By Dr. Robert R Seyda


CHAPTER FOUR (Lesson XCI) 05/31/22

4:14 Furthermore, we have seen with our eyes and now tell the world that God sent His Son to be their Savior.

Scottish Presbyterian Church leader, theologian, and philosopher Thomas Boston (1676-1732) says that we should notice some things imported in this testimony of the Anointed One as the Savior of the World.

(1) The world needed a Savior; otherwise, none would have been provided for them by Him who does nothing in vain.

(a) It was a sick world.[1]

(b) It was a cursed world and needed a Savior to remove the curse and bring in the blessing.[2]

(c) It was a lost world.[3]

(2) No one of inferior dignity to the Son of God could be the world’s Savior.

(3) The Anointed One was sent as Savior of the world by heaven’s design. The salvation of humanity was planned entirely without them being involved.

(4) The Anointed One is fully empowered to save a lost world, and being sent in that character speaks of His ability to answer the call.[4]

(5) The salvation of lost sinners of the world is acceptable to our Lord Jesus and the Father; otherwise, He would not have sent His Son to be Savior of the world.[5]

(6) There is no other Savior besides Jesus the Anointed One.[6] [7]

Johann Bengel (1687-1752) highlights “and we[8] thus – “have seen and do testify,” inferred from verse sixteen, “we have known and believed.”[9] Making acquaintance is denoted by the expression, “we have known,” like the German idiom, kennen lernen, which means the ability to learn and make an acquaintance. A certain degree of knowledge goes before believing, even as believing comes before testifying. But the words “have seen” denote the complete satisfaction of sight in beholding it. The Son – There are two practical tests of our dwelling in God and He in us; these are our communion with the Holy Spirit and our acknowledgment of God’s Son.[10] [11]

Joseph Benson (1749-1821) makes a good point here. Some commentators understand the Apostle John as speaking of the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit. Definitely, these gifts, of whatever kind they might be, never were to any person evidence of their possessing a super union with God. Our Lord Jesus spoke clearly about this when He told His disciples that “On Judgment Day, many will say to Me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your name, cast out demons, and performed many miracles in Your name.” So, what did Jesus say? “I never knew you. Get away from Me, you who break God’s laws.”[12]

The ordinary graces of the Holy Spirit, says Benson, are called out by the Apostle Paul as evidence of a person being God’s child.[13] But the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit are in a different category.[14] These personal gifts are not as prominent today as they were back in John and Paul’s time. But no matter how proudly or obstinate they might be in accepting these gifts and graces, these things are the foundation and the criteria of our abiding in God and God in us, namely, the communion of the Spirit, spoken of here in verses thirteen and fifteen.[15] Sadly, even some churches and denominations denounce anyone who might claim to have the same gifts of the Spirit as the Apostles did.

Charles Simeon (1759-1836) says that we can join the Apostles in telling those who will listen that the Anointed One is indeed God’s Son, “Emmanuel, God with us.” We affirm that His errand in coming was to save a ruined world. We confirm that He did all that was necessary for our soul’s redemption; and that “He can completely save those who come to God through Him.”[16] But keep the faith and say as Jesus did to Nicodemus, “We speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen.”[17] The only thing we must do is yearn to know more about Him until we can say with the Samaritan converts, “We have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man is the world’s Savior.”[18] Indeed, you cannot see Him now, as the Apostles did, face to face; but by faith, you may “see Him that is invisible:”[19] and if you only behold Him now by faith, you will one day see Him as you see others. As the Apostle Paul says, “Now I know only a part, but at that time I will know fully, as God has known me.”[20] [21]

William Lincoln (1825-1888) tells us that the Lord Jesus could not stoop any lower than He did, coming so low that whenever anyone hears the Gospel, they hear this message, “We have seen and do testify, that the Father sent His Son to be the remedy for our sins.”[22] Since we could not get to Him, He came to us and took the penalty for our sin upon Himself; He came to be the world’s Savior. After all, there is nothing so comforting as being aware that God did not blink when He saw we were sinners but still made provision for our salvation. Even though one might condemn themselves and oppose the Gospel, the Lord Jesus can hold them into His arms and say, “Child, be of good cheer; I forgive your sins.”[23]

Presbyterian minister Griffith Parry (1827-1901) views Christianity as a spiritual power or a source of enduring influence on the world. It began in a remote location but now is worldwide. As Parry sees it, the Incarnation of God’s Son was the indispensable condition of the reunion of mankind with God. It is the highest magnitude that any creature can attain – that God should “dwell in them, and they in God.” It does not mean to disappear like a ripple in the ocean of the Godhead, as the pantheists[24] imagine, but to become one with God in the unification of holiness and the fellowship of love and yet to preserve our individuality forever in conscious enjoyment of that union. Humanity could not have been saved by ascending with their strength – by the mere development of their natural powers. On the contrary, God’s descent from heaven fashioned our salvation of unparalleled magnitude.

