Fellowship With the Father and the Son

1 John 1; 1 John 2:1-2
Read 1 John 1, and 2:1 & 2.
If our hearts were as simple as the word of God, our perception of its truths would be as simple and as easy. But it is not so. In a certain sense it could not be so; nor ought it to be so, till our hearts and thoughts are brought into subjection to GOD’S thoughts. There will be no simplicity till the conscience is purged; because, till the soul is brought to God, all is confusion and darkness on account of sin. In partial and dimmer light there is often terror, because everything is confused. So when the conscience is at work, until we are brought to set to our seal that God is true, and learn that all our thoughts perish, all our ways are foolishness, terror and confusion reign in the soul. But when brought to this, our hearts become as simple as the word. It is a great matter to have the heart exercised. God would have, and will have, the mind and conscience exercised. But till our thoughts are brought into subjection to God's thoughts -our own thoughts utterly set aside-we cannot have blessed and happy thoughts of God. When our thoughts flow in the current of God's thoughts when His thoughts become ours—it is blessed in every sense. The conscience is blessed, the heart is blessed; and you go on cheerfully. Not so when God speaks, and we begin to reason; setting up our thoughts against, or mingling them with, God's revelation. That is not simplicity. Till the soul is bowed to receive God's thoughts you cannot, and ought not, to have perfect peace. I have sin in me! how then can I have peace? Here is the difficulty. "For, if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." If the revelation of God in Christ shines into me, I cannot say, " I have no sin." What follows? " If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father." Here, then, I find how I can have fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. Christ, the advocate with the Father, maintains us in the communion we are apt to lose. This is the great secret which breaks down human pride—entire subjection to God's thoughts. If God has given a revelation, and I am not subject to it, it is unbelief—it is rebellion. God says, "the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin." If I say, "I have done this or that, and God cannot forget; He knows all, and He must remember;" I am found reasoning, and not submitting to God's thoughts. I am concluding what God must be, from what I find in myself, consequent on the light which has shined in.
How then can I have peace? God does not mean us to take up things lightly, without exercise of soul. When the light of God shines into the conscience sin is felt, and seen too, where it never was seen before. God shines in, and I find darkness. God cannot have to do with darkness. I find that in me which God cannot accept. How can God accept me?
I am always glad to see a conscience exercised thus. It is all useful to convict of sin. It is good for the light to probe to the bottom of the heart. It is awful to think what the human heart is. I do not mean in the gross forms of evil. There is something in the selfishness, the cold calculating reasoning of man's heart, worse than all the sins one could enumerate. Yes, even of the decent man who keeps his character! Is there one single motive which governs your heart, decent and sober as you are, which governed Christ's? Is there one feeling in your breast which was in Christ? Not one. What governs men? Selfishness. Not so Christ. There was no selfishness in Christ. In Him all was love. Love it was that brought Him down. Love gave Him energy when hungry and weary at the well. Love carried Him on, one constant unfailing stream of love. Never was He betrayed into anything contrary to it. Deserted, abandoned, betrayed, still there was one unwearying acting of love. Selfishness can feel love. It is even lovely to man's mind, though he is the very opposite of it. Yet some are amiable and beautiful characters. But how do they use their amiability? To attract to self-self governs man. Selfishness need not be put into Him; it is there. All is sin from beginning to end-all self. Whatever be the form it takes it is vanity. Is it not true of every one that will read this, that some personal gratification, perhaps some little bit of dress, has more power to occupy the thoughts, than the agony of Christ? Not that He would have us always occupied with that; He would have us occupied with His person and glory.
What I want to prove, then, is that we cannot think badly enough of what our hearts are. It is well that we should know it, for we cannot have the truth without in some measure judging the root and principle of evil within.
