WALKING IN THE LIGHT

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

By Dr. Robert R Seyda

FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN

CHAPTER FOUR (Lesson XCV) 06/06/22

4:15 Anyone who believes and says that Jesus is God’s Son has God living in them, and they are living in God.

COMMENTARY

Early Church scholar Tertullian (155-220 AD) pointed out to Praxeas (213 AD), a priest from Asia Minor, that the Doctrine of the Blessed Trinity constitutes the most significant difference between Judaism and Christianity. But, this doctrine of yours, says Tertullian, resembles the Jewish faith to believe in One God and refuse to recognize His Son, and after the Son, the Spirit. What difference would there be between Jews and Christians without this distinction you are trying to demolish? What need would there be of the Gospel, which is the core of the Final Covenant, laying down that the Law and the Prophets lasted until John the Baptizer, if then the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are not both believed in as the only three-in-one God?

God was pleased to renew His covenant with humanity, argues Tertullian so that we could believe in His unity, utilizing the Son and the Spirit, so that God might now be known openly, who was not plainly understood in ancient times, though declared through the Son and the Spirit. Away, then, with those “Antichrists who deny the Father and the Son.” They reject the Father when they say that He is the same as the Son and negate the Son when they suppose Him to be the same as the Father by assigning ministries to them that are not theirs and taking away their roles. But “whoever confesses that (Jesus) the Anointed One is the Son of God” (not the Father), “God dwells in them, and they in God.”[1]Those that do not have the Son have no spiritual life.”[2] So, the person who does not accept Jesus as God’s Son believes Him to be someone other than God’s Son.[3]

Early Christian writer Lactantius (250-325 AD) also addresses this issue. He says that if God has rejected the Jews, and the Gentiles were grafted in and freed from the darkness of this present life and the chains of demons, it follows that no other hope is available to mankind if they do not follow the true faith and divine wisdom, which is in the Anointed One. Those ignorant of Him are forever estranged from God and the truth. Therefore, do not let the Jews, or philosophers, flatter themselves with their respect of the Supreme God. They who do not acknowledge the Son have been unable to accept the existence of the Father. This is wisdom, and this is the mystery of the Supreme God. Therefore, God willed that the Anointed One should be recognized and worshipped.[4] On this account, God sent the prophets to announce His Son’s coming so that when the things prophesied were fulfilled in Him, then He might be believed to be both the Son of God and God.[5]

Early Church scholar Didymus the Blind (313-398 AD) gives this advice to believers who may have come into contact with the Gnostics of his day: You need to understand, God will not dwell in anyone who does not obey His commandments, no matter how much they may confess Him with their lips. Some people are confused by the various names of Jesus because they do not interpret the Scriptures correctly. They think that because He came out of the womb of Mary according to the flesh and was given the name Jesus at that time, He is not to be identified as the eternal Son of God, who did not think it robbery to be considered equal with God.[6] Therefore, they restrict themselves to the physical form the Word of God assumed, even though being the Word was never changed into humanity. To confess the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, is to acknowledge Him as God and man.[7]

Later in the medieval period, we see that this was still a concern. Christian scholar Bede the Venerable (672-735 AD) writes: “John says that the perfect confession of the heart is one which the wicked persuasion of the heretics cannot corrupt. It cannot be overcome by the tortures inflicted by pagans in persecution or slacken under the pressure of the example of worldly brothers or the weakness of our frailty.”[8] While we do not have people openly declaring on non-Christian TV shows today that Jesus was the true Son of the Living God, it is still alive in books, magazines, and various gatherings, even some on campuses of what used to be Christian universities. Therefore, John’s teaching on this subject is just as relevant now as when he wrote it.

John Calvin (1509-1564) notes that the Apostle John repeats the truth (whosoever shall confess), will be united with God by the Anointed One, and cannot be connected with the Anointed One unless God abides in us. Unfortunately, the terms faith and confession are used indiscriminately in the same sense. Too often, hypocrites boast of faith, yet the Apostle here clarifies that it takes more than an ordinary confession. Confession must be genuinely motivated by a believing heart. Besides, when he says that Jesus is the Son of God, he includes the sum and substance of faith, for there is nothing necessary for salvation that faith cannot find in the Anointed One.[9]

Daniel Whitby (1638-1726)  says that we should note that what John said in his Gospel[10] and the Apostle Paul in his epistle[11] is that this hearty confession must be accompanied by a readiness to believe all that this Son of God taught us in His Father’s name, for if He tells the truth, why do we not accept Him?[12] So also, we must have a real reason to obey His commandments. Otherwise, why call Him Lord, Lord, and don’t do what He told us to do?[13] [14]

Thomas Pyle (1674-1756) contends that, by the extraordinary and miraculous powers of God’s Holy Spirit, we are qualified to demonstrate and prove beyond all doubt the truth of those facts of which the Apostles were eye-witnesses. Therefore, Jesus is the true Messiah, the very Son of God, the Word, the Anointed One, who was with the Father and sent into the world for the redemption of mankind, by his death and sufferings. This is a doctrine that every Christian must embrace. Anyone who denies it deserves not that character, nor is entitled to any privileges of God’s true church.[15]

James Macknight (1721-1800) says that some commentators understand that confessing Jesus is the Son of God is an outward profession of faith in the Gospel. But, notwithstanding that profession of one’s faith in the apostolic age, John was exposed to persecution. No doubt, very few would think that such a person had God living in them and they in God.[16]  The expression “God abides in him, and he in God” often occurs in this epistle and must be understood differently according to the individuals they are applied to. If directed at teachers, as in verses thirteen and fifteen in this chapter, and verses twenty-seven and twenty-eight in chapter two, their meaning is that these teachers are faithful to God in teaching the true doctrines of the Gospel and are assisted and beloved by God. But if spoken of persons, as in verses five and six,[17] they mean one’s abiding in the belief of those doctrines, practicing the precepts of the Gospel, and enjoying God’s agápē.[18]

John Brown of Haddington (1722-1787) tells us that even though God did all of this for us through His Son, that unless we, during these difficult times on the principle of faith and love, boldly confess that Jesus the Anointed One is the only begotten Son of God the Father, and the only qualified Savior of lost and dying sinners, can we thereby prove that God lives in us through His Spirit and has led them to their understanding of the Anointed One. Therefore, they dwell in God by faith and love through His Son, the great Mediator.[19]  

English Vicar James Slade (1783-1860), generally remembered as Canon Slade, says that confessing Jesus as the Son of God implies the following: (1) A deep and living conviction, an accurate perception of mind and heart, that Jesus the Anointed One is the only Savior for lost humanity.[20] (2) A vital belief in His salvation, in the effectiveness of His blood, and the power of His grace. (3) A hearty and complete acceptance of the Gospel of God’s Son; resting securely in all the doctrines, waiting for all the promises, observing all the ordinances, and obedience to all the commandments. (4) Proclaiming of the Lord as our Divine Redeemer in the face of the whole world.[21]