So, it follows, says Parry, that the Incarnation and death of the Son of God form the spiritual power to create the world anew and the moral elevator for raising humanity to God. Suppose we see a Christian of extraordinary attainments in godliness. In that case, we may be sure that this is the secret of their strength their thoughts and affections constantly revolve around this great center, “God manifest in the flesh;” They abide by faith and love in the Anointed One, and thereby God dwells in them, and they in God. It is the “secret of godliness.”

Therefore, Parry advises, the facts of our redemption accomplished in Palestine years ago remain in the world yet, as great spiritual forces operating on mankind’s soul to raise them to God. So, in conclusion, let us appreciate the Gospel above all things. Remember that godliness, and all progress in holiness, draws its strength from the Anointed One and His Cross, life, death, and resurrection.[25]

Henry A. Sawtelle (1832-1913) points to the Apostle John, adding a new and additional line of proof of the union of God and His people. We, says John, the Christian Party, through the apostles, have seen the evidence accompanied with careful contemplation.[26] John urges us to continue to do so since testifying to Gospel truths is not a one-time event. God the Father is so named because of His relationship to the Anointed One, rather than John. What God sent in the past still has its influence and effects today.[27]

Furthermore, God’s Son coming to be the world’s Savior is a distinctive title declaring the mission on which He came. He was sent to provide, in person, salvation for the world, which is available and applied through belief and confession.[28] But, to those who receive Him, the Son of God is Savior from what? Delivery from guilt and eternal damnation, despair and sinful nature, error, the body of death, the world, Satan, and eternal hell required a great Savior, with all His deity, humanity, blood, and Spirit.[29]

Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) says that it is a sweet thought that Jesus the Anointed One did not come to us without His Father’s permission, authority, consent, and assistance. We are prone to forget that, says Spurgeon, while there are personality distinctions in the Trinity, there are no distinctions of honor. We too frequently ascribe the glory of our salvation, or at least the depths of its generosity, more to Jesus the Anointed One than we do the Father. Did not His Father send Him? If His speech was impressive, did not His Father pour grace onto His lips that He might teach the Final Covenant? Have you put your confidence in the Man Jesus, the Anointed One? Have you put your trust solely in Him? Then you are united with the Father of heaven.[30]

[1] Matthew 9:12

[2] Acts of the Apostles 3:26

[3] Luke 19:10

[4] Hebrews 7:25

[5] 1 Timothy 2:3-4

[6] Acts of the Apostles 4:12

[7] Boston, Thomas: Biblical Illustrator, op. cit., Vol. 22, pp. 97-99

[8] John 15:27

[9] 1 John 4:16

[10] See 1 John 4:13, 15

[11] Bengel, Johann: Critical English Testament, op. cit., p. 321

[12] Matthew 7:22-23

[13] See Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:9; Colossians 3:12-17; Romans 12:9-21

[14] See Mark 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 13:2; Ephesians 4:11-12

[15] Benson, Joseph: Commentary of the Old and New Testaments, Vol. 3, p. 11103

[16] Hebrews 7:25

[17] John 3:11

[18] John 4:42

[19] Hebrews 11:27

[20] 1 Corinthians 13:12

[21] Simeon, Charles: HoræHomileticæ, op. cit., Discourse 2456, pp. 489-490

[22] 1 John 4:14

[23] Lincoln, William: Lectures on 1 John, op. cit., Lecture VII, pp 119-120

[24] Pantheism is a doctrine which identifies God with the universe, or regards the universe as a manifestation of God, and their worship admits or tolerates all gods.

[25] Parry, Griffith: The Biblical Illustrator, op. cit., 1 John 4, pp. 94-96

[26] See 1 John 1:1-2

[27] Ibid. 4:9

[28] See Romans 10:9

[29] Sawtelle, Henry A., An American Commentary, Alvah Hovey, Ed., op. cit., p. 51

[30] Spurgeon, Charles H., Morning and Evening Daily Readings, op. cit., February 5, AM

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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