Few men, if any, save the Man of Sorrows, ever drank of the cup of grief as deeply as the apostle Paul did; yet he found solace in divine love all through his earthly days. To him the cross of Christ was the unique expression of that love. “I live by faith,” he said; “the faith of the Son of God, who has loved me and given Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). He was therefore sustained and cheered on, notwithstanding the difficulties which beset his path. Moreover, he deepened in the knowledge of the triumphs of the One who personally loved him, and who loved him personally; therefore joy was continually his portion also, as he wrote, “Grieved, yet always rejoicing.” The secret of his buoyant energy lay in the known love of the Son of God in the power of the Spirit. “He loved me,” he could record, and he lived by the faith of Him.
Although the apostle John is used to give us more of the truth concerning our Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God than Paul, nevertheless the latter tells us that all the activity of the gifts, which the ascended Christ has given, is in view of our coming to the knowledge of Him thus. This is the end before the gifts—“The edifying of the body of Christ, until we all arrive at the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, at the full grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ” (Eph. 4:13).
Many things that look great to a child appear comparatively small to the full grown man. The knowledge of Him in whom the eternal God has been fully revealed; in whom He has spoken fully and finally; who is the Heir and Creator of all things; who has risen victorious over death and the grave after giving Himself in love for us; who has defeated Satan and sits on the right hand of the throne of the greatness in the heavens; the knowledge of Him in whom is life, yea, who is “the true God and eternal life;” will set many things that appear great to a babe in Christ in their true relation as comparatively small, it may be, even though important, as all things that are of God are. So the apostle adds, “That we may be no longer babes tossed to and fro.” To be able to rejoice that such an One loved me and gave Himself for me, will not only keep me from being tossed about, but give me joy and comfort in the path of God’s holy will.
And then in Him we have life. “God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that has the Son has life he that has not the Son of God has not life.” The first epistle of John is specially written that those who believe on the Name of the Son of God may know that they have eternal life, just as the Gospel of John is written that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that we might have life in His Name. In a world of death and departure from the true God, how blessed to live in the circle where life in the Son of God is known! Victory over the world is gained by those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God, notwithstanding all its allurements and violence, its lust and pride, appealing to the flesh, the eyes, and our life in the body. We cannot over-estimate the importance of being built up in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; for as we grow in grace and up to Him in all things, that which is not according to Him will be outgrown.
What an abode, too, is provided, even before we are taken to the Father’s house to dwell where the Son is for ever, “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in Him and He in God”—who is love—and “he that dwells in love dwells in God and God in Him.” All fear is cast out by the love which is perfect—the love which was manifested in the death of the Son of God, by which we have been reconciled to Him; and we can say, “We have known and believed the love which God has to us” (1 John 4:16). As those who are provided with such an abode, each one who confesses Jesus as the Son of God may say, with a deepened sense of its marvellous grace and blessedness, “He loved me and gave Himself for me.”
The one who is thus established will not be easily drawn aside by the strifes which arise as to sectarian and party fellowship, for he will abide in that into which all the saints are called; as we read, “God is faithful, by whom ye have been called into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:9). Men may build up select fellowships of their own, but God does not call us into them. It is the fellowship of the Son of God into which He calls us. We need none other, that is enough. Oh, that our hearts took in more of the abundance that is here; then “the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God” would prove to be infinitely blessed, and we should be stable as well as satisfied, desiring no other fellowship, but rather deepening in the reality of the fellowship of the Father and the Son; and as we walk in the light having happy and holy fellowship one with another without misgiving, for the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from every sin.
Worship also has a special place here. In the presence of such an One as He is, who has loved us so truly as to give Himself for us, we are instinctively moved by the Spirit to worship God’s beloved Son. How can the soul that says, He loved me and gave Himself for me, do otherwise? We have spoken of this personal love, and of the greatness of the One who so loved us; also of the facts of life in Him. Victory over the world and an abode in divine love; likewise of the fellowship of God’s Son into which we are called. Worship follows naturally. In the freedom and power of the Spirit we can let our hearts overflow before Him, and allow them to tell out the sense that we have of His love and glory.
When Jesus drew near to the man whose eyes He had opened, and who had just been cast out by the religious zealots at Jerusalem, He asked him, “Dost Thou believe on the Son of God? Who is He Lord—he answered—that I might believe on Him? and Jesus said to him, Thou hast both seen Him, and He it is that speaketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe; and he worshipped Him” What a sight! a once blind sinner, now a rejoicing believer, having sight and victory over religious opposition, found worshipping in the presence of the blessed Son of God! How fragrant and precious to Him!
The disciples were in the storm-tossed ship. Jesus drew near. “Be of good cheer,” He said, “It is I, be not afraid.” Peter answered, “Lord, if it be Thou command me to come to Thee on the waters.” And He said, “Come.” Peter walked on the waters to go to Jesus. That was victory, truly!—victory over the elements that would have engulfed him! It is not surprising that directly he looked at the boisterous storm, and got his eye off the Lord, he began to sink, needing to be saved by that ever-ready hand, and taken into the ship. When they were there the storm ceased, and those that were in the ship came and worshipped Him, saying, “Truly Thou art the Son of God.” How precious in the sight of heaven! What a delight to the Father to see His Son, the darling of His heart, thus honoured!
The cast-out and the storm-tossed were brought to own and worship the Son of God. Better to have Him, the Centre of all God’s thoughts and counsels, than the best religious fellowships of man, than the most stable and respectable of his organizations. May we all prove this plenteously till we surround Him in glory, fully conformed to His image, and behold His everlasting loveliness, the Firstborn among many brethren, according to God’s purpose.