by Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. . . . Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:10, 13–14)
W e have been considering the particular characteristics of the great life offered us by our Lord. We have seen, first, that it is a heart religion, and, second, that it is a mighty power that takes up the whole person—mind, heart, and will. The whole personality is involved. It is a total change that can only be represented by referring to it as regeneration, a new birth, a new creation.
But we do not stop even there because we must again take this a step further. The text demands this, insists upon it, particularly as we consider it in the light of other and perhaps even more explicit teaching elsewhere in Scripture. In this passage our Lord is presenting a picture of this new life to the Samaritan woman. She does not understand. We have seen from the record how she stumbles and asks her questions. So our Lord puts it very generally to her. The next step, therefore, in this analysis is to see that what he is talking about is more than power. It is a power, as we have been emphasizing, that changes the whole personality; but it is more than that. It is, indeed, a life, and Christians are aware of a new life within them.
But the counter-distinction that I have in my mind is that our Lord is not just talking about some urge toward a new life or a new way of living. We ended our last study by saying that obviously this “well of water” that our Lord gives will lead to a new way of living—that is because it affects the will. The truth perceived moves the heart, and that in turn moves the will. So Christians do practice and live a new and a different kind of life, but what makes them do that is not merely a power that urges, it is not merely a persuasion. There is an element, of course, of moral and spiritual persuasion in it, but it is more than that. And I am trying to establish that we must realize this further truth because, after all, one of the most glorious aspects of the Christian life is that it is not merely a power in the sense of a dynamic force. There are powers, such as machines and so on, that can stimulate us; electrical vibrations can put a kind of energy into us. But this is not like that; it includes that, but it is the result of an actual life within us. We must use the terms that are found in the Scriptures themselves. It is a new life within. And, even more incredible and amazing, it is a divine life.
I have already referred to the book that greatly influenced Whitefield and the Wesleys two hundred years ago, a book by old Henry Scougal, a Scotsman who lived toward the end of the eighteenth century. It was called The Life of God in the Soul of Man. That, he said, was Christianity. And that was what awakened these great men of God to the fact that they had never been Christians. Though they had been brought up in religious homes, they realized that they had never really had this life. They had been living in a certain way, but it had been a religion based upon their activities. But now Henry Scougal convicted them. And the writings of William Law were used much to the same end, although they were not as good and as scriptural as the book by Henry Scougal. However, the truth that was brought home to them was that Christianity is nothing less than the life of God in the souls of men.
Now, of course, there are abundant statements of this truth in Scripture. We see one when our Lord was speaking to Nicodemus, when he says, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). And he goes on, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (v. 6). Christians do not merely have a new outlook and a new disposition—they have new life in them. The new outlook is the result of the fact that they have been “born of the Spirit.”
The apostle Peter, in the first chapter of his second epistle, makes the same point in different language and in very striking terms. In verse 2 he prays that “grace and peace [may] be multiplied” to these Christian believers and continues:
. . . according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature. (vv. 3–4)
That is it—“partakers of the divine nature.” The apostle John in his first epistle makes the same point when he talks about the “seed” that remains in the believer, and not only the seed. He says, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (5:13). And John had just said that this life is in the Son: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (v. 12).
Now these statements all bring home to us this great and staggering teaching that the power that works in us, transforming us entirely in the mighty way we have been considering, is the power of an endless life. It is the power of divine life, so that we are “partakers of the divine nature.” This, of course, is a great mystery. Our Lord said that to Nicodemus: “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). Nicodemus was foolish enough to try to understand it, and many of us have repeated his error, but it cannot be understood. It has often been compared—and I think rightly—to our Lord’s own incarnation. He was “conceived . . . of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 1:20). He derived his human nature from Mary, his mother, but he was born of the Holy Spirit, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born as a man in that way. And, therefore, it is right to say that in a sense this is comparable to what happens to us. It is an operation of the Holy Spirit; we are “born of the Spirit.” There is a new birth and a new being, and we are made “partakers of the divine nature.”
