>"’True’ and ‘Truth’ in the Johannine Writings" – Geerhardus Vos

>This morning in the men’s Bible study at Pasha Coffee & Tea, the men were discussing 1 John 218-27 with particular emphasis on John’s use of “true,” “truth,” “anointing,” and “abiding in you.”  In all these things, John seems to equate these words together with the Anointed One himself, Jesus Christ.  So what does all this mean?

Well, a helpful place to look is Geerhardus Vos’ article “‘True’ and ‘Truth’ in the Johannine Writings.”  In that article, Vos helps to show that John uses these terms in relation to Jesus and who he is as the eschatological savior come from heaven to earth and as such, his words share in his “otherworldliness.”  The truth of Christ and his words has more to do, then, than just speaking of their trustworthy character; his words are heavenly and come from heaven as he did.  As such, Christ abides in his people through his truth–truth that is bound up with his word, the Bible.  Here are a few snippets:

When Jesus is called “the truth,” it would be a rash judgment to assert that this can mean nothing else than that His words are the supreme, incarnate veracity. The noun can just as well mean, and undoubtedly, in view of the usage of the adjective, sometimes does mean, that the supreme reality of the things that compose His character is incarnate in Him. The fulness of “truth,” which, side by side with “grace,” resides in the Only Begotten, must mean far more than the reliability pertaining to His words;

It cannot be otherwise than that the words of Him who is by nature and origin the “veritable” One should partake of the same character precisely because they are His. His kingdom is not of this world (but of the heavenly world), and for this very reason He came from the higher into the lower world that He should bear witness unto “the truth,” and that every one that is of “the truth” should hear His voice (18:37).

He is simply “not of this world.” And what is true of Jesus is, of course, on the principles of the Johannine teaching throughout, in the statements both of Jesus and of the Evangelist, applicable to the disciples, for in no document is the identification of Jesus with the believer more emphatically affirmed.

What is practically involved is the principle of ultimate spiritual value in regard to destiny. The practical name for this is the principle of “otherworldliness.”

The life of faith is not just about trusting Christ’s word, though it does include that, but it is about trusting that his word is at work within us binding us to him so that we understand that the heavenly life of Christ has intruded in us now and is working within us until we enter in to the full consummation of our heavenly inheritance.  The truth of Christ shares in Christ’s nature and therefore binds us to him, which comes to us in the form of an anointing.  So, as the anointing you received from him abides in you . . .and is true . . . abide in him (1 John 2.27).

You can find the article in Vos’ Shorter Writings, or read the entire article online for free here.


>"Covenantal Forgiveness" – 1 John 1.9-2.2

>This is my first attempt of uploading an Mp3 file to my new blog. The message of this sermon is one that I preach to myself everyday for the delight and assurance of finding my life in the hands of a covenantally faithful God and represented by a righteous advocate. You can here to listen (for some reason the first several minutes are silent, so you’ll have to fast forward a little) or can read it here.

In the words of John Bunyan in Pilgrim’s Progress,

Now I saw in my dream, that the highway up which Christian was to go, was fenced on either side with a wall, and that wall was called Salvation. Up this way, therefore, did burdened Christian run, but not without great difficulty, because of the load on his back.

He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending; and upon that place stood a cross, and a little below, in the bottom, a sepulchre. So I saw in my dream, that just as Christian came up with the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble, and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulchre, where it fell in, and I saw it no more.

Then was Christian glad and lightsome, and said with a merry heart, “He hath given me rest by his sorrow, and life by his death.” Then he stood still a while, to look and wonder; for it was very surprising to him that the sight of the cross should thus ease him of his burden. He looked, therefore, and looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down his cheeks. Now as he stood looking and weeping, behold, three Shining Ones came to him, and saluted him with, “Peace be to thee.” So the first said to him, “Thy sins be forgiven thee;” the second stripped him of his rags, and clothed him with change of raiment; the third also set a mark on his forehead, and gave him a roll with a seal upon it, which he bid him look on as he ran, and that he should give it in at the celestial gate: so they went their way. Then Christian gave three leaps for joy, and went on singing,

“Thus far did I come laden with my sin,

Nor could aught ease the grief that I was in,

Till I came hither. What a place is this!

Must here be the beginning of my bliss?

Must here the burden fall from off my back?

Must here the strings that bound it to me crack?

Blest cross! blest sepulchre! blest rather be

The Man that there was put to shame for me!”