William Lincoln (1825-1888) exclaims, “It is a dreadful accountability to reject the Gospel.” If a person hears the Gospel and turns a deaf ear to it, it is not they are merely a fallen creature; for God made a provision for them as such; the agápē of Jesus has come down so low that even for the vilest sinner there is mercy if they accept salvation. The ground of condemnation in the Final Covenant, why people are self-condemned, is not that they have done one or the other; for all sin, there is a provision, but there is no answer for rejecting the Lord Jesus the Anointed One. So, “It is not the sin-question, but the Son-question,” between God and the world, and according to whether you receive Him, you have condemnation or salvation. As the Apostle John says here in verse fifteen, “All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.”[22]


[1] 1 John 4:15

[2] Ibid. 5:12

[3] Tertullian Against Praxes: Ch. XXXI, Christian Classics Ethereal Library, p. 1097

[4] John 14:6, 13; 5:23

[5] Lactantius: Epitome of the Divine Institutes, Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries, Philip Schaff, Ch. 49, p. 366

[6] Philippians 2:6

[7] Didymus the Blind: (Bray Ed.), James, 1-2 Peer, 1-3 John, Jude, op. cit., loc. cit.

[8] Bede the Venerable, Ancient Christian Commentary, Vol. XI, Bray, G. (Ed.), James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John

[9] Calvin, John: Commentary on the Catholic Epistles, op. cit., loc. cit.

[10] John 1:12

[11] Galatians 4:6

[12] See John 8:46

[13] Luke 6:46

[14] Whitby, Daniel, op. cit., p. 467

[15] Pyle, Thomas: Paraphrase, op. cit., p. 397

[16] See Romans 10:10

[17] See 3:6, 24; 4:16

[18] Macknight, James: Literal Paraphrase, op. cit., p. 94

[19] Brown, John of Haddington: Self-Interpreting Bible, op. cit., p. 1328

[20] 1 John 2:2

[21] Slade, James: Biblical Illustrator, op. cit., Vol. 22, pp. 99-100

[22] Lincoln, William: Lectures on 1 John, op. cit., Lecture VII, pp. 120-121

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POINTS TO PONDER

Perhaps you have heard of someone who was not very “tactful” in dealing with a touchy situation. In other words, they made things worse instead of better. Psychologists tell us that tact is said to “make contact with” those around us and refers to behavior under the control of primary reinforcement. For instance, food is a primary reinforcement for humans and animals because it removes hunger. But how can money, which cannot directly remove a deprivation condition, be reinforcing? The answer is that money is a secondary reinforcer, while hunger is a primary reinforcer. The primary controlling stimulus is nonverbal and affects some portion of “our whole physical environment.”

Psychologist Jeremy E. Sherman thinks we should all know how good it is to be tactful, but rarely do we wonder how to motivate tact. Instead, we treat tactfulness as a goal and say, “Just do it.” But a goal is not a plan. Nor is “Just do it.” Instead, we consider tact to be aspect of politeness, best cultivated through self-censorship: Always appear authentically tactful whether you mean it or not. Here, instead, is an approach to achieving authentic tact naturally, not as strategic maneuvering but as a representation of a heartfelt realism about ourselves and others. Tact can be cultivated in three kinds of realistic balance. (1) culpability (I’m capable of such an act), (2) unclear value (One person’s trash is another person’s treasure): and (3) self-tact (Embrace someone else’s lack of self-confidence through self-examination).

Psychologist have also described tact as a term used to designate a verbal characteristic in which a response of a given form is aroused (or at least strengthened) by a particular object or event. That’s why we must examine the question, “What is this?” Thus, tact is the property of the subject to adhere to a certain measure in conversation, in committing acts, as well as the ability to assess the situation in advance and find an effective way to resolve conflicts without causing moral damage. A person who can act in accordance with the established norm of etiquette, regardless of the situation, is called tactful. Tact is the secret to personal success in all areas of life. In particular, one should not forget that tact, as part of an individual’s character, is formed on the basis of natural qualities, in the process of hard work on oneself, during the period of upbringing and training.

The word tact (dexteritas) in the Latin language is to touch or touch. It follows from this that tactfulness makes it possible to “understand” the current situation, behavior, feelings, and subject of interaction. One who has a sense of proportion and knows how to understand the speaker’s needs, desires, and experiences, will always be a welcome person in society. Therefore, tact allows a person to behave culturally among people, to take into account all the specifics of the situation, which is indicated by a kind of behavior. Tactfulness is the ability, if necessary, to talk about a mistake, make comments so as not to belittle a person’s dignity, not hurt their feelings, spare their pride, and despite everything, point out their merits.

A tactful person knows not to utter a false impression or offend an opponent. You should not speak sarcastically, under conditions do not mention errors or non-standard appearance. Such an individual, on the contrary, will be able to pick up good words to praise or cheer up the speaker. They will find a way to suspend the conversation in time, which can contribute to the beginning of the development of the conflict or caution others who are not correctly speaking to their circumstance.

Psychologists also tell us that an effective apology involves a delicate balance between tact, tone, and timing. It can be even more challenging when jobs and reputations are on the line in tense settings. The significance of an apology can vary in different settings and professions. For instance, Dr. Guy Winch, a leading advocate for integrating the science of emotional health into our daily lives, workplaces, and education systems, says that what he found when potential plaintiffs, someone who is injured, get apologies from the people who hurt them, are more optimistic about the encounter, they’re less likely to blame the person who wounded them with hatred. So, tactics are a verbal method where the speaker labels things in the environment.  Tact is used when a non-verbal stimulus is presented, which becomes a discriminative stimulus through discernment training.  When tact produces secondary conditioned reinforcement, it becomes controlled by a primary nonverbal stimulus.

Furthermore, Dr. Lance Sobel, a Seattle psychologist specializing in adolescent and family therapy, says that if my daughter’s 16-year-old boyfriend comes to the door with alcohol on his breath, I will let him know that’s the last time he will drive my daughter anywhere. That’s where I care more about her life than her feelings. If the disapproval is based on a general dislike of the person, then “say what you feel, but say it with respect, both for the family member and the date. Go soft on judgments or ‘I know better’ statements. Remember, your goal is to be heard, so you won’t have to say, ‘I told you so’ later.”

Sobel also suggests parents tactfully voice their concerns about the date. Not doing so is where parents go wrong, he says. The psychologist says problems can arise when children of single mother’s date. Single parents have been known to rebel against their kids the same way teenagers’ rebel against parents. But ultimately, parents need to understand they don’t get to pick their children’s spouses. However, they can tactfully let them know how they feel about their child’s feelings and future.

Nonetheless, what does God’s Word say about tact?