Now the phrase “partakers of the divine nature” eludes our understanding. We must be careful that we do not imagine that this means that we become divine. Let me put it like this: we are told that at the very beginning of creation God created man in his own image and likeness. That is the idea that we must keep in our minds. It does not mean that when man was created, he was created a god. He was not. He was man—perfect man. The meaning of the phrase created in the image of God is that God gave to man certain characteristics of his own divine nature and being. This, of course, differentiates man from the animals. That is what is meant in Scripture by “the image,” and it is that image that has been defaced and partly lost by the Fall. So man has lost these particular characteristics that he had originally that made him like God.
In the rebirth that is what we regain. This, again, is said by the apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Ephesians. He is reminding Gentile people who had been born again and had now become new beings that they must not go on living as they had before and as other Gentiles still were. Why not? This is how he puts it:
Put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and . . . put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (4:22–24)
That is it! This new person is a new creation.
Now in the original creation, the man, Adam, in his perfection was righteous. God gave him an original righteousness, an original holiness; he was free from sin. And what is given to us in the rebirth—and this is the real meaning of the words “partakers of the divine nature”—is not that we become gods, nor that we become divine, but that we receive again this original righteousness, this something that is in God himself and that he puts into us, “righteousness and true holiness” or “holiness of the truth” (Eph. 4:24). And so it is right to say that we are “born of the Spirit.” And, indeed, in his first epistle John goes so far as to say this about our Lord: “as he is, so are we in this world” (4:17). And, of course, implicit in all this is the notion that we become “the children of God” (1 John 3:10; Rom. 8:16).
Now that does not only mean that God takes an interest in us comparable to the interest of a father in his children—it goes beyond that. We are “the children of God” in a deeper sense, and because of that, we are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17). And all that is implicit in the statement that our Lord makes to the woman of Samaria. It is a power, yes, but it is the power of this life, this principle, this divine nature—“partakers of the divine nature.”
How frequently we fail to realize this! Indeed, probably from day to day none of us realizes this as we should. We know that we are changed; there was no difficulty about agreeing with everything I was trying to say when we were considering the change in the mind, the outlook, the orientation in the desires and the affections and the will. But we must go beyond that. And it is, I am persuaded increasingly, because we as Christian people do not realize these profundities concerning ourselves, because we do not realize what we are as Christians, that the church is as she is and her witness is so weak and ineffective. This is the key to true Christian living and to rejoicing in Christ. It is only as we realize these truths that we shall become people whom God can use to his glory and praise.
Too often we are apologetic for our Christianity and are almost ashamed of it in our work or professions. If ever you feel at all ashamed of your Christianity, it is for one reason only—you do not realize this truth. If you were a member of the royal family, you would not try to hide it, and we are told here that we are members of the family of God. This is the great contrast that Paul is so fond of making: “ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19). We are children of God! God is our Father in a sense that he is not the Father of those who are not Christians.
This, then, is what our Lord is saying to the woman of Samaria, and we have been looking at it broadly and generally. But the Scriptures are more specific, and we come here to the fourth characteristic of this life. They actually go on to say—and this is all a part of what it means to have this well of water within us “springing up into everlasting life”—that not only are we partakers of the divine nature, but in addition God dwells within us. That is why Scougal’s title to his book is so good—The Life of God in the Soul of Man. Now this, again, is an exposition of the great, true, mystical teaching of the Scripture. I have referred to false mysticism, but there is a true mysticism, and this is the mysticism that tells us that the Christian is joined to the life of God because of God dwelling in his or her soul.
This is divided up like this. We are told that the Holy Spirit dwells within us. This is made plain in many passages. A famous one, of course, is in this same Gospel of John where our Lord says to the religious public what he says here privately to the woman of Samaria: “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly [out of his innermost parts] shall flow rivers of living water.” Then John explains, “But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:37–39)
Now that is a great statement of this truth. Then later our Lord, giving this final teaching to his disciples, puts it like this: “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter”—our Lord was a Comforter while he was here, and now he is going to give another Comforter—“that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:15–17).
