THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

1 John 1: 5-9; 4: 7-19

John 4: 21-24

RHB We are told in 1 Timothy 6: 7 that “we have brought nothing into the world: it is manifest that neither can we carry anything out”. Whilst that is said in relation to material things, there is one thing that we can acquire and take with us when we go, and that is the knowledge of God. None of us was born with the knowledge of God but it can be acquired; indeed God desires that we should come to know Him.

Each of these passages has the character, I believe, of a revelation. We could never know anything about God unless He was to reveal it to us. What has struck me about these passages is that in each of them there is the revelation of what God is: in the first passage He is said to be “light”, in the second He is said to be “love”, and in the third, He is said to be “a spirit”. In each of these passages, that revelation is to have a direct effect upon those to whom it is revealed. I thought in this first passage that the statement that “God is light” reveals Him to be a moral Being. The thought of righteousness, and the concept of sin and unrighteousness, have become apparent through the revelation of what God is. And so He is said to be light, “and in him is no darkness at all”. He has come into the light; in other words, He has made that known to us with a desire that we should be acceptable to Him. Such is God’s desire to be known and loved that He has made provision whereby we can be acceptable to Him and suited to His presence. It seems to me that the very first thing we learn about God is that He is light, and that reveals Him, but it exposes us for what we are. But then as this chapter shows, there is provision for us, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness”, it is a deception, but the fact that “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” is intended to affect our walk.

The revelation of God In chapter 4, that He is love, is brought to bear upon our relationship with Him, and also our relationships with one another. We are to be like Him. I think in all these passages, what God is revealed to be is what He desires to form us in; and not only relationships but testimony. He says, “No one has seen God at any time: if we love one another, God abides in us”; God can be seen. The unseen God can be seen in those who through His grace have been brought to love one another.

The woman in chapter 4 of the gospel talks of worship in a somewhat detached way without reference to who, or what, is being worshipped. The vexed question of the time as to whether it should be in this mountain or Jerusalem was occupying her. The Lord says, “Ye worship ye know not what; we worship what we know”. He goes on to say, “the true worshippers shall worship the Father”, so that the reference to God as a Spirit is directed to our approach to Him, and to our response to the grace that He has shown towards us. It involves what is spiritual. “They who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth”: an outward order of itself is not enough; there must be response to God that is acceptable. The apostle says, “let us serve God acceptably with reverence and fear”, Heb 12: 28. I hope the brethren will be free to develop those few thoughts.

DAB Thank you very much. I was wondering if it has been at the heart of God’s purpose to make Himself known. It is interesting to see how much of what has come in along the way has been used by God to serve that end. Moral questions have arisen which have served to bring out what God is as a moral being, for example. Our need has brought out His love which gives us a distinct understanding of it, would you say?

RHB I do think that. It seems an extraordinary glory of God that He has taken what has risen up in opposition to Him and to His will in order to accomplish His end. It is only God that could do that, but it does not in any way justify the introduction of sin. We may, and sometimes do perhaps, wonder why, if God is omnipotent - which He is, and He hates sin - which He does, why it was not prevented? I do not think we are equal for questions like that; the fact is the coming in of sin has brought out in its lustre what God is in His nature, in His being, and it is intended to form in us what is in Him. We are to walk in the light and be cleansed “from all unrighteousness”, as this passage says.

DAB We may wonder, I suppose, that these features are seen in His children, light and love; we walk in love, and we walk in light. That is a very wonderful thing, that there is not simply an abstract manifestation of God, nor is there only what has been seen in perfection in Jesus, but there is what is formed, what is begotten of Him, and must be true to His character. And yet it is the wonderful grace of God that He should proceed on that line that His very nature, whether moral or in love, comes out in those who have received the knowledge of Himself.

RHB Yes, and they are lights, are they not? His children “appear as lights in the world” (Phil 2: 15), “harmless and simple, irreproachable children of God”. It is the divine nature coming out in those who have been begotten of God.

RMB Why does John present this matter as to God being light as a message that God had conveyed to the apostles?