Wise King Solomon tells us that when speaking to someone who has offended you, we must remember that a tactful answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.[1] Later Solomon would advise that “By being tactful, you can make anyone change their thinking, even a ruler. Therefore, tactful speech is very compelling.”[2]

Then the Apostle Paul remarked that even though “I am a free man with no master, I have become a servant to all people to bring many to the Anointed One. When I was with the Jews, I tactfully lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to the Messiah. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I, too, lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this to bring those who are under the law to the Anointed One. When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I tactfully live apart from that law so I can bring them to the Anointed One. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of the Anointed One. When I am with those who are weak, I tactfully share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to the Anointed One. Yes, I try to be tactful with everyone, doing everything I can to save as many as possible. If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t be that untactful because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God.”[3] Paul tells the Ephesians, “Instead, we will speak the truth tactfully, growing more and more like the Anointed One, who is the head of His body, the Church.”[4]


[1] Proverbs 15:1

[2] Ibid. 25:15

[3] 1 Corinthians 9:19-22; 2 Corinthians 12:6-7a

[4] Ephesians 4:15

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SERENDIPITY FOR SATURDAY

Feed someone with a long-handled spoon” is a figurative expression in American English that means exercising caution while dealing with someone liable to hurt you. The picture this expression paints is a vivid one. Imagine yourself dealing with someone so nasty, so vicious, that you have to use a spoon with a handle long enough to stay out of biting range to feed them.

The origins of this expression are quite old. It appears to be a variation of an Old English proverb is first documented in the 1300s in Chaucer’s Canterbury’s Tales: He needs a long spoon who sups with the Devil.[1] This proverb is later alluded to by no less than Shakespeare! Shakespeare references it both in his Comedy of Errors [2] and The Tempest.[3]

How precisely this proverb evolved into the contemporary expression “feed someone with a long-handled spoon” is unclear. Because its use is primarily among African Americans in the southern United States, it seems likely that the current form of this expression came into being in the Antebellum South.

The “Parable of Spoons” is not one of the parables of Jesus that we find in the Bible. Rather, it is well-known Jewish teaching attributed to the Lithuanian Rabbi Haim of Romshishok. Rabbi Haim was a travelling preacher who reportedly used this parable to begin his talks whenever he entered a new village.

This is how author Jonathan Bernis describes the parable: I ascended into the earth and sky. First, I went to see hell, and the sight was horrifying. Row after row of tables were laden with platters of sumptuous food, yet the people seated around the tables were pale and emaciated, moaning in hunger. As I came closer, I understood their predicament. Every person held a full spoon, but both arms were splinted with wooden braces, so they could not bend either elbow to bring the food to their mouth. It broke my heart to hear the tortured groans of these poor people as they held their food so near but could not consume it.

Next, I went to visit heaven. Again, I was surprised to see the same setting witnessed in hell: row after row of long tables laden with food. But in contrast to hell, the people in heaven were sitting contentedly talking with each other, obviously satisfied from their sumptuous meal. As I came closer, I was amazed to discover that here, too, each person had their arms splinted on wooden slats that prevented them from bending their elbows. How, then, did they manage to eat?

I watched as a man picked up his spoon and dug it into the dish before him. Then he stretched across the table and fed the person across from him! I suddenly understood that the recipient of this kindness thanked him and returned the favor by leaning across the table to feed his benefactor.

Heaven and hell had the same circumstances and conditions. The critical difference is in the way the people treat each other. So, the message of this parable is clear: We suffer when we think only of ourselves. We thrive when we work together.[4]

While there is no historical connection between the expression “feed someone with a long-handled spoon” and the Parable of the Spoons, there is a deep spiritual meaning. The Parable of the Spoon encourages us to love our neighbors. Likewise, the expression “feed someone with a long-handled spoon” offers wise guidance for how we can love those neighbors who make it difficult to do so.


[1] Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Harper & Brothers, New York, p. 281 from William Chaucer’s Canterbury’s Tales, Penguin Classics, [Group F] The Squire’s Tale, Part II

[2] Shakespeare, William: Comedy of Errors, Dromio of Syracuse, Scene III

[3] Ibid. The Tempest, Stephano, Scene II

[4] A Rabbi Looks at the Afterlife

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WALKING IN THE LIGHT

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

By Dr. Robert R Seyda

FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN

CHAPTER FOUR (Lesson XCIV) 06/03/22

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

Ben Witherington III (1951) points out that here is one of the rare places where it is clear that the Apostle John knows and approves of sharing this witness with the world. In Johannine theology, God has not limited the scope of who may be redeemed, [1] as John proves in his Gospel.[2] Instead, God desires that everyone come to salvation. So, He sent a Savior, not just for Jews or even the elect among the nations. Here we may see a counterclaim to Cæsar Augusts’ followers that he was the world’s rescuer and benefactor. The Greeks used the term soter (“savior”) for many pagan deities, including Zeus, Asclepius, Isis, and Serapis.[3]

Bruce G. Schuchard (1958) begins with the words:

             “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,

                      Hail the incarnate deity.[4]

It is another way of saying that God the Father sent the Son in human flesh to be the world’s Savior. The Apostle John references not seeing God with human eyes; after all, “no one has ever seen God.[5] Instead, John references seeing what is genuinely veiled, what must be seen with something other than physical eyes. The contention between John and the secessionists likely would have been over “the Father sent His Son to be the world’s Savior.” The words of Jesus can supplement the correct sense clarified by the Apostle John, “You believe because you have seen Me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing Me.”[6] That’s why the blessed are those who have been made to see what the eyes can in no way see, for theirs is the “sight of faith” brought by the Spirit.[7]

Ken Johnson (1965) says that to have a real relationship with God, a person must have the leading of the Holy Spirit. This is made evident by testifying that Jesus, the Son of God, is the world’s only qualified Savior.[8] Why is this important? Because it is a message that there are no other saviors, one need not trust in them or their words. And that includes people, places, things, and churches. You may find something that promises to let you work your way into Nirvana.[9] But don’t look for any streets of gold, no river of life, no gates of pearl, nor the presence of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Peter Pett (1966) states that we cannot abide in God if it means we must see Him. Indeed, no one has beheld God at any time. But His presence among us and His abiding in us is revealed in the agápē that flows from us to our fellow believers. Those surrounded and inhabited by the God who is agápē will become channels of that love, especially those who are also the same love channels. This agápē, which is the evidence that we have been born of God and know God, this oneness of heart with God’s faithful people, this agápē and those who are in the truth, will result in God’s agápē being perfected in us. As we love each other, we get to know God’s agápē better. For inherent within this is the response to the truth proclaimed by those who are truly God’s children.

