When I approach the Bible, I am generally looking for God’s expectations. Metrics and measures are the way our hospitals are accredited, and educational programs are vetted. When I take stock of my life infusing my concerns are questions like what does God want? Or, what are his expectations? With those questions as probes I go off to the Bible, and like a boy digging for quarters in a big pile of sawdust, I hunt the “do-this-and-you-will-get-that” nuggets.
Well, John’s words in the next passage can source spiritual metrics, but he does not seem to craft his words this way. John seems more inclined to say, “Hey, look what happened in my life.” He appears to intend that others would perk up their spiritual ears and follow. Now let us perk up our ears and aim in them in God’s Bible direction.
Verse 13 – The Apostle’s experience
John is writing of the Acts 2 experience: Pentecost.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. (1 John 4:13–ESV)
When Jesus stood for the last time on earth with his disciples, he told them to wait in Jerusalem. He did not explain what would happen but told them to be ready for something. That was in Acts chapter 1. In chapter 2 that something, that Spirit, arrived and changed everything. The student of Gospels of Jesus Christ and the Acts of the Apostles cannot help but notice the radical alteration in the character of these men. When they were disciples they bumbled, but after Pentecost, they thrived: boldly.
The Bible student may notice this, but those Apostles experienced this. It was not subtle; strength entered into them that directed, led, evoked a newness that surprised not only the Jews but the Apostles themselves. That is the subject matter of the second half of 1 John 4:13. The apostles abided in Christ and Christ abided in them. “If I go I will send another counselor to you,” Jesus said. Look for paraphrase in the early part of John chapter 16.
Well, that counselor came and did all that Jesus said he would.