There it is put plainly and clearly that the Spirit dwells within us.
Now when we come to the exposition of that teaching in the epistles, we find the apostle Paul saying this plainly and clearly. Writing to the Romans he says, “So then they that are in the flesh”—they who are not Christians—“cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you” (Rom. 8:8–9). What could be plainer than that? Again in verse 11 he says, “If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
But a still more specific passage is in the First Epistle to the Corinthians. The apostle there is dealing with sins in the flesh—fornication and so on—and this is his argument:
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (6:19–20)
The Holy Spirit dwells in us, in our bodies. Our bodies are temples in which he resides and in which he dwells.
So there it is beyond any doubt or question whatsoever; and James makes exactly the same point: “Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?” (Jas. 4:5). I have already expounded the latter part of that verse, but now I am simply emphasizing the words, “Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, the spirit that dwelleth in us . . .” He does! And, indeed, Galatians 5:17 makes the same point: “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh”—the Holy Spirit who is within us as believers.
So here is this tremendous statement that the Holy Spirit does not merely influence us. He does, but more than that, he dwells within us, he tabernacles within us in our lives. That is why we have the teaching about being careful, therefore, not to grieve him or hurt him or offend him and hinder him or quench him or resist him. “The Holy Spirit dwelleth within you.” The apostle produces that as an argument for us to use in the time of temptation.
But, in exactly the same way, we are told that the Lord Jesus Christ also dwells within us. There is no higher teaching than this, but it is a part of New Testament teaching, and the danger is that in our slick and glib way of reading the Scriptures and hearing a whole chapter in a Bible lecture or something like that, we reduce all these things and regard them merely as phrases. But these are solemn facts; these are truths that are actually put before us. So listen to what our Lord himself is recorded as saying in the fourteenth chapter of this great Gospel. He says, first of all, in verse 19, “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.”
Then we read in 14:23, “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”
There is the statement. Our Lord repeats this toward the end of the high-priestly prayer, where he is talking about the unity that should exist among Christians: “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” (John 17:23).
But this teaching did not end with our Lord himself; the apostles were given enlightenment and understanding. Paul writes to the Ephesians, “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery . . .” (Eph. 3:2–3). Christ has enlightened him; the Spirit works in him. He puts it in his characteristic way again in the eighth chapter of Romans, and it is exactly the same teaching:
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (vv. 9–10).
Notice, “if Christ be in you.” Not only the Spirit but also the Son is in us as the children of God. Again, in writing to the Corinthians, who had been falling into errors and going astray in so many ways, Paul exhorts them to examine themselves: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobate?” (2 Cor. 13:5). He does not say, “Do you not know that as Christians you are those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and know certain things about him and are trying to put his teaching into practice through the Spirit who is having an influence upon you”? No, no! Paul says, “Know ye not your own selves how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobate?” What could be more specific than that? Nothing more specific perhaps, and certainly nothing more moving. And I suppose that in a sense nothing rises higher than Galatians 2:19–20:
I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Now you must not reduce that to an influence. Paul goes beyond that. He says, “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” And we find exactly the same truth in Ephesians 3:17, where the apostle prays, “that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love” and so on. Again, there is a staggering statement in the Epistle to the Colossians, where Paul, again talking about this great privilege that has been given to him, says, “whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil [fill out] the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints [you and me!]: to whom God would make known”—listen!—“what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles.” Notice the language! There is something wrong, Christian people, when we are dull and apathetic, when we are not on our feet rejoicing with our faces shining in this evil world! It is a glory, a rich glory. What is it? “. . . Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:25–27).