For Duncan Heaster (1967), the Apostle John continues his narrative on the result of the gift of the Spirit John spoke of in verse thirteen. For it was the Comforter who would “testify” of the Lord, “and you also will testify.”[10] The power to witness comes from the strength of the Spirit we received. This way, timid individuals can somehow find the ability to be effective witnesses.  God can also arrange circumstances whereby the most reserved of us encounter others searching for the truth about the Anointed One, so we can share with them. John and his fellow apostles testified of what they saw in Jesus’ preaching, of which the Gospel of John is a transcript.[11] John sees himself as following the example of the Gentile Samaritan woman, who “testified” that the Lord was the Savior of the world.[12] [13]

Peter Legge (1969) notes that John then tells us the second way this love is demonstrated in the apostolic message of the cross. “We,” the apostles, “have seen and testify that the Father sent the Son to be the world’s Savior.” We must show practical love as Christians, and it’s a great thing, and it’s a significant lack in the church today – but if you want to love someone, you need to give them the Gospel, you need to preach to them the cross. Dr. Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984), whom I knew in Switzerland, said, “We must never forget that the final apologetic which Jesus gives is the observable love of true Christians for true Christians.”[14] – it is the most excellent argument for people to believe in God and have their souls saved. That argument doubles when they not only see the love of the Anointed One dying for them on the cross, but they see that same love in your life as you love them.[15]

4:15     So anyone who says, “I believe that Jesus is the Son of God,” is a person who lives in God, and God lives in that person.

EXPOSITION

In other words, believers do not need to come up with some physical evidence that God lives in them through the Holy Spirit; all they are required to have is their acknowledgment of faith.  But this cannot be merely words recited from a prayer book or said as part of a sinner’s prayer; it must be founded on their relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior through conversion and the new birth.

Admission is one condition for having the Anointed One abiding in us. The basic idea of conceding the presence of sin is telling God what He already knows, but He wants to hear it from us. The Greek verb for “confess” is the compound homo-logeō which combines “same” and “speak.”  That means we agree to make a compact with God about His Son based on what God said. Disclosure can also be a synonym for faith.  Affirming that Jesus is “the Son of God” means that we acknowledge He is God.  The Greek aorist tense in homo-logeō means that this person comes to a decisive moment when they recognize Him as the Son of God.  Conceding the Anointed One’s deity implies surrendering to His character and authority. 

There is a connection between confession in verse two and here in verse fifteen. Verse two has to do with the genuine humanity of the Anointed One.  Such a proclamation differentiates true believers from pretending believers. Here in verse two, it has to do with agreeing that He is the Son of God.  Homo-logeō serves to distinguish between those who talk about love and those who never show it.  In each case, the Holy Spirit produces the profession of belief. Those who meet the condition for abiding, and God in them. That one condition reveals personal trust in God’s Son and His finished work on the cross. God only lives inside born-again people; He does not fellowship with those without the Anointed One. God exclusively fellowships with God’s elect.

Rev. Benjamin Charles Caffin (1826-1894), Vicar of Northallerton, England, says that the KJV rendering “Whosoever confesseth.” seems preferable to “whosoever shall confess” or “shall have confessed.” The exact meaning is, “Whosoever has once and for all taken up the position of confessing.” Verse fourteen gives the ease of the apostles and those who accepted their witness. In verse fifteen, we have that of both together.[16]

Therefore, confession is one condition for abiding. The basic idea of confession is an agreement to say the same thing.  “Confess” comprises two Greek words: to say and concur. Therefore, we agree or make a compact with God about His Son. Confession is also a synonymous term with faith.  The confession that Jesus is “the Son of God” means acknowledging that He is God.  The Greek tense in “confess” means that this person comes to a decisive moment when they recognize Him as the Son of God.  Confession of the deity of the Anointed One implies surrendering to His character and authority.

There is a connection between confession in verse two and verse fifteen.  Confession in verse two has to do with the genuine humanity of the Anointed One, distinguishing true believers from the fakers. In verse fifteen, confession has to do with acknowledging His deity, that He is God’s Son. It differentiates between those who give evidence of love and those who do not. In each case, the Holy Spirit produces the confession. Confession is more than a proclamation of doctrine; it is proof of a life united with God.

As a result, there is a correlation between what we say and do. Many people confess to knowing the Anointed One but have never trusted Him as their personal Savior.[17] Therefore, the confession implies that the Anointed One is God’s Son and sovereign Lord over our lives. He is God Almighty to us. He imparts His life to us, called eternal life. The nature of that life changes the individual. God abides in the believer and changes their perspective on love. Love finds its source in faith in the Son of God. God’s agápe does not see others as obstacles, but as people worthy of His attention. God’s proof of this is Jesus’ sacrifice upon the cross for our sins. True love shows itself in concrete action.  

Those who meet the condition for abiding in God will have God dwelling in them. The one prerequisite is the confession of personal trust in the Son of God and His finished work on the cross. We need to remind ourselves that we are children of the King. We have rights and privileges with God. We hold the same position as Jesus holds with the Father.[18] Since God abides in the believer, the believer is never alone. This is great encouragement in times of sorrow.  He never forgets us nor forsakes us.[19]


[1] Cf. Titus 1:3-4

[2] John 3:16-17

[3] Witherington III, Ben: Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians: op. cit., loc. cit., : (Kindle Locations 7237-7242)

[4] Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, by Charles Wesley (1739), Stanza 2

[5] 1 John 4:12

[6] John 20:29

[7] Schuchard, Bruce G., Concordia Commentary, op. cit., p. 481

[8] Johnson, Ken. Ancient Epistles of John and Jude, op. cit., pp. 78-79

[9] In Buddhism, Nirvana is a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth. It represents the final goal of Buddhism.

[10] John 15:26,27; 1 John 5:6

[11] John 3:11; 19:25; 21:24; Revelation 1:2

[12] John 4:29

[13] Heaster, Duncan: New European Commentary, op. cit., p. 33

[14] Schaeffer, Francis: The Mark of the Christian, (1970 L’Abri Fellowship); Reprinted by IVP Books, Downers Grove, Illinois, p. 29

[15] Legge, David: 1,2,3 John, Preach the Word, “Christian Love: Its Source and Sign,” Part 13

[16] Caffin, B. C., The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 22, op. cit., p. 104

[17] Romans 10:8-11

[18] Ephesians 1:6; Romans 8:1

[19] Hebrews 13:5; cf. Deuteronomy 31:6

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WALKING IN THE LIGHT

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

By Dr. Robert R Seyda

FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN

CHAPTER FOUR (Lesson XCIII) 06/02/22

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

Zane C. Hodges (1932-2008) says that the Apostle John now reaches a pivotal point in his argument. He had just written that “if we love each other,” then the God whom no one has seen abides “in us, and His agápē is made complete in us.” This experience shows that we have seen and testified that the Father sent His Son to be the world’s Savior. Since the first-person plural “we” in verses seven to thirteen is meant to include the readers, the “we” here in verse fourteen also embraces them. The indwelling God, whose presence is manifested in a loving Christian community, thus becomes, in a sense, visible to faith’s eye. Though no one “has seen” (“beheld”) God, [1] believers who abide in Him[2]see” (“behold”) the Son as He reveals Himself among loving Christians. Believers who behold this manifestation have, in fact, “seen” and can “testify” to the fundamental truth that “the Father sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.” This great truth can be displayed through the instrumentality of Christian love.[3]

John Painter’s (1935) thoughts bring to mind that what the Apostle John said in verse nine that God sent His only Son into the world “that we might live through Him,” is now completed here in verse fourteen that the Father sent His Son “to be the Savior of the world.” As this is the third and final use of the topic of the sending of the Son,[4] it may be helpful for John’s highlighting the three statements using the Greek verb apostellō (“sent”). The first and third in verses nine and fourteen use the perfect tense – meaning to be “complete” – while the second use in verse ten employs the aorist tense – meaning “action without beginning or end.”

