tit 1:15—NC). That is infinite goodness, and yet it brings us in this increased knowledge of what our Father is to where there has been no evil at all.

This revelation enables us to know our Father as we never could have known Him otherwise. The angels delight to look into it (1Pe 1:12), but it applies to the affections of our hearts as applied to ourselves; for He does not take hold of angels but of the seed of Abraham (Rom 4:16; 9:8). I get then the Lord Jesus becoming a man, showing His holiness where sin was—not where sin could never enter—and then the patience and the goodness of the love, the perfect revelation of the Father. He could say, “Have been so long time with you and yet hast thou not known Me, Phillip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father” (Col 2:9 – having the same essence, nature, attributes and glory as the Father; only the order of authority varies in the Trinity - Jhn 14:28—NC).

We have the Father’s delight in the Son Himself revealed to us, and we are brought into it in Christ. We have fellowship with the Father and with the Son; it is there that we are and thus so blessedly brought in. I see a Man, the Object of the Father’s love, and the One who has His delight in the Father. “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you.” And “I have declared unto to them Thy name, and will declare it, that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

It is all sovereign grace towards us (esp. those who choose to receive it—NC), it is true, but redemption has brought us thus into the apprehension of all these delights, so that while we are brought to the dust as to ourselves, it brings us into full joy. When the Father reveals Himself thus, He does not say This is My believed Son, you ought to love Him, but “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”—I love Him! He reveals His own affections to the Son. When we come to the death of the Lord Jesus, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him.” I see the sinless One, in the very place of sin where He was made to be sin (made out to be sin, not literally become sin—NC), perfect in love to His Father and perfect in obedience. I say, was there ever anything like it?

This perfect One, perfect in dependence when as a victim forsaken of God, perfect in His love, perfect in obedience; everything was tested to the uttermost—“The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?” When I see all this, my soul as taught of God delights in it, humbled to the dust as to myself, still looking at the perfectness of this wondrous One. This Lord Jesus is the blessed Object of my heart and I learn these kinds of emotions I never would have otherwise known. He could say, “Therefore doth My Father love Me because I lay down My Life,” and I say therefor do I love Him!

I have got thought of the Father about Him. It is not merely that my sins are put away; but by the Father thus revealing all His thoughts and ways in Christ as He has, my heart in looking at the Lord Jesus sees all this perfectness, enough to draw out the affections of the Father because of His perfectness of love to Him and obedience. He has set Him at His own right hand in glory; I sit down and gaze at Him, and I see infinite perfectness, and He is my Life (Col 3:4). The Father could not but delight in, and love Him; and as taught of God I have fellowship with the Father in the very most blessed Object of His affections, the closest fullest Object of His love.

He has centered all my affections. As it is said in Ephesians, “That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness towards us in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:7)—even to (show—NC) angels and principalities and powers in the heavens. It is there where a soul is brought, when there is peace of heart—not merely of conscience—but peace of heart through the Holy Spirit, when peace of conscience has nothing to do with it. If my affections are concentrated of the Object of the Father’s whole delight, I know the infiniteness of the Object, and this gives peace of heart.

Through sovereign grace I have my delight in Him. My affections are feeble and weak; but still if they are centered on the Object, I am at the infiniteness of the source of delight. He is the Father’s constant delight: His delight was to do His Father’s will—His meat and drink to do the will of Him who sent Him (Jhn 5:30). With Him I have all things; the Object is there and with Him I know the Father. I have His Father as my Father, His God and my God (Jhn 20:17). I have “the Spirit of adoption whereby I cry, Abba Father” (Rom 8:15). The affections flow out according to the new nature and the Spirit of Christ. It is not supposing that our affections are adequate: they never are, even in human things, but they can be concentrated—not let out to other things. We are finite, the Object is infinite; confidence grows in the apprehension of it.

We are brought then in this new life and nature—the Father has brought me—into the very same position and title that the Lord Jesus is in. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God . . . Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is” (1Jo 3:1, 2). “As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1Co 15:49). The soul goes on in fellowship with the Father and with the Son. It cannot be otherwise if you merely take the truth, because it is the Holy Spirit Who is the spring of the affections and thoughts, and He cannot give us different ones from those of the Father and the Son.

Although down here in the body, in spirit I “walk in the light as God is in the light” (1Jo 1:7). Then when I have come to Him, I find in passing though the veil, that there is not a morsel of sin left on me (being guiltless since rebirth—NC) in the sight of my Father. I come to Him, and there I see all the wondrous blessedness of what my Father is, and therefore my heart can love—being in peace. Having come, I have personal fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.

—J G Bellett (1795-1864)

MJS devotional excerpt for Jan 12

“Those who have thoroughly learned full dependence on Him for justification will come to understand that sanctification is by the same faith principle. We are to rest in His finished work—both for birth and for growth.” -Miles J Stanford

“We are not to overcome the lusts of the flesh in order that we may walk in the Spirit. We are to walk in the Spirit in order that the lusts of the flesh may be overcome. The enemy can hold up young Christians on this point for a long time, so that they do not really get started on the Christian walk. They feel they cannot expect to begin to walk in the Spirit until they have, in some degree at least, dealt with the lusts of the flesh.

“They wait for some vague time when they hope they will have reached a more satisfactory position in regard to the lusts of the flesh, and will feel more confident about attempting a walk in the Spirit. But that is all the wrong way around. If we are to wait until we have, in some degree, mastered the lusts of the flesh before we venture to walk in the Spirit: if we are to wait until we feel that we can give some sort of security to ourselves and to God that we shall do a bit better in the future than we have done in the past, then we never will walk in the Spirit. For until we walk in dependence upon the Spirit we shall not, and cannot, overcome the lusts of the flesh.” -D.T.

The Christian life is not our living a life like Christ, or our trying to be Christ-like, nor is it Christ giving us the power to live a life like His; but it is Christ Himself living His own life through us; 'no longer I, but Christ.’” -MJS