Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Casual Walk Through 1 John

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A Casual Walk Through 1 John

My words are written in brown color

1 John

The Incarnation of the Word of Life

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our[a] joy complete.
-The “life” mentioned in verse 2 is Christ. So they are proclaiming the message Christ preached when He lived as a human. He set the example for us all on earth, for as it says in the Lord’s prayer—Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Christ fulfilled this perfectly by being powerless as a human, yet like God anyway since He had perfect faith in the Father. By this perfect faith He was able to accomplish miracles anyway, and the Bible says we can too if we believe without doubting. Peter walked on water after all, but when he looked down and saw the crashing washes he became afraid and began to sink into the water. That is an excellent example of how we should strive to be. If the greatest man of faith on earth today cannot perform a single miracle in Christ’s name, how diluted our faith must be for this generation of believers! After Christ died, hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands of new believers were performing miracles, yet we cannot.

-Christ and the Father are one. The Father sent a part of Himself to die so that He could satisfy His need to judge us for our sins but without ever harming us. So instead He harmed Himself. Such love! This is one of the most monumental messages in the Bible.

Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin.

-In verse 5, it mentions walking in darkness. Sadly, many people are like walk in darkness and think they are in the light. They claim to be good people but are clearly not. Their words and actions do not align. These people who walk in the light often have something they do that is sinful but won’t give it over to God. Obviously a person like this is self-deceived. For example, those who condemn homosexuals for perversion yet they have premarital sex. God does not see a difference even though we might be offended by one sin but not another. This falls in line with those people who believe they are repentant yet continue the same sins without regret or change or betterment. Some of us have thorns in our sides like Paul did, yet it is the struggle against sin which defines our walk with Christ. Hating sin is important, even if we cannot conquer it until we die in Christ’s name.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

-To re-emphasize this in other words from the Bible, Romans 3:22-23 says, “22 This righteousness is given through faith in[a] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

-This means that all are sinners and are in need of Salvation through Jesus Christ. No other gods or good deeds can save a person. If a person were to sin only once in their whole life yet never believe in Christ, that person would still fall short of God’s glory and be condemned for their one sin. Obviously, this simply means that we must seek salvation only through Christ. We’ve all sinned way more than once!

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

-The above simply means that when we become saved we repent naturally and our sins often stop or at least slow down. For some this is immediate, and others it is a constant, gradual struggle, and then there’s a mix of immediate repentance and struggle. The genuine Christian loves God and it shows through their *actions.*

Love and Hatred for Fellow Believers

We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God[c] is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

-This again re-emphasizes all those people who claim to love Christ and claim to be a follower of God yet do not follow the paths of change. This is also reflected in Luke 6:4545 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

-This is also reflected in Luke 6:46-49 46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.

-In verse 7, John is simply saying that nothing has really changed with the Old and New Covenants from the Jews to the Christians. The rules, the laws, the love and the obedience are all the same. The big difference is how Christ became our sole sacrifice for our sins and entered human history without power to die for us after His ministry was complete. The Jews had to make animal sacrifices because Christ had not yet come to cleanse them all of their sins.

-People were confused about what they should do as Christians as well. Keep in mind, this was written nearly 2000 years ago, so all these Christians were actually converted Jews and Gentiles (mostly Greeks and Romans at first). The Greeks had previously lived very immoral lifestyles, and the Jews had always abided by the Jewish laws but often had hearts that did not reflect their actions like the Pharisees because they lacked that intimate relationship with God, so each of them had quite a bit of confusion when they started to know Christ and wanted to more outwardly express their newfound relationship to Him. They were confused with what they should do to please God, since their previous rituals involved rules, sacrifices, and many strict practices. When Christ came a lot of that suddenly ended for many of them. This is why John says not much has really changed except some details.

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister[d] is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister[e] lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.

-Verse 9 simply means that those people who say they love Christ have tender hearts full of God’s love. A man who is capable of sustained hate and wrath is clearly sinning and may even be unsaved because it is such a hypocritical emotion. If we were allowed to feel justified for our hate then we’d all hate each other justly. This is because we all constantly sin against God and each other, so naturally hate would have a natural place in our lives if it were justifiable. Instead, John ends this tradition of hate begetting hate by simply saying that a Christian does not hate but rather loves as Christ loved all of us when we should have been destroyed! Any man who loves Christ recognizes how he should be humbled to be saved by Christ at all…so there is no room for such pettiness.

Reasons for Writing

12 I am writing to you, dear children,
    because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. –(Jesus)
13 I am writing to you, fathers,
    because you know him who is from the beginning. –(Jesus created the earth)
I am writing to you, young men,
    because you have overcome the evil one. –(Satan)

14 I write to you, dear children,
    because you know the Father. –(Yahweh, this is Jesus’ father and is who the Jews worship solely because they think Christ has not yet come)
I write to you, fathers,
    because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
    because you are strong,
    and the word of God lives in you,
    and you have overcome the evil one.