While all three refer to the sending of the Son, notes Painter, the first and second refer to God as sender while the third refers to the Father. The first and second make God’s agápē the basis for sending of His Son. No cause is mentioned in the third instance. In verse nine, the purpose/consequence of sending the Son is “that we may live through Him.” His Son is sent “as the propitiation for our sins in verse ten.[5] Finally, in verse fourteen, the Son is sent “as the world’s Savior.”[6]

Muncia Walls (1937) affirms that the declaration that Jesus is the “Savior of the world” is a remarkable declaration to consider. Foremost, how many people are presently living in this world, yet this statement applies to everyone! The power of His blood is sufficient to cleanse the dirtiest sinner in the world![7] There is a lovely song we used to sing years ago that makes a similar statement:

               Though millions have found Him a friend
               And have turned from the sins they have sinned
               The Savior still waits to open the gates
               And welcome a sinner before it’s too late

               Chorus:

               There’s room at the cross for you
               There’s room at the cross for you
               Though millions have come, there’s still room for one
               Yes, there’s room at the cross for you.[8]

Michael Eaton (1942-2017) hears the Apostle John say, “It is we apostles and those who believe our testimony, who have experience of God. No one knows the experience of God’s presence who does not accept our apostolic message.” John’s words summarize the message:

  • The Father and the Son were there before the time when Jesus came into the world (“the Father sent the Son”).
  • Jesus was the incarnation of the divine Son (“And we have seen… that the Father sent the Son”).
  • His mission in this world originated from God.
  • His work was a work of salvation (“With Him as the Savior”)
  • His work is available for all, not for a few elites (“the Savior of the World”)[9]

William Loader (1944) says that this statement about God’s sending the Son is formulated in traditional terms and has already appeared in earlier verses.[10] Likewise, Savior of the world was probably a well-established phrase. It was already present in the community’s Gospel.[11] Similar to the tradition mentioned earlier, [12] it is one of the few places in the epistle where the worldwide perspective is expressed. The initiative of God’s agápē was directed not to a particular group, but towards all people. The Apostle John wants to preserve this broader outlook.[13]

I remember attending an evangelism seminar in Amsterdam, Holland, where the main speaker was Dr. Bill Bright, Founder of Campus Crusade for Christ.[14] His vision was that if every one of us delegates were to go out and win two souls to the Lord, then those two people won two more and multiplied, again and again, it wouldn’t be long before the whole world would be followers of Jesus the Anointed One. That was in September 1971, and here over fifty years later, the world seems just as lost as ever. Was there anything wrong with Dr. Bright’s message? No! The only fallacy was in the expectations. Jesus made it clear that no one can come to Him except the Father draws them.[15] So, we may go out by the thousands, but unless we go in the Spirit and the Spirit does the convicting, our efforts will not fulfill our hopes and dreams.

David Jackman (1947) says that we should notice how the Apostle John compresses much of what we have already learned into one short sentence. He is determined to drive nails into the coffin of Gnosticism, again and again. The Father sent the preexistent Son into the world. He came to be its Savior by human death on the cross. These are the facts of the matter. The Spirit’s witness and the apostolic testimony belong together, for there can be no separation between the Spirit and the Word. The One who was the Word inspired its human authors by His Spirit. Now, the Anointed One uses His specially designed tool to bring us life and build us up in the faith. The justification for the Spirit’s work in our lives is seen in commitment to the revelation of God in the Scriptures.[16]

Robert W. Yarbrough (1948) indicates that the primary reference of “we” here in verse fourteen is an apostolic claim that few readers would have viewed Jesus in His earthly days. The unnecessary stated pronoun “we” may be slightly emphatic, marking a contrast between John and his readers. It is not to deny that John “includes the readers with himself.” Yet, writer and readers do not blend into a single indistinguishable voice. We may understand John’s language as excluding those shadowy opponents whose errors his epistle periodically addresses.

John not only “beheld,” says Yarbrough, referring back either to Jesus’s life as a whole or perhaps even to His crucifixion in particular when the divine love was manifest in a climactic way;[17] he also now “testifies.” This action is closely linked with the act of “seeing” or “beholding” that this may be, what Yarbrough calls a “hendiadys.”[18]Seeing is believing,” goes the old saying; for an appointed spokesperson like John.[19] For the apostles Peter and John, “to see is to testify.”[20] For John the Baptizer, “I have seen, and I testify.”[21]  And for Jesus, “we testify to what we have seen,”[22]He testifies to what He has seen.[23] [24] Colin G. Kruse (1950) points out that the concerns of the Apostle John’s First Epistle are different from those of his Gospel. The background of this letter was strife within the Christian community. The idea in the Gospel was to convince the world that Jesus of Nazareth was God’s Anointed One – the Messiah, who came as a Savior to redeem humanity from everlasting death and give them eternal life. The question here in the Epistle was whether Jesus needed to be recognized as Savior. In particular, it was whether belief in Jesus’ death as an atoning sacrifice for sin was necessary. Those who had seceded from the community denied that they had sinned[25] and argued that Jesus’ atoning death was unnecessary and did not occur.[26] Those who, with John, acknowledged their sins confessed the importance of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, which provided cleansing


[1] 1 John 4:12

[2] Ibid. 4:13

[3] Hodges, Zane C., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, op. cit., loc. cit.

[4] See 1 John 4:9, 10, 14

[5] Cf. Ibid. 2:2

[6] Painter, John. Sacra Pagina: 1, 2, and 3 John: Vol. 18, loc. cit.

[7] Walls, Muncia: Epistles of John & Jude, op. cit., p. 76

[8] Written by Ira F. Stanfield (1914-1993) in 1946

[9] Eaton, Michael: Focus on the Bible, 1,2,3, John, op. cit., p. 157

[10] 1 John 4:9-10

[11] See John 4:42

[12] 1 John 2:2

[13] Loader, William: Epworth Commentary, op. cit., p. 55

[14] Campus Crusade for Christ was founded in 1951 at the University of California, Los Angeles

[15] John 6:44

[16] Jackman, David: The Message of John’s Letters, op. cit., p. 127

[17] 1 John 4:10

[18] Hendiadys is the expression of a single idea by two words connected with “and,” e.g., nice and warm. However, one could modify the other, as in nicely warm.