RHB Well, I would be glad of your thoughts as to that, but it seems to me that that verse is one of cardinal importance, particularly in our own day. I believe what we have read in the gospel and in the epistles is among the last scriptures to be written by the apostle, of whom the Lord said, “If I will that he abide until I come”, John 21: 22. John has in mind the darkness which in our own day is exceptional; the rate of apostasy from the truth, publicly, is unprecedented. And in the presence of that God is revealed. There is a great tendency to adapt ourselves to what is proceeding, and because we are immersed in it, living in it, we may, like Lot, torment our righteous souls (2 Pet 2: 8) over it; it is very easy to be affected by the tide around us. “They think it strange”, Peter says, “that ye run not with them to the same sink of corruption”, 1 Pet 4: 4. I thought this message is put like that as something that is to arrest us. I do not know what you think about this, but this particularly relates to what came in at the fall. The devil not only persuaded man to be disobedient, but he suggested that God had an ulterior motive. Despite abundant evidence to the contrary, that God was a benevolent and faithful Creator, it was suggested that actually He had an underhand and deceitful motive; that thought was instilled at the fall. Therefore, the apostle states here that not only “God is light”, but “in him is no darkness at all”.

DAB The apostle has brought out that the twelve had a special relationship with the Father, and that relationship had enlightened their appreciation of the Lord Jesus. But it had brought an understanding of God Himself too, that could then colour their testimony. Their testimony was not drawn from the dark world in which they lived in any way, but it sprang out from that communion and sanctuary where they learned from the Father Himself what God is.

RHB I think that is very interesting because the apostle gives three reasons why he wrote this section, does he not? First of all in verse 3 he says, “that which we have seen and heard we report to you, that ye also may have fellowship with us”, and then verse 4, “these things write we to you that your joy may be full”, and then in the beginning of chapter 2, “My children, these things I write to you in order that ye may not sin”. I think those three things bear on what you said; they had had an experience with the Father and they wanted to share that with others. In that they found fulness of joy and satisfaction. The introduction of sin, although it may seem temporarily pleasing, “the temporary pleasure of sin” (Heb 11: 25), has brought nothing but misery and unhappiness, and ultimately death.

PM John in the beginning of his gospel says, “The true light was that which, coming into the world”, John 1: 9. Do you get some sense of what it meant to the heart of God, that “the true light” should come into the world and shed its light on every man?

RHB It is striking because the darkness was all around, and “the darkness apprehended it not”, John 1: 5. We know that that is an unusual reference; we know that if light is introduced the darkness is normally dispelled, but “the light appears in darkness, and the darkness apprehended it not”. That darkness is still around us in the world. In the midst of such conditions, God would have us to shine in the light in which He has been revealed, and to walk in it in order that we might have fellowship with Him. We may speak of fellowship and those that are ‘in fellowship’, and those that are ‘out of fellowship’, but in this epistle, John is going to the very essence of things and that is fellowship with God Himself firstly, and then fellowship with one another on the basis of walking in the light together.

AM Can you say why it is a question of our walk and so on, and in verse 7 it is, “the light”, not just walking in light?

RHB It says, “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light”. I am glad of help, but “God is light” seems to be a statement that stands by itself, but He has come into the light; in other words, He has been pleased to make Himself known to men; and it is in that light, the light in which He has been revealed, that we are to walk. There is no other. Men today are surrounded with a vast variety of philosophies, religions, and the like, but it is “the light”; there is no other light except that in which we can walk.

AM That is what I was thinking, there is only one source of light, and it is from God Himself. Anything else is in its nature darkness.

RHB That takes us back to Genesis 1, that “the earth was waste and empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep”, v 2. The first thing God said was, “Let there be light”, v 3. I thought this is how we begin, in acquiring a knowledge of God, we learn what He is relative to what we are. God is light is a relative expression, but when we come onto chapter 4, “God is love”, it seems to me that is an absolute. There is no relativity in that; it is what God is, irrespective of conditions. But this is what God has been shown to be in the presence of darkness, darkness so impenetrable that when the light appeared in it, it did not apprehend it.

RMB God coming into the light is what distinguishes Christianity, because it is not only a question of darkness in the world around, but in the previous dispensation, God Himself was in the darkness. We have reference to Him dwelling “in the thick darkness” (1 Kings 8: 12), but what has characterised Christianity is that God has come into the light, in that there has now been the fullest revelation possible of Himself.

RHB When Jesus died there was the expression of that, that God was free to come out. In the old dispensation man in the flesh was recognised and God was concealed in a way, behind the veil. In the death of Christ man in the flesh has been removed from before Him, and God is free to come out in all the blessedness of His nature. We might get some impression in speaking of the blessedness of these things. Both the apostles Paul and Peter used that expression, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”, Eph 1: 3 and 1 Pet 1: 3. They had an impression, as having to do with God, of the inherent blessedness of His nature. Initially, we might perhaps fear as we think of God being light, as the scripture says, “all things are naked and laid bare” (Heb 4: 13); we might feel uncomfortable about that. I remember hearing that in the preaching as a boy and feeling distinctly uncomfortable about it, that God was looking into my heart and seeing things that I might not have wanted Him, or anyone else, to see. All with a view to the blessedness of His nature coming out and being known and responded to.