Some have tried to reduce those words to mean, “Christ among you.” That is included, but it cannot stop at that; it goes further. “Christ in you, the hope of glory”—the hope of glory rests upon the fact that Christ is in us, that he is dwelling in us. That is the guarantee. We have been born again; we are partakers of the divine nature. The basis of “the hope of glory” is that Christ is in us. What a glorious mystery! It is not surprising that the apostle’s language seems to fail him, and he talks about “the riches of the glory of this mystery.”
And, again, Paul reminds the Colossians:
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear . . . (Col. 3:1–4)
So it is clear that not only does the Holy Spirit dwell within us but also that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, dwells in us. But in the twenty-third verse of the fourteenth chapter of John’s Gospel that I quoted, did you notice how our Lord went even further? One almost hesitates to say such a thing, but here is what Scripture says:
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
And remember Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him . . .”—we can eat and have fellowship with him. Here it is—God himself, God the Father, dwelling within us. And we find the same teaching in Jesus’ high-priestly prayer: “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one” (John 17:23). Our Lord constantly repeats this. He has given them the glory that the Father had given him (John 17:22). He is in us, and since the Father is in him, the Father is in us.
And this is what our Lord is putting in general to the woman of Samaria. He is saying in essence, “You have no idea— ‘If thou knewest the gift of God . . .’” It is because people outside do not know that this is Christianity that they are not interested in it. And it is because we who are inside do not know this as we should that we are as we are and are such poor representatives of this glorious Christian gospel. The life of God in the soul!
Now do not try to understand this—it is the highest teaching. Paul constantly talks about it as a mystery, and it is. The term “mystery” in the New Testament always means something that is beyond the reach and the grasp of human understanding but that is made known. This does not mean it is a mystery to us in an ultimate sense. We have been let into the secret. It means something beyond human understanding, which God in his infinite grace has revealed. But it still is a mystery in the sense that we cannot understand it. We cannot work it out in detail, and we must not try to do so. We just know that it is true, we believe it; and as we believe it, we increasingly enter into the experience of it.
A good deal of this is expressed in our greatest hymns, especially the hymns of the eighteenth century.
A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
My great Redeemer’s throne,
Where only Christ is heard to speak,
Where Jesus reigns alone;
A humble, lowly, contrite heart,
Believing, true, and clean,
Which neither life nor death can part
From him that dwells within.
CHARLES WESLEY (“O FOR A HEART TO PRAISE MY GOD”)
It was this realization, first in Whitefield, then in the two Wesley brothers, that led, as I have mentioned, to the great Evangelical Awakening of the eighteenth century in Britain. The Lord Jesus Christ dwells in the heart. And so we get a prayer offered by Charles Wesley:
Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven, to earth come down,
Fix in us thy humble dwelling,
All thy faithful mercies crown.
I often listen to congregations singing that second line, and I find that they almost forget the comma. They sing it like this: “Love divine, all loves excelling joy of heaven to earth come down.” No, no; it is a request, a plea: “Joy of heaven, to earth come down, fix in us thy humble dwelling.” That is the meaning. And only those who know that he is already there offer that prayer. They are praying for the certainty of it, as Paul is in Ephesians 3. Christ was in the hearts of those Christians in Ephesus, and Paul is praying that they may know it, that they may be able to comprehend it more and more, “with all the saints,” that they may have an active realization that Christ is “dwelling in their hearts by faith.”
That is the burden of the teaching in the third chapter of Ephesians, which ends in that staggering, almost bewildering statement, “that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” The apostle actually uses that language. That is what he is praying for these Ephesians. You find this in a negative way in that well-known hymn of poor William Cowper when he was in one of his periods of depression, with a sense of desertion. He cries out in his agony and says:
Return, O holy dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest;
I hate the sins that made thee mourn
That drove thee from my breast.
