19 Oct 2000

The Reality of Abiding

Submitted by theshovel
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And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.1 John 2:28

This verse SOUNDS as if it says that YOU are in control of your "abiding" which in turn will determine whether YOU will have confidence or whether YOU will shrink away from Christ at His coming, doesn't it? Hey, I'm not going to pretend that I didn't think it said exactly that, for I saw no other way to look at it until I began to notice some discrepancies. Discrepancies, I say? Yes, for within the statement itself, as well as in the context of the whole letter, and also in view of the book of John there are too many things that just don't add up.

First, take a look at the grammatical structure of the sentence and pay close attention to how the abiding of those who received the letter ("little children") is connected to the confidence of whoever "WE" is. In other words the simple grammar says, "YOU abide so that WE may have confidence". Look at that again. Did you realize that it does NOT say, "YOU abide so that YOU may have confidence"? Now, is it legitimate to treat the "YOU" in the sentence as being the same as - or included in - the "WE" in the sentence? If not, then our traditional assumption has led us to TOTALLY misunderstand this verse!

Listen, John began his letter by saying,

What was from the beginning, what WE have heard, what WE have seen with OUR eyes, what WE beheld and OUR hands handled, concerning the Word of Life - WE have seen and bear witness and proclaim to YOU the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to US - what WE have seen and heard WE proclaim to YOU also, that YOU also may have fellowship with US; and indeed OUR fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ1 John 1:1-3

Guess who the "WE" is? None other than those 12 men Jesus had chosen to be His witnesses. These are the men who had been given the authority to declare the radical message of God's forgiveness and freedom through the finished work of His Son. These are the men of whom Jesus had said,

I do not ask in behalf of THESE alone, but for those also who believe in Me through THEIR wordJohn 17:20

It's not because they were so special ... no, no no! On the contrary, Jesus picked the most unlikely rag-tag band of men he could gather together so that NOBODY would EVER think that the life they preached had originated in them. But wouldn't you know it, we got around that and turned them into icons!

If you will read all the way through this letter and consider how the original recipients would have automatically distinguished the "yous" from the "we-s" and the "theys" from the "us'" and the "I-s" from the "yous", etc you might be amazed how that pattern continues all the way through the whole letter (By the way, I want you to know that this has EVERYTHING to do with understanding 1 John 2:28).

I'm not suggesting that the stuff written about the "WE" is not applicable to the "YOU" (or to the rest of us today), but, instead, that it IS 100% applicable since everything given to the apostles was ALSO given to those who have believed THEIR word.


Did you catch that? You see, these DECEIVERS that John referred to were the ones who "walked in the darkness". Be aware that this designation would NOT have been considered negative by these men, as we might assume, for, instead, it may have been one of their OWN descriptions. How so? They viewed spirituality as a venture into the unknown in their search for "secret knowledge". More secret knowledge = more spiritual = higher level = closer to God, etc, etc. Their search for the "true God" was centered around secret rituals which would have been practiced most likely at night. So, what's my point? Simply that the student-teacher relationship between these self-proclaimed "authorities" of God and their pupils was that of superior vs. inferior. In other words, those who received the words of these teachers were not brought into the same level of "spirituality" that was supposedly given to the teachers.

Look closer at the contrast:

  • The "fellowship" of the apostles: "you have received everything we received through Christ, which is the very life of the God who dwells in the light, and you know him just as we know him!"
  • The "fellowship" of the deceivers: "You do not yet have what we have since you must seek out the secret knowledge of God from us in the darkness of the unknown so that you can come to know him as we know him!"

Now, take another look at the word "abide" in 1 John 2:28. It is used in a sense that implies the "imperative" (a command) as in, "YOU, do this.", doesn't it? Now, I find this rather interesting since the exact same Greek word in the previous verse (27) was translated NOT as an imperative, but instead as being a reality. "the anointing ... has taught you, you abide in Him." The thing that caused me to look this up in the first place was a marginal note in my NASB suggesting an alternate rendering of "abide in Him" instead of the one they used, "you abide in Him".

The difference? One says that we SHOULD abide in Him, while the other says that we DO! The KJV translates it, "the anointing hath taught you, ye shall abide in him". The KJV translators not only saw that "abiding" was a reality that God has taught us, but that this reality CONTINUES. But somehow, six Greek words later, the EXACT SAME word is translated as an imperative. Why? Does the Greek demand it? Obviously not. Here's what I'm asking: Does the Spirit of God teach us that we DO abide in Christ and then tell us that it is up to us whether or not we REALLY do?