JHF We have the reference in 1 John 2 that “the darkness is passing and the true light already shines”, v 8. I was also thinking of the glory of the light that the apostle spoke of when he was struck down on the Damascus road, a light above every other, the light of God Himself, Acts 26: 13. I wonder if you could say something as to the darkness passing and the true light already shining.

RHB I wonder if that is a reference to the fact the Spirit has come, the work of Christ having been accomplished; and He has empowered the testimony. Through the energy of the apostles, the darkness was passing. I think it also would involve what John says later on in that chapter, that “the world is passing, and its lust, but he that does the will of God abides for eternity”, 1 John 2: 17. I think we are very near the end, dear brethren; I think others feel that too; it raises the question whether my interests and energies are directed to what is passing, or what is going to abide for eternity? The knowledge of God in the soul and the doing of God’s will as a result is eternal.

DAB I was thinking of it in that connection with what you said about the veil, because it would be right to say, as you have already quoted, that the true light was already shining in Christ. It was not as if that light appeared at the death of Christ, because it had been there in His life, but I was thinking that the Jewish system preferred the idea that God was in the “thick darkness” to what was to be seen in the Lord Jesus Himself. They did not apprehend that there was light when they were accustomed to the idea of darkness, and the cross laid all that bare, and from then on God was not identified with the system in which He had dwelt in darkness. But God came out in a special way at the cross.

RHB That is right; the darkness is passing and the true light shines, but until the work of Christ was accomplished and the Spirit came, there was not much understanding of that, was there? Everything was there in Christ, but “the darkness apprehended it not”. I think what you say brings out what the heart of man is; there is no appetite for Christ: “there is no beauty that we should desire him”, Isa 53: 2.

DHB In verse 7, “But if we walk in the light …”, seems to be written in such a way as to raise a challenge as to whether or not we are: is that your exercise? That we should be exercised to walk in the light. It is not an automatic thing; when we become a believer we know the Lord Jesus as our Saviour, but there is to be an exercise to be here true to Him.

RHB We are here speaking over the truth, talking about it, but that verse says, “if we walk”: does what I speak about among the saints, does it govern me in my walk and ways? “The light” is the only light; there is no other. We are either walking in that, according to that verse, or we are walking in darkness.

RMB Do you think the little words in the middle, “as he is in the light”, are important? Would it be right to say there is a sense in which every believer is walking in the light, otherwise they would not be a believer, but the test is whether they are walking in it “as he” is in it, because that, it seems, is the basis of Christian fellowship, according to this verse.

RHB Yes, what do you see in that, “as he is in the light”?

RMB It is according to the way in which He Himself has been made known. For example, in the next chapter it says, “He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in the darkness until now” (v 9) because to hate your brother would be inconsistent with the way that God has made Himself known.

RHB And that is developed more in the passage we read in chapter 4; it is part of walking in the light. All that God is, all that can be known of God, has been made known in a Man, a Man who lived in the everyday circumstances of life in which we are. John records the Baptist looking at Him “as he walked”, John 1: 36. There was something arresting about the way that that heavenly Man walked on the earth. In this epistle in chapter 2, he says, “He that says he abides in him ought, even as he walked, himself also so to walk”, v 6. The Lord Jesus walked the earth in conscious sonship, enjoyment of the place that he had in the Father’s heart. He was untainted and uncorrupted by the circumstances through which He walked, but always ready to administer the grace of God to the need that He found.

BHC At the beginning of chapter 1 it says, “the life has been manifested” (v 2); how wonderful it is that the greatness of God’s Person was manifested in the life of Jesus here. I was thinking of how John speaks, “we have seen with our eyes; that which we contemplated”, v 1. It is wonderful to think that the revelation of God, the fulness of God’s heart in light and love is manifested in one blessed Man.

RHB John says that in his gospel, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men”, John 1: 4. The fact that God is in the light and all that God is that can be known of men has been made known in a Man, God has been manifested in flesh. That is an extraordinary thing, that in the condition in which we are, God has been manifested in the Person of Jesus.