But then have we any power to remedy the evil? No, none. But when brought to God, happily we get miserable about it. When there are desires after truth I hope, because I see some goodness in God; but hope is dashed by seeing some evil in myself. That is not simplicity. It is judging God by some sort of knowledge of what I am. It may be true and righteous; but it is law. The principle of law is, that God is towards man according to what man is towards God. It is the principle which conscience always will act on; for according to conscience it is right. The evil is not in this, but in the fact that I am not brought to total despair. The light has not as yet broken down the will, so as to make me cry out, " I am vile, and abhor myself in dust and ashes." Beloved friends, if I take the ground of expecting anything from God, in virtue of what I am towards Him, all is over! there is nothing but condemnation. God is holy, and I am not. God is righteous, and I am a sinner. The end of all these exercises of soul is to make you cry out, " I am vile," and that is all. God is holy, and I am not. He is holy, and must be holy, and ought to be holy. Would you have Him lower Himself down to what you are? No, never. I may tremble before Him when I think of it, but I would not have it otherwise. No person quickened into the divine nature could deliberately wish God to come down from His holiness, to spare one sin, because he has learned by that same nature to hate sin. My heart has tasted a little of love in God Himself; for He cannot reveal Himself without revealing "love. The law shows man what he ought to be; but does not show what God is. It says, love God, and shows me that I ought to love, but does not tell me who or what the God is I am to love! Job said, if I could but find Him! However distracted and broken to pieces under the hand of God, he felt that if he could only find Him, he would love Him. " Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him!" Flesh is always under the law. Realizing by faith the precious truth that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses front all sin, then all is easy, all is peace. Flesh comes in and troubles, and the soul is down; and it is up and down; and the evil is that the soul gets habituated to such alternations, and not to walking in communion with God.
To think that God is going to condemn me is not fellowship with His thoughts. What is fellowship? Common thoughts together; common feelings, affections, objects; one heart, one mind. Thus we have fellowship with God! How wonderful! Fellowship with the Father and the Son. How so? Why; what have I received, if I have not received God's thoughts? Does not the Father delight in the Son? and do not I delight in that there is all beauty and perfectness in Him? Do not I delight in a soul being converted? Is it not your delight that Christ should be perfectly honored and glorified? and is it not God's too? If God's thoughts are the spring of our thoughts, can we wonder that our joy should be full? The Holy Ghost gives thoughts, and our hearts are too narrow to take them in in all their fullness and power; but our joy is full, nay so full that it runs over. It is not that we are not inconsistent to the end. The peace and rest that we get is, that there is no modification, no change, in God Himself. If we say there is this or that inconsistency in me, and how can such as I look to God, and begin questioning, we get back to law-to judging by my own good-for-nothing heart of what God is. Would I have you indifferent to sins? No! but I would you had so settled and constant a judgment of the flesh, as vile and cannot please God, as to give yourself entirely up. Many of us have to learn this by detail-by failing, and failing, and failing. It is better to learn it by a ray of light shot from God's credited word-to believe, from His report, that from the first shoot it puts forth from the earth, to the last fruit it bears, it is the old tree, and will never bring forth anything but wild grapes. A hard lesson this, but a true one. Are your hearts brought to say, in God's presence, I know that "I am carnal, sold under sin?" Have you come to this point, to accept the entire judgment of God against yourself? Terrible! But you must get these to know more full blessedness. Have you ever sat down satisfied to know that that self, that is sitting there, cannot please God? When it comes to that I give up all thoughts of judging God by what I am; for then He could only cast me out of His presence! I am not looking to gain eternal life. I cannot; I have failed. Where then shall I find that which I so desperately want? Why in this was manifested the love of God. (verse 2.) Himself is manifested. The life you want is come by another. " Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." You are just the opposite to Jesus. How did you find that out? Jesus is manifested, the eternal life which came down from the Father, to you, because you could never have got your heart up to it. If Christ is not my life, where is it? Is Christ my life? Yes I and what a life I have. It makes me see sin in me-true. But if I have the sin, have I an imperfect life? A life which, perhaps, God cannot be pleased with? No it is given from God, because I am mere sin. God sent His Son that I might live through Him. It is God's free gift. Where is responsibility then? As regards getting, there is none. It is in the using! Do I weaken responsibility? Nay, I give it all its force. If you are under the law, you are either weakening its authority, (for if I say God is merciful and will give a reprieve, I destroy the law,) or you establish