[19] Cf. John 15:27

[20] Cf Acts of the Apostles 4:20

[21] John 1:34

[22] Ibid. 3:11

[23] Ibid. 3:32

[24] Yarbrough, Robert W., 1-3 John (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), op. cit., p. 247

[25] Cf. 1 John 1:6 – 2:2

[26] Cf. Ibid. 5:6-8

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WALKING IN THE LIGHT

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

By Dr. Robert R Seyda

FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN

CHAPTER FOUR (Lesson XCII) 06/01/22

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

John James Lias (1834-1923) notes that in verse fourteen, we read  “God sent,” in the Authorized Version, (KJV) which is better translated, “God has sent” in the Revised Standard Version. It is the mission of God’s Son. Also, it is not just an historical event, but an ongoing fact. It is necessary that the manifestation of “God as Love” continues.” The two sides of the truth are presented to us. In verse ten, we have the Divine Nature of the Son brought into prominence here in verse fourteen – His Sonship. In these verses, we have an explanation of verses eleven and twelve. Even though any immediate comprehension is missing, God’s presence in the heart is proven by the intermediate agency of His Spirit within us and in the world. [1]

But Lias has more to say. Christians do not merely believe; they know. Unbelievers may tell us it’s only our opinion and that one view is as likely to be accurate as another. They ask for evidence, argument, and logical proof of Christianity’s truth. And they have a right to demand this within certain limits. Humans are reasonable beings, and their faith must be valid. But reason must stay within its sphere. It is finite; God is infinite. Logic can apply to principles already ascertained and conclude from facts already discovered. However, why things are and how they are, in their origin, is beyond its place and power. Logic knows that they are and can, within certain limits, tell what it means to be a Christian, why they are different now, and what they will become. Human reasoning knows, for instance, specific natural laws, such as motion, gravitation, chemical change, and life. It knows their effect, but not their divine origin, their duration, nor can it penetrate beyond a certain distance in its attempts to define them. If logic is powerless in the affairs of the visible world, it is no wonder it fails to penetrate the secrets of the spiritual world?[2]

Marvin R. Vincent (1834-1922) gives us the origin of the term “world’s Savior.” He notes that we should compare the exact phrase in John 4:42 and 3:17. God’s Son as “Savior” only occurs here and in John’s Gospel.[3] Elsewhere it is applied both to God the Father[4] and the Anointed One.[5] The title can also be found in Paul’s Epistles of the Captivity[6] and the Pastoral Epistles, but not in Corinthians, Romans, Galatians, or Thessalonians.[7]

In classical Greek writings, they applied this term to many deities, especially Zeus (Jupiter); also, Hermes (Mercury), Apollo, Hercules, and even female gods, such as Fortune and Aphrodite (Venus). “Zeus Sōtēr (“Zeus Savior”) was used as a formula for drinking at banquets. The third cup was dedicated to Zeus. Greek Philosopher Plato wrote that Socrates once offered this toast at a banquet: Then let us sum up and reassert what has been said, thus offering the third libation to the savior Zeus.”[8] The drinking of this cup was a symbol of good fortune, and the third time came to mean the lucky time. “Well then, that makes two in a row, and twice the just man has been victorious over the unjust one. Now the third, in Olympic fashion, to the savior and the Olympian Zeus.”[9] This gave rise to the proverb, “the third to the savior,”[10] namely, the third or lucky time. Savior was also given later to princes or public benefactors.

The kindred noun “salvation” does not occur in John’s Epistles and appears only once in his Gospel.[11] It is found three times in Revelation.[12] The verb “save” occurs six times in John’s Gospel[13] and once in Revelation.[14] It does not appear in the Epistles. This information will surely help us better understand why the Apostles used the word “Savior” or “salvation” in connection with Jesus, says Vincent. However, it did not make a big impression among the Gentiles.

George G. Findlay (1849-1919) says that all Apostle John’s arguments lead to one conclusion; his appeals have one intent: “Beloved, let us love one another.” Heaven and earth, nature and grace, the old times and the new, resonate in our ears with one strain: “Little children, love one another!” This is the substance of the Epistle and forms the message of the aged Apostle’s ministry. Twice he has broadened the command of love – first, urging it to become the law of true life for a believer, [15] and second, recognizing it as the sign of a new birth from God.[16]

Therefore, notes Findlay, now John must anchor these positions by showing that Love is of the essence of God. The pure affection glowing in human hearts comes from the bosom of the Father; the spark of brotherly love cherished under the chills and obstructions of earthly fellowship has been kindled from the fires that burn everlastingly in the being of the All-holy. The solidarity of love – our love with that indwelling of the infinite God, all love centering in one Divine communion and commonwealth: this thought possesses John’s mind for the rest of chapter four. He holds it up like a jewel to the sun; each turn of expression, like another facet, flashes out some new ray of heavenly light.[17]

Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951) tells us that the Apostle John sums it all up in verse fourteen. “We (the apostolic company) have seen (they who were witnesses who knew the Anointed One personally), and do testify (bear witness) that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” Notice, again, “The Father sent the Son” – the relationship of Father and Son did not begin after His birth into the world. God the Father and the Son have eternally dwelt together. The Anointed One is God’s preexisting Son. He did not become the Son after He was ordained by the Father to be the world’s Savior. It does not imply that everyone will be saved, but that God has provided a Savior for all who desire to be redeemed. So, the personal relationship between God and mankind today is not merely the details about our sins, sinful tendencies, or commission of sins; the unsettled question between humanity and God is this: “What are we doing with God’s gift, the Lord Jesus the Anointed One?”[18]

Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) discusses the various views on the word “Savior” concerning Jesus the Anointed One. That, in its essence, is what the Final Covenant would teach us concerning the Lord Jesus as the Savior of our souls. You can see that He is not a helper or an assistant. He is not merely the One who encourages us; He is not only an example to follow. It’s hard to accept such thinking. He is so glorious, holy, and divine that it makes no sense. And thank God we are not commanded to do so in such a demeaning way. Primarily, this is the message: He is the Savior; He fulfilled the law, satisfied its demands, and offered to share His righteousness with us. He is “working so powerfully in us,”[19] as the Apostle Paul puts it, to deliver me from my sinful tendencies in all its aspects. Eventually, He will take us by the hand and present us to His Father, who will welcome us into His everlasting glory.[20]

