A Short Meditation on 1 John 1:3-4.

This wonderful epistle, inspired by the Spirit of God and written by the apostle John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, has quite a unique character, and is entirely unlike any of the other epistles found in the New Testament. The writer's name does not actually appear, but he takes his place with the believers to whom he writes, frequently using the words "we" and "us," though he often returns to the personal pronoun, saying "I write unto you," etc. He unfolds in a marvellous way the new relationship of believers to the Father. However, it is not my purpose to give an epitome of the whole epistle, but only to write down a few thoughts on verses 3 and 4 of the 1st chapter.

The epistle commences with a few words about the LORD Jesus, John's beloved Master, Whom he had known so intimately, Whom he had seen and his hands had handled, and about Whom he now wishes to write to his fellow-believers, that they also might have fellowship with him concerning this divine Person. He then adds these wonderful words, "Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ." Have you, my fellow-Christian ever meditated on the deep meaning of these words? First of all, let us inquire into the force of the word "fellowship;" it signifies "The state or condition of sharing in common." Man can have no fellowship with an animal, with his dog, for instance; he may love him, and his dog may return his affection. But mutually to enjoy fellowship there must be the same nature. And further, fellowship between a holy God and sinful man is an impossibility, for God is light, and dwells in light. And yet the verse declares that "Truly our fellowship is with the Father, etc." How can this possibly be? The answer to this question can only be found in God Himself. Listen! God, Who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us… .

Love is the very nature of God; and by the working of God and the gift of His beloved Son, every poor, lost, dead sinner, washed in His precious blood, is born again, a new nature is given him, and by the power of the Holy Spirit he is made capable of having fellowship with the Father and the Son. Each believer is now enabled to "share in common" in the Father's delight in the Son of His love, to bask in the Father's love, and by the power of the Holy Spirit to grow in the knowledge of the LORD JESUS. Further, he learns that the Father's love has made all believers His beloved children, and that He actually loves them with the same love with which He loves His own Son. They are made members of the household of God, and have the wonderful assurance that when their beloved Lord and Master returns, they will be made like unto Him, and be with Him for ever, that in the ages to come God might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward them through Christ Jesus. Can anything exceed such a marvellous prospect? What a subject for eternal praise! And the Father's desire is that His children should know and realize His love even now, while passing through the wilderness, and fully enjoy fellowship with Himself and the Lord Jesus Christ, in the power of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit indwells each believer, and the apostle Paul in his closing words to the church at Corinth desires that "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion (or fellowship, the same word in the Greek) of the Holy Ghost, be with you all." What a transformation for poor, lost sinners, beggars from the dunghill, to be brought by faith into the courts of glory, and there received as God's beloved children, made capable of understanding God's thoughts, of enjoying what He enjoys, and sharing in His delights! To God be all the glory.

The reason the Holy Spirit reveals these wonders to our hearts is shown in verse 4; "These things write we unto you, that your joy may be full." Our Father desires His children to be full of joy, in spite of the difficulties and trials of their often long and weary wandering through the. wilderness of this world. Listen to the words of our Lord Jesus to his beloved disciples on the night of His betrayal; "These things have I spoken unto you that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full;" and again, in His wonderful prayer to the Father, "And now come I to Thee; and these things I speak in the world that they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves." I will quote but one verse more, in the Epistle to the Philippians; "Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I say, rejoice." From these we can clearly see that the Christian's life down here ought to be full of joy, walking in living fellowship with the Father and the Son by the Holy Spirit.

But we must never forget that we have no power of ourselves to attain to this; the power is wholly outside of us, and the more we realize our own weakness, the more shall we take hold of the power given us of God, even the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead. Does such a life seem impossible to us? It would indeed seem so, if we consider our own weakness, and look at the lives of most of the Christians of our acquaintance. How rarely do we come across a truly rejoicing Christian! But with God all things are possible; and, knowing from His Word what His desire is for us, may we not in our prayers claim, in simple childlike faith, and expect to receive, what He and our blessed Lord wish us to have?
G. F. Barlee.