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“By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:13-15 ESV)

Now, some people take this out of context and they build a doctrine of salvation around it, but they misread it and so they misinterpret it. For we cannot assume that just because we make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ that it means that we now abide in Christ and him in us and that we now have the Holy Spirit living within us. For it isn’t a verbal confession of Christ as the Son of God which means that we are now in Christ and that he is in us and that we are now abiding in him and he in us.

First, this word “abide” means to “remain, stay, continue, endure, last, live” in Christ and him in us which involves action both on our part and on the part of God, but not in equal status, for we cannot abide in Christ unless we first believe in him, and only as empowered by God. And we can only believe in him if God first persuades us of his holiness and righteousness, and of our sinfulness, and of our need to repent (turn away from) our sins and to follow our Lord in obedience and in surrender to his will and to his ways.

And we cannot have the Spirit of God living within us unless we first of all are crucified with Christ in death to sin and raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness, no longer to live as slaves to sin but now as slaves to God and to his righteousness. And only if we then now walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, and in obedience to our Lord, and no longer in obedience to sin and to the flesh.

And this word “confess” has a much deeper meaning than just a verbal profession of something. It means to agree with God, and to speak to the same conclusion as our Lord, and to align with God, but not just on a surface level or an intellectual level, but on a spiritual level and with regard to what all that entails. For God the Father, in sending his only begotten Son Jesus Christ to be the Savior of the world, did so in order to turn us away from our lives of living in sin and to walks of obedience to his commandments.

And so to agree with God, and to align with him, and to speak to the same conclusion as him with regard to Jesus being the Son of God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and with regard to Jesus being the Savior of the world, we must also be in agreement with the gospel message, which means that we are denying self, dying to sin, and walking in obedience to our Lord’s commands in daily practice, and that we are no longer walking in deliberate and habitual sin against the Lord.

[Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 9:23-26; John 1:12-13; John 6:44; Romans 2:6-8; Romans 6:1-23; Romans 8:1-14; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Galatians 5:16-21; Galatians 6:7-8; Ephesians 2:8-10; Ephesians 4:17-32; Ephesians 5:3-6; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 10:23-31; Hebrews 12:1-2; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10]

Full Release

An Original Work / April 15, 2012

Walking daily with my Savior
brings me joy.
Loving Father; precious Jesus;
He’s my Savior and my Lord.
Gently leads me; follow Him.
I’ve invited Him within.
Now abiding in His presence,
oh, what peace.
From my self-life
He has brought me,
By His mercy, full release.

Hope and comfort,
peace and safety Jesus brings
When I daily bow before Him;
Obey freely; do His will.
Follow Him where’er He leads.
Listen to Him; His words heed.
Now obeying his words fully,
oh, what love
That He gives me
through salvation,
By His Spirit, from above.

Loving Father; precious Jesus,
He’s my friend.
With my Savior, by His Spirit,
I will endure to the end.
Share the gospel, tell what’s true.
Witness daily; His will do.
Tell the world of how their Savior
bled and died.
On a cruel cross He suffered
So that we might be alive.