Could it actually be saying, "Now little children, you (DO) abide in Him, so that when He appears, we (the true preachers of God) may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming."? But what sense does that make? As a verse, BY ITSELF, it wouldn't make any sense. But it doesn't stand by itself, does it ... except, of course, in the way we have learned to use it and quote it to support our fears? If it wasn't for our long history of having this misconception crammed down our throats this would stick out like a toothache (one of my current maladies which cannot be mistaken or ignored).

Listen to the flow of this in John's letter to these people.

There are deceivers among you. They try to convince you that you do NOT know the truth. They tell you that you do NOT know God. But I am writing to you because you DO know the truth. I am writing to you because you DO know the Father - just as we know the truth and know the father. You know Him because He has poured out His Spirit on you and has put Him IN you. What they tell you is a lie ... and you KNOW that. You know that because you have heard them deny the reality of Jesus Christ, for they deny that this man is THE ONE who has been born of God and is THE ONE in whom is the life of God. I tell you this because they are trying to mislead you. But you have been taught by the Spirit of God IN YOU, and you don't need any man to lead you into the knowledge of God, for He leads you into all truth. And what He has taught you is that you DO abide in Him just as we abide in him. And OUR confidence is found in the fact that YOU abide in Him. For if YOU are in union with Him then WE are in union with Him; if YOU are In Christ, all are EQUAL. No one has a secret claim on God or upon His knowledge. There are no levels of spirituality. I cannot lead you into this truth, I merely proclaim it ... I simply witness of Him. If you are in Him then you have as much of Him as I do. If even "the least of these My brothers" have not received ALL spiritual blessings in Christ, then NONE OF US HAVE.

Do you see the confidence John shared with his "little children"? God has given me the right to declare to you that you have and that you have been brought into the fellowship of the father and the son. Totally. Whether you feel it or not. That's GOOD news for you who think you got the short end of the stick, isn't it? That's GOOD news for you who are disappointed with what you see in the mirror, wouldn't you say? That's GOOD news for you who have been told that God has put you on the shelf ... yes? For these reasons and more ... it is GOOD news to ME, too!!

Until next time .....
scoopfully yours,
the shovel (aka "Jim")

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These comments were all transferred over from the original website

Posted: October 20, 2000 by Jack

Good one Jim, it will take me a little time to assimilate it, but I get what you are saying. By the way, will there be any FIRETALKIN' goin on tonite? I will be there if I get home from work on time, and I will be with Dorothy and her little dog too!! Jack

~~~~~|||||) Hello Jack, Yes, I will be on Firetalk for a little while tonight. I'm still on the "get up at 3 am" schedule this week and also next because of inventory prep. I don't have to get up till 5 am tomorrow so as long as I don't get in bed past 10 pm I'll be okay. Jim (|||||~~~~~

Posted: October 20, 2000 by Natalie

You truly are amazing! The shoveletter always makes such perfect sense...like the holy spirit is breathing a sigh of relief....YES...that IS what it means. I hope I wasn't being blasphemous in that last statement. :) love, Natalie

~~~~~|||||) My wonderful Natalie! Thanks for responding.

"Whoever speaks, let him speak as it were, the very utterances of God" (1 Peter 4:11).

I used to be afraid of crossing that line into blasphemy. But depending upon the religion that defined "blasphemy" I had already been labeled such many, many times. It turns out that I was only concerned about not crossing the line that had been defined by my own group. The more I looked at what the Bible had to say about it I discovered that MOST of the accusations of "Blasphemy!" had been spoken against Jesus and the apostles.

It is RELIGION that has made a doctrine called the "inspiration of the Scriptures" so that it can use it to validate it's own authority, for what it really means is that how "WE" interpret it is from God. That's why this supposedly God-honoring doctrine has established such division and hatred among those who claim to hold it. Ironic, huh? Yeah, religious groups will tell you that the Bible is inspired by God, but if the truth of the Bible is presented and it disagrees with their doctrinal statement then, somehow, it is NOT inspired. Go figure. The doctrine actually gives MAN the authority. The doctrine also denies the real working of the Spirit in those who are of Christ.

Wow. That put a whole new light on it for me. Actually, most of the accusations we have heard have come from religious leaders down through the centuries. I take it as an honor to be called "blasphemous" by the religious wisdom of the world ... JUST LIKE MY BIG BROTHER, JESUS. :)

Love, Jim (|||||~~~~~

Posted: October 20, 2000 by Neil

Speaking of "getting it"...That last you sent, "And that goes for your little dog, too!" blew me away. I mean, I was nearly doing cartwheels when I read that! I knew that I John 1:9 was totally misunderstood and therefore misused by the church as a whole, but I was staying away from the entire book, wishing it wasn't there at all, making me have to confront people with something that I wasn't totally understanding. Then your rendition opened my eyes and I saw the entire book--this letter--as it actually is in its totality. When I read the part about John seeing Christ in those "little children" as being a proof of Christ IN HIM, I was astounded! How had I not seen that before? Well, of course: I was told it meant something else, just like I had been told 1:9 meant something else. One thing is for sure: Not only had I never heard anything like that from any preacher or any pulpit, I likely never will--not unless there is a change on the level of a supernova in the church.