F. F. Bruce (1910-1990) Not only is God’s agápē poured into His children’s hearts through the Holy Spirit, but an appreciation for God’s truth was imparted to them by the same Spirit. The Spirit of love is the Spirit of truth. The Spirit persuades and enables us to believe in Jesus as God’s Son; He communicates to us the new life which is ours as members of God’s regenerate family; it is through Him that we remain in union with the ever-living the Anointed One and He with us; it is through His inward witness that we receive the power to bear our witness. Thus, our Lord’s promise in the upper room is fulfilled: “When the Friend I plan to send you from the Father comes – the Spirit of Truth issuing from the Father – He will confirm everything about Me. You, too, from your side, must give your confirming evidence since you are in this with Me from the start.”[21] [22]

David E. Hiebert (1928-1995) points out what few translations, among them, Young’s Literal Translation, show that in the Greek text, the article “the” is missing before the word “Savior.” “The Father sent the Son – Savior of the world.” Hiebert says that the perfect tense “has sent” denotes the significance of sending His Son “to be the world’s Savior.” Thus, “Savior” describes what He is, not merely His mission. The salvation He wrought is inseparably connected with His Person as God’s unique Son. “The world,” steeped in sin and corruption, needs a Savior. He is our Savior, not of Jews only, but the entire world.[23]

Stephen S. Smalley (1931-2018) points out that the term “savior” occurs only here in the letters of the Apostle John. It is also used once only in the Fourth Gospel, [24] in a parallel phrase which includes the definite article “the Savior of the world. ”[25] In the classical Greek world, the title “savior” was applied both to the gods and humans. In the Roman imperial cult, the tendency to incorporate the theme of saviorhood into the designation of Hellenistic rulers found its most potent expression. Starting with Caesar Augustus, it was eventually known as “the savior of the (inhabited) world.”[26] It is possible, says Smalley, that the Christian description of Jesus as “Savior” may have developed in opposition to this usage and as a way of establishing the claim that Jesus transcended all the gods of the pagan world.[27]


[1] Lias, John James: The First Epistle of St. John with Exposition, op. cit., pp.325-326

[2] Ibid. With Homiletical Treatment, op. cit., pp. 324-325

[3] John 4:42

[4] 1 Timothy 1:1; 2:3; Titus 2:10; 3:4; Jude 1:25

[5] Luke 2:11; Acts of the Apostles 5:31; 13:23; 2 Timothy 1:10; Titus 1:4

[6] Ephesians 5:23; Philippians 3:20

[7] Vincent, Marvin R. Word Studies in the New Testament, Vol. II, op. cit., pp. 358-359

[8] The Dialogues of Plato, Trans. B. Jowett, p. 1195

[9] The Republic of Plato, ⁋583b

[10] The Mysteries of Adoni by S. F. Dunlap, Williams and Norgate, London, 1841, To Triton (the Third) to the Savior! Philebus by Plato, 66, p. 81

[11] John 4:22

[12] Revelation 7:10; 12:10; 19:1

[13] John 3:17; 5:34; 10:9; 11:12; 12:27, 47

[14] Revelation 21:24

[15] 1 John 2:7-11

[16] Ibid. 3:10-18

[17] Findlay, George G., An Exposition of the Epistles of St. John, op. cit., Chap. XX, p. 327

[18] Ironside, Harry A., The Epistles of John and Jude, op. cit., pp. 157-158

[19] Colossians 1:29

[20] Lloyd-Jones, Martyn, Life in the Anointed One, op. cit., p. 506

[21] John 15:26-27 – The Message

[22] Bruce, F. F., The Epistles of John: A Verse-by-Verse Exposition. Kingsley Books, Inc. Kindle Edition.

[23] Hiebert, David E., Bibliotheca Sacra, op. cit., January-March, p. pp. 80-81

[24] John 4:42

[25] Cf. John 3:17; 12:47

[26] See Odes of Horace, Bk. 4, XV

[27] Smalley, Stephen S., Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 51, op. cit., p. 252

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WALKING IN THE LIGHT

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

By Dr. Robert R Seyda

FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN

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

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JUST THINKING

After listening to all the demands and outrage by politicians and talking heads on TV about the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, I thought of two things in connection with this horrible tragedy and how it might have had a different outcome.

First: Introduce the following changes to federal gun laws as follows: “No individual between ages 18 and 21 will be allowed to buy a firearm without a parent or legal guardian’s approval, signed in person at the place of purchase.”

Second: The misguided outcry that our approach to Mental Health issues in America needs fixing. The real problem behind such a hideous act as that committed by this deranged young man is not Mental Health, but Moral Health.

Therefore, no person should be able to receive a graduation certificate from high school without taking a 2-semester hour class on Ethics in their junior or senior year. With Bible and prayer being taken out of our homes and schools, these young people have no moral compass to guide them in deciding what is the right or wrong thing to do when under stress.

These are just my thoughts, and I wanted to share them with you. Thank you for reading what I have written with an open mind. God bless you.

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My computer is down, so I will not be able to post for a while, Thank you for your prayers

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WALKING IN THE LIGHT

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

By Dr. Robert R Seyda

FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN

CHAPTER FOUR (Lesson XC) 05/24/22

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

John stresses that Jesus was God’s Son before He came to earth. He did not become a Son at Bethlehem, and it was for Him to be the world’s Savior, not merely some special messenger. Jesus came to the world as “Savior,” not “social worker.” There are only two instances where the Final Covenant calls Jesus “Savior.[1]  What makes this so critical is that all humanity needed saving. So, the basic principle here is that Salvation through the Anointed One is the foundation of dynamic Christian living. Faith in the Anointed One produces love for God and ignites a love for other believers. As God showed His love toward us in the Anointed One, we are to show that same love to those who love Him. 

COMMENTARY

Œcumenius (800-900 AD) comments that since we have fellowship with God in agápē, it is also by agápē that the Apostles who saw Him in the flesh acknowledged Him and bear witness that the Father sent Him to be the world’s Savior. But above and beyond their testimony, Jesus instructed them to teach us about this, thereby leading us to a perfect understanding of Him, as when He said: “I went out from the Father and came into the world.[2][3]

John Calvin (1509-1564) points out that the Apostle John now explains the other part of the knowledge of God, by which He communicates Himself to us through His Son and offers Himself to be enjoyed. It follows that we receive Him through faith. John’s design shows that God is so united to us by faith and love that He dwells in us and manifests Himself in a manner visible by His presence. Otherwise, we would not know God was there. Therefore, when John says that we have, seen, and testify, he refers to himself and others. And by seeing, John does not necessarily mean only by visible contact, but by the spiritual enlightenment found in faith by which they recognized the glory of God in the Anointed One. So then, according to what John goes on to say, Jesus was sent to be the world’s Savior; and this knowledge flows from the illumination of the Spirit.[4]