CHS It says of the city in the Revelation that “the glory of God has enlightened it” (Rev 21: 23), in relation to the millennial time and I was thinking of the Lamb there being the lamp and what may affect our hearts to walk in the light. We are not exactly walking in it because of what we know, are we?

RHB No, I think it is a heart matter. I think the writer was perhaps the most intimate with the Lord, “there was at table one of his disciples in the bosom of Jesus, whom Jesus loved” (John 13: 23), and he spoke of himself not as an apostle, but as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (chap 21: 20); he was conscious of it. You get that impression of John, that that was enough for him. He does not say much about his love for the Lord; in one sense he does not need to, because his writings bear out the adoration that he had for Christ. He speaks of himself in relation to the place that he had in the heart of Christ, consciously, and I think that is a very blessed thing and a motivator to “walk in the light, as he is in the light”.

PM What do you understand by, “we have fellowship with one another”? That is more than coming to the same meeting room, is it?

RHB Yes, I think it is fellowship in its essence here. Other scriptures give us other aspects of the fellowship, practical aspects of it, but this is the very essence of fellowship, that persons that walk in the light, “as he is in the light”, have a very deep and profound bond with each other: “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin”, and then he says in verse 9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. So that everything that would hinder our acceptability before God has been dealt with and we can have fellowship with Him, and fellowship with those that are walking in the light. I think it helps us to understand what fellowship is; in the day we are in we have had to part company with many that we know and love, who, for one reason and another, have gone off on a tangent. We do not cease to love them or in any way un-Christianise them, but if we value the presence and fellowship of Christ, we must ourselves keep in the light.

DAB Attention was drawn that this goes far beyond a profession, what we say. I am just picking up some of the things that have been said just now - John had that place of intimacy that you referred to. I think if you spoke to John, he would have said, ‘Well I have been so near to Christ that it makes me feel I must walk in a certain way. The knowledge I have acquired and the experiences I have had have constrained everything else’. Say he found another believer who was moved by the experiences of Christ in the same way, he would feel he had fellowship with him in the light. So, there is nothing technical or merely formal about this, but these things have a deep spiritual and moral foundation in our experience with Christ.

RHB They do, and it is the principle of attraction. If we look up at the sky and consider the stars and the planets, the vast number of them, they all seem to be held in place on apparently nothing. What holds them is the principle of attraction; the whole celestial system is founded on that. Everything is moving in its allotted place and orbit, and we see a system of order set out there. It seems to me that is what the apostle is speaking about here, that if we walk in the light, we are getting into our proper place in the divine system by walking in the light and we are not only attracted to Christ, for what He has done and for what He is, but we are drawn in deep and profound bonds to those that are in the same orbit.

DAB Yes, if we can just keep to the astronomy, it is not that all this was just set in motion and left to run itself; it is upheld by the word of His power, His active management. If we bring that down to this setting, John would say, ‘I do not speak of my love, let alone my power; I learnt to rest on the love and power of Christ’, and that is what sustains this fellowship, and keeps it in moral order.

RHB I think that is very touching; not only was he in the bosom of Jesus, but when Peter signalled to him, “he, leaning on the breast of Jesus, says to him, Lord, who is it?”, John 13: 25. He leant there; he leant on the breast of Jesus. That is what we can all lean on, dear brethren: the love of Christ is something we can rely upon.

PM When John wrote this he was probably in a cave on a rocky island, alone, but he was still having fellowship with others, because he was drawing from the same source with the same objective, enjoying the same love, and regulated by the same authority. Is that really what we mean when we speak of fellowship? It is not just positional, but it is what effects our inwards: we are linked on together with others that are under the same power, authority and affection.

RHB So in that verse you quote, he says, “I John, your brother and fellow-partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and patience”; he says he was there “for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus. I became in the Spirit on the Lord’s day”, Rev 1: 9, 10. It is very affecting that, to think that he was practically in isolation but the Lord’s day was recognised by him. That is part of walking in the light, that the Lord’s day is recognised and on that day he was exercised, even though there were no brethren there, to be “in the Spirit”. It seems to be that is the secret, that while he was there positionally on that rocky island by becoming “in the Spirit” on the Lord’s day, he became part of what is immense. The book that unfolds shows that; he had communications from the Head of the assembly to communicate to the assemblies. It is a very blessed thing in simplicity to touch that, many gathering in great fewness and weakness, and conscious of it, but experiencing what it is to be part of what is immense, “in the midst of the assembly will I sing thy praises” (Heb 2: 12); what could be greater than that? That is worked out and experienced in localities, often in great smallness and isolation.

