The Positiveness of Life in Christ

1 John 3:1‑10  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 7
JO 3:1-10{If we weigh the state of the church, we shall find a great deal of what is negative in the Christian life, and contentedness with what is negative. For example, a man sees sin, he takes for granted that there must be sin in him, and it is true and well that he should know it, providing it be not working; he sees the blood of Christ and is happy. If his flesh is kept in check as to positive sin, and the blood of Christ is seen, he is content. That is what I call negative—a person settling in himself that sin is, and is met by the cross of Christ. (It is not as speaking lightly of the cross that I say this. There is nothing like the cross. God Himself is glorified by it. The glory we can have with Christ. On the cross He was alone.)
This condition flows greatly from all that is of nature not having been judged, and the heart then occupied with Christ. When there is a positive life in exercise which attaches itself to Him, and sees the excellency in Him, it never can be satisfied without seeking to have, and to be, that which it sees in Him. Being free from sin, freed, if you please (for when this word is used in Scripture it refers to slavery), there is the positive activity of. delighting in Christ. The heart is so far delivered from sin as to delight positively in Christ.
John takes up a positive active life, in the activity of which he supposes the Christian lives, and which has joys and delights of its own, " If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that everyone that doeth righteousness is born of Him. Behold what manner of love the Father bath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons (children) of God!"
I get the nature of which we are made partakers shown from the life which is lived. If He is righteous, we know that every one who doeth righteousness (has the manifested character of that nature) is born of Him. Where has it come from? From God.. I recognize this relationship of a child by the nature that is manifested. The Apostle is not merely thinking of what we are in the title of righteousness, but of whom we are born-whence we draw our life. Hence it is that he says in verse 9, " cannot sin," for it is the nature of God in which we live as born again. He takes the truth up, as he does on every subject, in its own absoluteness, without modifying it by the contradictory principle in us. But the result of the possession of this life is brought in in remarkable terms. We are born of God, but the life which we have received is that eternal life which was manifested in Christ. (Chapter 1:1-3.) Hence he says, "It doth not appear what we shall be," no one has seen the glory, " but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." We shall be like Him; it is from the blessed consciousness of this, and the object thus set before us, that the activity of this life now flows. "And every man that hath this hope in Him, purifieth himself," (he does not say, is pure, but) " even as He is pure." That is, the measure and standard which he has before his soul is that which belongs to Christ as the object before his soul. How different this is from the negative state, occupied with sin, perhaps thinking how I shall get rid of it! I am a child of Adam is the thought of such an one; no, I say, I am a child of God.
If we are sufficiently emptied of self to have Christ before us in this double way, as the life in which we live, and the object for which we live, then the affections are associated with the object we like; and He is not merely object, but life. The power of the life is exactly in the measure in which Christ is the object. There, is where a Christian is happy. His soul's affections are set free and occupied with Christ. He is the one we love and delight in, and we want to be like Him and with Him.
If your heart is dragging through the world, and you are trying to get as flee from all the spots as you can you cannot be happy. This positive life is real liberty of heart, and that is what happiness means. He purifies himself as He is pure.
If 1 am not living this life of Christ, the old lawless thing is active. When there is not the activity of divine life, there is not merely failure in this, but there is the activity of the Adam life, and it is always lawless.
(To be continued, D. V.)