Keep it up!

Posted: October 20, 2000 by Sherri

I find it another sad thing that we have made the Reality of ‘deception' and ‘deceivers' an ‘issue' not very often addressed in our Christianity. It has become a very big awareness for me in my Life these past few years. Being able to identify what is true in Christ and what is not, makes the difference in my day to day thinking and functioning. It has become a very free-ing revelation! :) It is yet another part of Christianity that is misrepresented and watered down and saturated in 'deception' itself! We are not often taught just who is who in Reality, and later in our Life we find that we ourselves were functioning in and alike and in the midst of the ‘camp' of the deceivers, perpetuating to ourselves and each other the very deception we were deceived under. Duh! I guess that is exactly the nature of deception ... to not know you are deceived in the midst of it. (chuckle) It seems to be far too underestimated in our thinking and therefore affects our function. Christ was treated as the enemy in this world, which makes us the very enemies of this world (fellowship of His sufferings) as well, (guilty by association) and are constantly under attack as the very unwanted and unwelcomed aliens that we are. It is all part and parcel with our New Identity in Him. He even warned ahead of time for us to not be surprised by this. (funny how we are surprised by this and often times disappointed and shocked by this more often than not. After all, we often convince ourselves, we are so ‘special' and ‘wonderful' .... shouldn't the world just really love and appreciate us!?) If our enemies can not 'get rid' of us in this present world, then they can have a blast constantly deceiving us by convincing us that we are something and someone we are not, but more like something and someone the deceivers are. You know, the ‘sheep in wolves clothing syndrome'? Thus, the major identity crisis we suffer while on this temporary journey. :( It affects how we think and function every day. This 'faulty viewing' of ourselves and each other is the very thing that the apostle Paul was constantly identifying amongst the Believers in his day. Things have not changed much have they, as far as deception goes. It is always the same ... just a 'new and improved' version, which we already know is not 'new' ... just the same ol' stinkin' thang constantly trying to disguise itself as 'Truth'... the same old lie. Darkness trying to convince us it has Light ... death trying to convince us it has Life ... stinch trying to convince us it smells Good ... blindness claiming Sight, etc. Thank you soooo much for continuously identifying deception and its very nature, therefore sharpening us together as we view the Truth of Christ in us together and toward one another. I praise GOD for any and every moment of clarity allowed and worked out in me to see Him and to view each other as He miraculously removes the never ending blinders and tears down the never ending walls that we construct and separate us in our minds to what and Whom our Reality Truly is in Him and in each other. Well ... I am 'wordy' again. (giggle) More love, Sherri Minker

Posted: October 20, 2000 by J. Oettgen

Hi, I'm sorry - I'm kind of slow reading my e-mails and today is the first opportunity I had to read this one. I'm a bit confused - are you doing a word study and disputing the meaning of a word? Just curious - do you read an Amplified Bible at all? It is worded differently here - and I'm thankful that you have drawn my attention to these verses, because I have, of late been feeling kind of disconnected, without guidance or feedback - kind of "out there" , if you know what I mean. But.... the Amplified Bible words those two verses this way: 1 John 2:27" But as for you, (the sacred appointment, the unction) the anointing which your received from Him, abides (permanently) in you; [so] then you have no need that any one should instruct you. But just as His anointing teaches you concerning everything, and is true, and is no falsehood, so you must abide - live, never to depart [rooted in Him, knit to Him] just as [His anointing] has taught you [to do]. v.28 And now, little children, abide (live, remain permanently) in Him, so that when He is made visible, we may have and enjoy perfect confidence (boldness, assurance) and not be ashamed and shrink from Him at His coming." Just as when Christ Himself says - if ye abide in Me, you will bear much fruit......we have a choice in the department of where we abide. (not where He abides - He'll stay with us even when we're not staying with Him.) I'm sorry if this doesn't make much sense - just a thought. (from October 19th shoveletter) J. Oettgen

My response

I found this to be fantastically helpful[jim]! I also thought Sherri’s post was of great help to me personally as well, thanks sis. Love, Adam

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Random Shovelquote: Isolating Words of Jesus (view all shovelquotes)

The habit of isolating Jesus' words and stories from one another is the main reason our twisted versions seem plausible in the first place. source