I thought in this second passage you get a further thought; we have come to learn what God is as a moral being, but ‘man is not all conscience’, as Mr Darby has said, and we learn that He is love towards us and that He Himself is love. Love is of God and as John says, “We love because he has first loved us”. So these things have come into expression because they have been revealed in God. God has been revealed as light in order that we might walk in the light and be lights in the darkness. But then He has been revealed as love, and it has in mind that we should love. We should love the family of God particularly; it seems to me that it not only bears on our relationships together but it touches on the question of public testimony to God. In verse 12, “No one has seen God at any time: if we love one another, God abides in us, and his love is perfected in us”. It is almost as though John speaks of that as a great end to be reached, that through loving one another God is expressed, the unseen God is expressed in testimony.

DAB Yes. I wonder if the discord that has come in among God’s people that you mentioned is because Satan sees in that a way of frustrating the testimony. I was thinking of the Lord’s prayer in John 17 that focuses on the unity of the believers which is arrived at by the Spirit, but whether it is seen practically in testimony is made a challenge in practical questions.

RHB Yes, you mean we cannot overlook the public breakdown that has come in because of man’s responsibility? But nevertheless, it says in verse 13, “Hereby we know that we abide in him and he in us, that he has given to us of his Spirit”; so just as there is provision in chapter 1 for us to be cleansed “from all unrighteousness”, so there is provision here for us to abide in Christ. I think the dislocation that you speak of has come in when we cease to do that.

DAB If someone leaves because they do not like the way something was dealt with, you wonder how God is manifested in that. How is the assertion of the divine nature of the children of God not been great enough to meet a waywardness of that kind?

RHB Well, I think it is helpful to see that, because it may not have occurred to us. It would help us to review our place and conduct among the people of God, would it not? We are exhorted to use “diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit” (Eph 4: 3), and we are told here that “we know”. It is remarkable how John brings in the question of knowledge of things in this chapter, things that can only be known in love through the heart, “we know that we abide in him and he in us, that he has given to us of his Spirit”. That is the power, even if others are not answering to it, to walk in love.

ILB These things are moral are they not? It is not a question of what is outward, but what is really formed in the hearts of the saints.

RHB John says, “let us love one another; because love is of God”; that is the hearts being won for God, and love is of Him. I think it has been said that is a very wide expression. Even the natural love of a mother for her child comes from God, “love is of God”. The thing itself and the power to express it comes from God, “and every one that loves has been begotten of God and knows God”. Do we know God, dear brethren? We may know a lot about Him, and we speak about Him, but the knowledge of God is what is stressed in this section, “we have known and have believed”. It is a matter of faith, but it is to be a matter of consciousness, that we know God and He is near to us.

HTF I am very tested by what you are bringing in, it is very practical; every phrase of John’s epistle is about walking in the truth and how we do it. As to darkness, I was wondering about the reference in Luke because “there came darkness”, and even the sun was darkened, chap 23: 44-45. We referred to the veil as well and I wondered if there might be something in that for us which helps us to see what came to light in the cross.

RHB Those three hours were shut out from human view because of the immensity of what was taking place between God and Christ on the cross. “Him who knew not sin he has made sin for us” (2 Cor 5: 21): what words those are and they express what is unfathomable and beyond us. But we come into the blessing of it, and here the love of God is manifested. God has sent His only-begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him, that we might know God and we might live in the life of Christ. God’s love has been manifested in that because it is the path of greatest happiness for man. He has not left us to our own devices but sent His only-begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him, and be brought into the knowledge of God. Paul had to say to Corinth that some were “ignorant of God” (1 Cor 15: 34); he had to say that in a Christian company, and I find that a challenge. Am I sitting among believers, claiming to be a believer, yet ignorant of God, when God desires to be known, and as this passage brings out, not only to be known but to be loved?

AAC I find it testing. In exhortation, Mr Coates says, ‘Make it the supreme business of your life to get better acquainted with God’ (CAC vol 19 p24), and that is what you are speaking about. But it is not simple knowledge like we learn things naturally; this is a relationship, as you have drawn out. I was thinking of the Lord Jesus speaking to Mary, “my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God”, John 20: 17. This is not simply knowledge of a Being; I am His and He is mine, and it is to change everything about my life here. Yes, that life is going to be left to one side but the relationship and the knowledge that I have of Him in these things is what will change me, and what will go forward. These things in a sense belong to us and we have to make them our own.