the law, proving its utter condemnation, and that you are dead through it,-a lost sinner-alive—by the life of Christ. "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." (verse 5.) God comes in as light. Sin is darkness. "Light has no fellowship with darkness." Light being come in, we must so stand in the presence of God, that in the full light of His holiness, no spot at all is seen in us. Do you walk thus in the light? It is a real thing. The walk is what a man really is. Can you stand in the light, as God is in it without a veil between, walking, not according to the light, but in the light? Have you ever walked in such sort, knowing, without an effort in your conscience, that you are in the presence of God. If not, how have you been walking—going on for a few brief years? Whither you know not-in the awful folly of the human heart-in a constant state of moral madness! Have you ever had it all told out in your conscience, alone with God, all that you ever did? A long tale! That is what you have done, that is what you have thought, and I saw it all. Would you like thus to be told out, alone with God, the things that perhaps were not done before men, just proving that you thought more of man than of God? Is it all going to sink into oblivion? Have you thus been manifested to God, as the apostle speaks? Here is a message-mark who brings it! A message by Christ. To bring me to Christ -to God-to judge? No! But to bring me to one who has come to put away all that He has made manifest! I breathe again! What comfort I can desire now that everything should be known; everything I have even thought of, because it is to Him who came to put it all away. Not to hide, nor excuse, but to put it all away. The Son of God has died for it all. It is God putting my sin away, instead of putting me away. I am in the light, but the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses me from all sin. I get the witness of God Himself, God who is light. If He does not show a spot in me, who will? Do I say, there is no spot in my nature? No. But it does not depend on what /am; it depends on God, in whose light I am. The God who manifests me tells me that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses me from all sin! God has loved me perfectly. How do I know that? Because of what I am? No; I know it from what God is, and from what He has done; and my soul rests in constant, perfect, undisturbed peace; for God has revealed Himself to be what He is, and has revealed what He has done, in that Christ died; and what He has done never can change-He never changes. It is in the power of an accomplished salvation that the soul rests, and not on anything that is yet to be done; so that there can be no change. The blood of Christ alone blots out my sin. If Christ did not do it perfectly, when will it be done? But He has done it. "By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified." When faith, by divine teaching, has laid hold on this, faith does not change either. " The worshippers once purged have no more conscience of sins."
One word at the close on that which is important to us all-communion, fellowship. Is communion never interrupted? Yes! But God's love is not interrupted, nor my confidence, though my communion may often be; for God cannot have communion with a single sin-with an idle trifling thought-so that when such come into the mind we cannot have communion. What is the resource then? The answer is given in chapter ii, verse 1, " My little children, these things write I unto you that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." It is not here mediator with God, but advocate with the Father. Communion with the Father has been interrupted. Advocacy is founded on two points. He, the righteous one being in God's presence, and that He has made propitiation for us. We have fellowship with the Father and the Son, and we lose it through sin or folly. Christ comes in as the advocate, and the Spirit of Christ works according to advocacy, and restores communion, brings us back to fellowship with the Father and the Son. Here is the remedy for daily failure. Our position is fellowship with the Father and the Son.
That our joy may be full. Have you been brought to this? He has made peace. Have you got it? Take no rest till you have it. Tolerate no sin; but see that God has put it all away by the blood of the cross. God forbid there should be any levity about sin. Nothing is so impossible as that God can brook sin. But He can put it away. Have you, by faith, attained this rest, rest in that eternal life which came by the shed blood, never to be shed again? Beloved friends, only be sure of this, that God is love; that in all His ways with you, He is love, and He would have you happy. You cannot be happy in evil. Because He is love He would bring us to know this love, and find therein our rest. Aye, and He 'would have us reckon on Him as regards our failures. I have sin in me, and I have no strength save in Him. If I cannot, or do not, go to Rim when there is sin and failure, where am I to go for strength? Moses said, Ex. 34;9, " If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance." Could you go up with the stiffneckedness you have without God? "Go with us," says Moses, "because it is a stiffnecked people" You will never get the victory over sin, nor indeed properly judge it, unless you have God with you! Christ can give us to hate the sin and strengthen us against the thing we hate. God is love. I know it in Christ, and I have Him against the evil that would hinder me—the thing I feared would be too much for me. " We have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."