If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
I. IN ITS RELATION TO THE WORLD. "The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." Notice.
1. The world's need of a Saviour. It was in a morally lost and undone condition. It was perishing by reason of its sins. Take the world of St. John's day, or of our own day, in confirmation of this.
2. The world's inability to provide for itself a Saviour. Many times and in various ways it has made the attempt, but it has always failed. Schemes of political organization, or liberal education, or social amelioration, or even moral reformation, do not reach the central depths of the need of our race. Man needs salvation, redemption.
3. The son of God came to the world as its Saviour. "The Saviour of the world." The expression "the world" is to be understood in its plain, natural meaning (cf. 1 John 2:2; John 3:16). He saves men from sin by the influence of his life and work upon earth, of his sacrificial death, his glorious resurrection, and his effectual intercession. How benevolent is this mission! He might have come to judge, condemn, and destroy our rebellious race. But "God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved?" How stupendous is this mission! Creation is a great and glorious work. The Divine agency in upholding the universe, and presiding over its vast and infinitely diversified affairs, baffles our every attempt to comprehend it. The immensity of its extent, the minuteness of its attention, the infinity of its wisdom, the almightiness of its power, immeasurably transcend our utmost thought. But the salvation of lost men is God's greatest and most glorious work. In the Divine Son accomplishing his redemptive mission we have the clearest and fullest manifestation of God.
II. IN ITS RELATION TO THE FATHER. "The Father hath sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world."
1. The Saviour is the Son of the Father. Frequently is this relationship expressed in the sacred Scriptures, and in a way which indicates its ineffable sacredness and dearness (see Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; John 1:14, 18; John 17:24; Romans 8:3; and verse 9).
2. The Saviour is the Sent of the Father. "The Father hath sent the Son." This is affirmed again and again in the writings of St. John (John 3:17, 34; John 7:16; John 10:36; John 16:5; John 17:3, 4, 5, 18, 21, 23, 25). Being thus sent by the Father, the Son's mission as a Saviour is Divine in its authority. He claimed this himself: "I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment," etc. (John 12:49, 50). The apostles made the same claim on his behalf (see Acts 2:22; Acts 10:38).
III. IN ITS RELATION TO THE APOSTLES. "And we have seen, and do testify, that the Father sent," etc.
1. Their knowledge of the Saviour. St. John, writing of himself and his fellow-apostles, says, "We have beheld," etc. They had seen their Lord in the exercise of his miraculous powers, and in wondrous glory on the Mount of Transfiguration; they had beheld the perfect purity and beauty of his daily life; they had seen him dead upon the cross, and his sacred body laid in its rocky sepulcher; they had afterwards repeatedly seen him living; and they beheld him as "he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."
2. Their testimony concerning the Saviour. "We have beheld and bear witness that the Father," etc. They testified to the facts which we have already noticed:
(1) That Jesus Christ was the Son of God.
(2) That he was the Sent of God.
(3) That he was sent of God as the Saviour of the world.
Their Lord had appointed them to be witnesses for him (John 15:27; Acts 1:8). And this may fairly be said to be the sum of their testimony: "The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." And it is beyond reasonable question that their testimony is "worthy of all acceptation." Thus we have seen that the great mission of Jesus Christ
(1) meets man's deepest need;
(2) rests upon the supreme authority; and
(3) is attested by competent and trustworthy witnesses.
Therefore let us believe their testimony, and turn heartily to the Son of God as our Saviour. - W.J.
Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God
1. A deep and living conviction, a true perception of mind and heart, that "Jesus Christ is the propitiation for our sins" and the only Saviour for lost mankind.
2. A vital belief in His salvation, in the efficacy of His blood, and the power of His grace.
3. A hearty and full acceptance of the gospel of the Son of God; a resting in all the doctrines, a waiting for all the promises, an observance of all the ordinances, an obedience to all the commandments.
4. A proclaiming of the Lord as our Divine Redeemer in the face of the world.
(J. Slade, M. A.)
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