Tag Archives: truth

Our Assurance Before God

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“And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.” (1 John 3:19)

There is a chain of reasoning in this context that is important to understand. Our hearts will be “assured” before God (1 John 3:19) if we love the brethren in “deed and in truth” (v. 18). A lack of that heart assurance condemns us (v. 20). If our heart does not condemn us, then we will have “confidence toward God” (v. 21).

It is worth noting that John uses the word “love” 26 times in this little letter. The word “know” is used 31 times, but the word “assure” is used only once (our text) and the word for “confidence” just four times. In each case, the promises of boldness in prayer or trust in answered prayer are based on our obedience.

Apparently, the key to an effective relationship with God, especially the key to a confidence in our prayer life, is a ready, visible, and instant response to God’s requirements for the believer. To the degree that we abide in Him (2:28), we will be confident when He returns. Our ready love for the brethren will keep us bold before God in our prayers (3:21), and our Christlike lifestyle will give us boldness at the judgment (4:17).

Meanwhile, absolute and steady belief in God’s salvation will remove any doubt that God hears us when we pray (5:14).

There is a continuing loop in these messages. We gain confidence as we “do” truth. We find more boldness as we understand God’s answers to our needs and prayers for others. That, in turn, increases our confidence that God is listening to our prayers, making our hearts all the more confident in our relationship with our heavenly Father. HMM III

In Him There is no Darkness

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“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.” (1 John 1:5)

Light is the most fundamental and important form of energy, and energy includes every phenomenon in the physical universe. It is appropriate for John to affirm that God is light, because everything created must reflect the character of its Creator. The term “light,” therefore, has come to be applied not only to light in the physical sense, but also to that which is true in the intellectual realm, and holy in the moral realm as well.

In terms of truth and genuine knowledge, “the entrance of thy words giveth light” (Psalm 119:130). “In thy light shall we see light” (Psalm 36:9).

Without God’s truth, there is only darkness. “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

The Bible also speaks of light as moral holiness. “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light. . . . And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:8, 11).

There are still other analogies:

“In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). Not only is light symbolic of life itself, but it also depicts God’s daily guidance for our lives. “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Since there is no darkness in God, “if we walk in the light as he is in the light” (1 John 1:7), there remains no excuse for any darkness in our lives.

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). HMM

Praise the Lord

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“O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.” (Psalm 117:1-2)

Psalm 117 is especially noteworthy for two reasons: First, it is the middle chapter of the Bible, and, secondly, it is the shortest chapter in the Bible, consisting of only the two verses cited above. Thus, it is significant and appropriate that its theme be that of universal and everlasting praise.

The very purpose of human language is that God might communicate His word to us and that we might respond in praise to Him.

The word “nations” in verse 1 refers specifically to Gentiles, while “people” seems to refer to all tribes of people. Two different Hebrew words for praise are used, so that the verse could be read: “Praise the LORD, all ye Gentile nations; extol him all ye peoples of every tribe.”

In any case, the sense of the exhortation is to urge everyone to praise His name.

The Hebrew word translated “merciful kindness” is also rendered as “loving kindness,” or simply “mercy” or “kindness.” Whichever is preferred, the significant point is that it has been great toward us. This word (Hebrew gabar) is not the usual word for “great” but is a very strong word meaning to “triumph” or “prevail.”

An example of its use is in the story of the great Flood. “And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth” (Genesis 7:19). In fact, it is used four times in this account of the “overwhelmingly mighty” waters of the Flood (Genesis 7:18-20, 24).

In other words, God’s merciful kindness has prevailed over our sin and the awful judgment we deserve in a manner and degree analogous to the way in which the deluge waters prevailed over the ancient evil world.

God’s mercy and truth are eternal, and this will be the great theme of our praise throughout all the ages to come. HMM

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