This is Christian mysticism; this is the Christian life at its highest—the realization that God dwells within—God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. And our Lord puts that in these words to the woman of Samaria: “The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Of course, the inevitable result of this is the point that I am putting next in order, which is my fifth particular test that we should apply to ourselves, and that is a sense of surprise, a sense of amazement and astonishment. More and more I would say this is the ultimate test. Are we surprised at ourselves? If we are not, I do not think we are Christians. If you can explain yourself, you are not a Christian. Of course, as a religious man or woman you can explain yourself. Your religion is, as I have been pointing out, something you do, something you control, something you handle. Moral people, religious people, always know exactly what they are doing, and there is no mystery in their lives at all. They are in charge; everything they have is less than themselves. But here, by definition, if the life of God is in the soul, it is something surprising, and those who know this are astounded that they should ever be in this position at all. Notice how the apostle Paul constantly says this:
I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet [worthy] to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (1 Cor. 15:9–10)
He cannot get over this; in a sense, he cannot believe this is true of him. We have already read Galatians 2:20: “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Did you notice it again in that third chapter of Ephesians as the apostle explains why he is a preacher? “I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ” (v. 1). He tells them of this great privilege that has been given him: “whereof I was made a minister” (v. 7). He has this mystic secret.
. . . that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given. (vv. 6–8)
Paul cannot get over this. He is astounded at it. Or, again, notice how he puts it in writing to Timothy:
. . . according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. (1 Tim. 1:11–16)
Now, again, this is an expression on the part of the apostle of the fact that he is amazed that this should have happened to him. And what amazes him? It is that Christ is in him and that Christ is using him to his glory and to his praise. John says the same thing in two verses at the beginning of the third chapter of his epistle:
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:1–2)
That fact is staggering; it is amazing. Beloved, realize it, says John, even as he himself realized it and was amazed.
This is the experience of the saints throughout the centuries, and it is put perfectly in that well-known hymn of Charles Wesley:
And can it be, that I should gain
An interest in the Saviour’s blood?
Died he for me, who caused his pain—
For me, who him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Finally, use this test. Men and women of whom Scougal’s words are true, those who have the life of God in the soul, are aware of this difference in themselves, and they are aware that they are different from who they once were, and different from those who do not have this life of God. Now this is not Pharisaism; the Pharisee is proud that he is different because he is such a wonderful man. But that is not the feeling of the Christian. Christians know they have done nothing; the difference is because of what God has done to them. I believe this is the explanation of our Lord’s teaching in the tenth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, where he says, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” This is a staggering statement, and people often do not understand it.
I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. (Matt. 10:34–36)
How do you explain that? The moment you receive this life of God in your soul, you are made different. Though you are still related to people in the flesh, not only do you know that you are different, they, too, know it; they sense it immediately. They do not understand you now. If you merely “take up” something, they can understand and explain it, but this they do not understand. And you cannot expect them to.
That is why when Christian people come to talk to me about the kind of difficulty that often arises when one member of a family alone becomes a Christian, I always exhort them not to be harsh, not to be impatient. These family members cannot help it; they do not understand it; it is impossible. They are like Nicodemus. So I say, be patient; bear with them, and pray for them. You have a new nature, the divine nature, and this inevitably shows itself in your life. “He that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man” (1 Cor. 2:15).
So Peter’s words are perfectly true:
Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.
Then he says, “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you” (1 Pet. 4:1–4).
There it is. Peter says in effect, “Because you are different, your friends and relatives do not understand you. They think it strange that you are not prepared to run with them now in the way you used to, and they speak evil of you. What is happening? Oh, they are just letting you know they realize that you have the life of God in your soul; they see the difference and do not understand you.”
So one of the tests that we apply to ourselves to know whether this well of water is within us springing up into everlasting life is just this: do we know that we are different? Are we amazed at it? And do other people prove it to us by telling us that we are different, perhaps even “speaking evil” of us because we can no longer live the kind of life they still live?
Here are some of the particular tests, then, that we apply to know whether we are “partakers of the divine nature.
From Living Water: Studies in John 4 by Martyn Lloyd-Jones