John Brown of Haddington (1722-1787) feels that since the Apostle John tells his readers that he and other Apostles were eye-witnesses to the personal life of the Anointed One, His preaching, miracles, suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension back into heaven’s glory, that upon such infallible evidence can attest to the fact that God the Father sent His only begotten Son to be born in human flesh and thereby qualify Himself as the Lamb of God to be the Redeemer of both Jews and Gentiles so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.[5]  

William E. Jelf (1811-1875) notes that the Apostle John, for a moment, recalls what he said before as the source and foundation of Christian love, [6] the source from which it springs, the foundation on which it stands – God’s agápē in sending His Son as reconciliation with God for our sins. He now puts his personal and visual evidence of the certainty of this doctrine to confirm it and show the importance of a genuine belief as the sound foundation for practice for himself and the other apostles.[7]

William Kelly (1822-1888) points out that the Spirit of God glorifies the Anointed One by receiving His words and explaining them to us. He was to guide us into all the truth. Many religions recommend a kind of mysticism that glorifies self; it is occupied with feelings. Therefore, it exposes some souls to self-worship and others to dejection. People are not easily satisfied with what they get from such meditation. It is wholesome to learn that there is nothing in ourselves to yield spiritual satisfaction, to make the Anointed One our all-in-all. But to be occupied with one’s heart, save for humbling ourselves on account of it, is as dishonoring to Him as it is dangerous to ourselves. Occupation with ourselves is not merely unprofitable, but hinders growth in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Anointed One.

Yet, says Kelly, there is no doubt that many Christians get drawn into this human philosophic view which substitutes occupation with self instead of the Anointed One, Jesus, and being happy instead of always delighting in the joy of the Lord.[8] So, how can we correct such inward-looking? John says here, “And we have seen.” Here are the emphatic words of the inspired witnesses, “and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.” Whatever others may occupy themselves with, “The Father sent His Son as the world’s Savior.” What is, what ought to be, the effect of such a truth?

Does this not fill us with the praise for the Father and the Son? Does it not shame us into nothingness as to ourselves? We are shown that we were sinners saved by faith through grace—timid faith questions whether we were so bad or God was so good. But if we simply believe through the Holy Spirit, we cannot assuredly find anything in ourselves worth talking about compared to grace, so rich and everlasting. It’s how God weans us from ourselves, the world, and every other object, to delight our souls in Him and His Son. Knowledge may puff up, but the Father’s and Son’s love builds up.

Kelly adds that he hardly knows of anything that should affect us more profoundly than these words in verses thirteen and fourteen. How can we conceive of being near God if it is not dwelling in God and God in us? No image paints a more graphic picture of intimacy and mutuality, so to speak, than this. And when we think about who and what God is and what we are, it is indeed a great testimony. But who is the Apostle John talking about? Very high and pious believers? Only ministers and theology professors? Perhaps devoted saints like Mother Theresa? No! He speaks of every Christian. We are all fruit of the same Gospel.

Kelly concludes that the best way to know that we dwell in Him, and He in us, is because He gave us His Spirit. This goes farther than the last verse of chapter three, “The one who keeps God’s commands lives in Him and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gave us.” But now, John adds that we have seen and testified that the Father sent His Son to be the world’s Savior. Therefore, whoever will confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in them, and they in God.[9] So what John says connects what we do to show God’s Spirit is in us rather than what we say about Him dwelling in us.[10]

James Arminius (1560-1609) comments on the testimony of the Samaritan village people who learned about Jesus after revealing Himself to the woman at Jacob’s Well who said: “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man is the world’s Savior.”[11] Arminius says that the Samaritan’s word was confirmed by the Apostle John, who stated: “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the world’s Savior.”[12] He focuses on the word “world” and says that all people, in general, are to be understood as part of the world in these passages. For there is, in my judgment, says Arminius, no passage in the whole Bible in which it can be proven beyond controversy that the word “world” signifies only the Elect. Again, the Anointed One is said to have died for all.[13] Paul explains that He is said to be “The Savior of all people, especially those who believe.”[14] [15]

John Bunyan (1628-1688) writes concerning the individual who comes to the Anointed One and their advantages. Those who come to the Anointed One are nearer to Him than those still choosing to go to Him; They are like the prodigal son, “And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming.”[16] Now the one nearest to God can see Him clearly. It helps them make the best judgment of His amazing grace and beauty; as God said, “Let them approach; then let them speak.”[17] And as the Apostle John says, “And we have seen and testify that the Father sent His Son to be the world’s Savior.[18] Those who have not decided to come to the Anointed One, though He is coming back, is not fit, (incapable of judging the worth and glory of the Anointed One’s grace), as those who have come to Him, and have seen and observed it. Therefore, sinner, suspend your decision-making until you decide to draw nearer to God.[19] [20]

William Burkitt (1650-1703) says it’s as if the Apostle John said, although no one has ever seen God with their physical eyes at any time, yet, the apostles, who preach the doctrine of faith and the duty of love, have seen Him with their natural eyes through the Lord Jesus the Anointed One, and do testify, that God the Father glorified His agápē, by sending His Son to be the Savior of a perishing world; not of Jews only, but also of the Gentiles.

And John further declared, says Burkitt, that whoever believes the apostle John’s testimony will confess with their mouth and believe in their heart that this Jesus, whom we preach, is the Son of God and will evidence the truth of his faith by the sincerity of His agápē. God dwells in them by His Spirit, and they abide in God by repeated acts of love. We apostles, says John, know well and firmly believe the love, the incredible great love, which God manifested towards us, in and through His Son Jesus the Anointed One; we again affirm and conclude that God is love.[21]


[1] 1 John 4:14 & John 4:42

[2] Ibid. 16:28

[3] Œcumenius: Commentary on 1 John, loc. cit.

[4] Calvin, John: Commentary on the Catholic Epistles, op. cit., loc. cit.

[5] Brown, John of Haddington: Self-Interpreting Bible, op. cit., p. 1328

[6] 1 John 1:1

[7] Jelf, William E., First Epistle of St. John, op. cit., p. 63

[8] Philippians 4:4

[9] Kelly, William: Lectures on the Catholic Epistles of John, op. cit., p. 327

[10] Ibid.

[11] John 4:42

[12] 1 John 4:14

[13] See Hebrews 2:9

[14] 1 Timothy 4:10

[15] Arminius, James, op. cit., An Examination of the Treatise of William Perkins (1558-1602), p. 312

[16] Luke 15:20

[17] Isaiah 41:1 – Complete Jewish Bible

[18] 1 John 4:14

[19] Reminds me of the song the ship’s string ensemble on the Titanic, as it sank. “Nearer to Thee; E’en though it be a cross that raises me, still all my song shall be Nearer, my God, to Thee, Nearer, my God, to Thee, Nearer to Thee.”

[20] Bunyan, John: Practical Works, Vol. 2, Come and Welcome to Jesus the Anointed One, pp. 153-154

[21] Burkitt, William: Notes on N.T., op. cit., p. 432

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