Since believers act according to how they see themselves, I had written this letter to pull their minds out of the trap of sin-consciousness. And for those who sinned, we spoke to them of the one who had spoken for US to the Father: Jesus Christ, the righteous. For He successfully took OUR place to deliver us from our sins. But we weren't given exclusive rights, we didn't have more of God than the others who believed through our word.
Here's how WE knew that we had come to know God: a miracle had happened, and the life of God was being worked out through us. Those who make CLAIMS of knowing God but don't have the REALITY of God are liars. There is no truth in them no matter how good they make it sound. How someone rates himself is immaterial; but the one who rates the Word as his worthiness has been made perfect in the love of God. For this is the reality of Jesus: the life of God lives in man. The one who SAYS he is in God is not really in God unless the reality of God is in him.
My letter was not a new thing from God, it was the same word spoken to us many years before which was the same word we had spoken to them. But the thing that made Jesus' word new is the FULFILLMENT of it. Never had the word been fulfilled in a man, but Jesus WAS the word made flesh - and we were witnesses of that miracle. So, this thing IS new because it happened in us, and now it is happening in you. For the light is really here and has been driving out the darkness.
Now, if you hear anyone claiming to be in the light, but the real thing in him is HATE for his brother, the claim is a false one. He is not in the light at all. Are you totally unaware of these blind men parading around as if they have true insight into God? Forget the claims and the arguments over doctrines and religious viewpoints, the one who is in the light has been made new and the new person that he is loves his brother. Don't you get it? Being in the light has changed everything. For it has removed the reason you stumbled. You, along with us, were brought out of the darkness and NOW we see. The brother-hater is still in the darkness and walks as one who doesn't know where he is going. This is because he CANNOT see. He trips and stumbles and is clueless as to why. If you listen, you will hear the blind reveal their blindness; for their words revolve around their intense desire to make themselves appear as if they are better than you.
- I wrote to the weak to remind them that their sins were forgiven because of HIM.
- I wrote to the mature who forgot that they DID know the One who was from the beginning.
- I wrote to the strong to remind them of their true strength, for Christ overcame the evil one.
- Weak ones, you KNOW the Father, ignore those who would convince you otherwise.
- Mature ones, you KNOW the One who is from the beginning.
- Strong ones, DO NOT FEAR the evil one. For the true Word is your strength.
Have no desire for the empty shell of humanity once made in the image of God, for the thing designed to reveal God in this world constantly seeks to fill the Spirit-void with something else. Its desires are merely futile attempts to find fulfillment - don't be infatuated with them. Your connection with this empty shell has been severed; the void in you has been filled with the Spirit. But those old perceptions continually call to you as if you still belong to it. Those who are filled with the love of this world do not have the love of the Father in them. And here, in a nutshell, is what the world desires to fill its emptiness:
- the endless, unfulfilled craving to gratify the senses,
- the endless, unfulfilled craving to achieve empty dreams and false perceptions,
- vain boasting of the perceived (but empty) achievements of life
There is nothing more to it, and it is NOT from the Father, and it is passing from the scene. But YOU who have been made NEW by passing from this world into the reality of the light are the ones who have the desires of God - and you will remain forever.
You're still in the grand finale of the age. Don't pass it off because it has taken so long. This is the predicted time of the Christ-hating spirit. It was proved to me when I witnessed the infiltration of deceivers among our own ranks. We weren't psychics or mind-readers, we had been fooled too many times. But we came to understand that they would eventually show themselves to be not of us. We had no special program, but it was our insistence of holding to the light of God that smoked them out. Those who rejected us rejected CHRIST, for that is who we held to.
I tell you as I told the believers then: your validation comes from the One who is not of this world. God Himself has declared you to be His own through the Spirit He has put in you. I didn't write to them because they DIDN'T have this. But someone had tricked them into thinking their relation to God was inferior. That was a LIE. I wrote to them because they DID know the truth through the same Spirit who indwelt US, and also to tell them that NO lie is of the truth no matter how convincing it appeared.
Okay then, who is this liar that I have been referring to? It is the one who denies that the word-made-flesh, Jesus, is THE ONE chosen by God to save humanity from its curse of emptiness. THIS is the spirit against Christ, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Don't be deceived, it is only an illusion that one can have God without the Son. Those who deny the Son ALSO deny the Father. Those who agree with God concerning His Son ALSO have the Father.
Remember what I tell you about those who are NOT of the truth. But as far as YOU are concerned your spirituality cannot be measured by their criteria. Instead, hold to the message of HIM who was from the beginning - it's Velcro effect will validate you. When it sticks to you - and you stick to it - you know one was made for the other. Those who are not of God CANNOT abide with the truth of Christ, and the reality of the message has no place to hold to. The discovery that it won't go away assures you that HE won't go away. This is the promise that He made to us during His time on the earth: ETERNAL LIFE.
Like I mentioned to you already, we had been caught off-guard that there could have been a traitor among us. Are you as naive as we were? I'm not asking you to go on a witch-hunt, only that you be aware that deceivers always slip in when they detect a confidence they don't understand. Your confidence undermines their dilemma of not really knowing who or what they are. It is easier for them if you to live by the same fears they do. Here is the truth about YOU: the validation of God is not merely a concept, but it is something real that remains in you and no man, by his techniques or greater knowledge, can add to what God has already done in you. Instead, what God filled you with is the very thing that teaches you about all things. This is in contrast to the measuring stick of the world; for it is true and it is not a false perception. God's authentication, which is the power of the message of Christ, has been telling you something every time it calls to you: He is still in you, and you are still in Him.
There is another distinction between us (who were sent by God with this news) and those who have come in with their own program. THEIR position has nothing to do with that of THEIR followers. They actually gain higher status among them by how much closer they are. But WE are no different or better or have any higher standing than those who have believed in God through us. If YOU received it from US and it doesn't stay in you - it doesn't stay in us either. For what is true in you is true in us. YOUR remaining in Christ is OUR confidence as well. It will be shown at His appearing that we are not the same as those lying deceivers who are in the darkness and shrink away from Him in shame when the Light shines on them. Let me ask you, would those who are giving you their programs stake their standing before God on how well you continually perform it? How could they? THEIR standings are based on THEIR performance. OUR remaining in Him is based on the fact that HE put us in union with God by what HE did.
I speak to those who KNOW. And you know HE is righteous, don't you? That knowledge is in you because of what HE put in you. Pay attention to the validation of God because it also tells you this: those who truly do right are born of the righteous one.