RHB What an immense thing it is, just taking it by itself, that God should abide in us. We have been speaking about the knowledge of God, but that is how near God has come to us; He abides in His children. That is the way John speaks of the assembly; He does not speak formally of the assembly as other apostles do, but He speaks of the family of God. We know from a natural family that people say, ‘Oh he looks like so-and-so’, or, ‘I can see so-and-so in him’. Well, is there evidence that God abides in me? What testimony is that? I remember Mr Eric Burr saying that we need to remember that our testimony begins amongst those who know us best, in the home. One who is answering to this, God abiding in him, should be a very good father to his children, and excellent husband to his wife. There will be evidence starting there right in the most intimate setting, amongst those who know us best, that God abides in us. If I am known, for example, as a husband who is forever complaining, or short-tempered, what testimony is there in that that God abides in me? Or if I am impatient - that is one of the things I found very searching when I came across a remark of Mr Raven’s that ‘impatience is a sure sign of moral weakness’, vol 9 p306. I felt quite pulled up by that; he said God is never impatient because there is never any doubt that He will accomplish His will. We get impatient because we get frustrated that we cannot accomplish our own will or in the time we want to accomplish it. How searching these things are! In the circumstances in which we are known best, it should be seen that God abides in us, and then there will be something that can spread out wider testimonially.

DAB God has been pleased in His creational ways, as well as in our calling, to give us others to whom we can give and receive these things. He sets the “solitary into families” (Ps 68: 6), and I was thinking of the woman in John 4, her relationships were all dislocated, and at the heart of that lay a God unknown. I wondered if the two are linked: the five husbands might have been very religious Samaritans, and no doubt could justify the law as a reason for leaving her. They brought no knowledge of God. Her encounter with the Lord Jesus set all her relationships in their place.

RHB She learnt really first of all that God is light, “I see that thou art a prophet”, “thou hast had five husbands, and he whom now thou hast is not thy husband”. That was not to be covered up by saying, “I have not a husband”, which was not the whole truth. He who was “the light of the world” brought out that there was darkness there, yet she was not repelled by it. She may have tried in what she said to divert the conversation, but she was held by it. I think she was coming to realise that God was not only light, but He was love. She was amazed that Jesus should speak to her, “How dost thou, being a Jew, ask to drink of me who am a Samaritan woman?”. And then the Lord opens up to her the greatest truth. You might ask why was it not opened up to the man in the previous chapter; he was an intelligent man; it was opened up to this woman. The satisfaction of her heart was coming to know God as a Spirit and worshipping Him “in spirit and truth”. There were no longer to be disputes as to where or how, but who? The Father: God revealed to her by that name must have been startling to this woman, to hear about worshipping the Father, and she was going to be drawn into the divine family.

DM So is it encouraging to see that in both light and love there is a wonderful opportunity that God gives; both light and love create opportunity, do they not? As a result of light it was possible there could be day, and with day that there could be a morning. And with the woman at the well or the malefactor on the cross, it was their occupation with Christ that allowed God to bring in love and light, and that had its effect. What we have spoken over is exercising, and rightly so, but resting in the presence of Christ creates opportunity and allows God to take effect through love and light.

RHB Yes, it is a very blessed thing that God could be known and we can enter into a relationship with Him. It struck me afresh on Lord’s day what an immense thing it is that we have been divinely capacitated to minister to God’s heart. We might say that is the very root of everything that God has done, He has sought an answer to His own great love, an answer in intelligence and affection. That is secured by those who worship Him, not from a prayer book or an order of service, but who “worship him in spirit and truth”. God’s heart is gratified by that.

PM Will not the fulness of that be seen in the city that has been referred to, “having the glory of God”, Rev 21: 11. It is really formed in the divine nature, God Himself delighting to dwell there.

RHB Yes, it is a remarkable culmination of God’s ways. It will be said, “What hath God wrought!” (Num 23: 23), when that comes on to view publicly: “the lamp thereof is the Lamb” (v 23), and “the Lord God Almighty is its temple”, v 22. What a glorious answer to God’s ways in time and in grace that it should be so.

 

Norwood

16th September 2023

List of initials:

D H Bailey, Maidstone; I L Barlow, Sidcup; R H Brown, Maidstone; R M Brown, Strood; D A Burr, Norwood; B H Clark, Maidstone; A A Croot, Sidcup; H T Franklin, Grimsby; J H Farrow, Strood; A Martin, Buckhurst Hill; D Martin, Colchester;
P Martin, Colchester; C H Smith, Chelmsford