On Not Loving the World

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[f] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

-In verse 15, this is what I was talking to you about over the phone about pursuing empty materialism and empty lives of things and comforts that add up to nothing when we die. John emphasizes this very strongly. He says that any man who wants to live cannot be a Christian because as a follower of Christ we concern ourselves only with Christ’s kingdom and saving others from condemnation by spreading the gospel of God’s grace which is Jesus. In fact, this is exactly what I am doing right now.

Warnings Against Denying the Son

18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

-In verses 18-19 John is describing those men and women who came to know salvation but decided to turn back to their sins, effectively rejecting Christ even after discovering that they would be doomed without Him. John then brings up the antichrist (Satan) who will come very soon as a false god to deceive the entire world and lead people away from Christ just before Christ comes back to the earth in the Second Coming to establish His reign upon the earth as God.

20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.[g] 21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

-In verse 20, the Holy One is the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity (Father, Son and Spirit).

- John makes it clear that anyone who denies Christ is actually a servant of the devil. These are powerful words which show how the world is currently ruled by Satan because of our sin. It is because of demonic spirits that obey Satan that so many people are led astray from God like your boyfriend has been. In the Bible, there are two forces: Good and Evil. If a man is not good, then he is obviously evil. This is how God sees the world, as hot and cold, good and evil, right and wrong—there is no middle ground. A man either loves God or he loves himself. Any man who loves himself cannot love God, and without the love of God in their hearts they are doomed to sin forever never knowing God and never knowing salvation.

24 As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life.

-Anyone who believes that Jesus is the Son of God is saved and is ready to lead a righteous life. It’s not about rules either. It’s only about love. When a person learns that he can actually love God this person’s world is forever changed. A realization takes place that nothing matters but God. Never again will that man be alone or lonely for he has God in his heart.

26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

-In verse 26, there were preachers going around re-writing the gospels to their liking, thereby confusing people and leading them astray. So John wrote this epistle to defend the integrity of the Word of God, and bring those people back.

God’s Children and Sin

28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.

29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.

-This is another point of (re)emphasis for how people who say they love God actually show it. Words mean little without action.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[h] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

-As Christians we are taken out of the world even though we still live in it. For instance, the world does not know God so it looks at Christians like they are weird or mentally ill or even wrong. Yet the way Christians live testify that Jesus is the Son of God. When a man becomes a lover of God he also becomes righteous, and it shows in his actions. This does not happen in other religions because without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit a man can never be freed from sin to become righteous. This is also reflected in Luke 6:43-45 43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

-Satan was the one who tempted Adam and Eve at the beginning of Creation to eat the forbidden fruit off the Tree of Knowledge. The two of them learned of good and evil as a result, and thus became separated from God due to their sin. Remember that sin is simply any form of disobedience to God. One sin is not actually worse than another so to speak. As an example, if an angel in heaven said “shit” and another angel murdered someone, both angels would be guilty of sin and would need to be put to death since the heavenly Father cannot tolerate any sin. On earth, things are different because we are mortal and some things seem worse than others due to our limited understanding.

More on Love and Hatred

11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters,[i] if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.

-In Genesis of the Old Testament, Cain murdered Abel because his brother obeyed God and was blessed but Cain disobeyed God and was punished. In his jealously of Abel’s blessing, he murdered Abel, his own brother.

-This is another reason why hate is so evil: It can so easily get out of control and lead to horrible actions. If hate can bring brothers to murder another, imagine how destructive it can be if a person let hate fester in their hearts. Just as God forgave us our sins we must also forgive others unconditionally and without limit.

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

-The core of Jesus’ ministry was about putting into action all those fluffy words people like to say. All the time people say they want to help or be useful or be giving and generous, yet how many actually are? What good are those words when they never act on them!! Jesus was God yet He took on human form to come to earth to show us how we should act and how we should feel. He led by example, unlike the pagan gods and Muhammad from the Islamic religion. Allah and Muhammad are hypocrites. The Greek gods are merely powerful humans. The Norse gods are as violent and disturbing as people are. In the end, all religions fall short of our worship, but Christ’s words live on as a testament to Truth. His actions and His words fully satisfy any heart seeking real Truth and not a lie to ease our conscious.

19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

-Your heart reached out to this article because you seek truth and purpose. This is one way a person can know they are honestly seeking Christ, and it’s my dearest hope you will put into practice the Love of God. Seeking God requires practice as well.

On Denying the Incarnation

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

-If a man says he has the truth of God or that his religion is correct, yet denies Jesus, then he is a liar. No demon will admit that Christ is God.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[j] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

-The world simply means all the people who are unsaved and do not know Christ. From their viewpoint we are stupid.

God’s Love and Ours

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

-Love, love, love! You will never see this in pure form in the Qur’an or anywhere else. You cannot mix messages of love and violence or hate. Other religions mix hate and destruction with false notions of love and compassion. Christianity is the only one on earth where love is pure. You may think to yourself about hell, but nowhere does it ever say that God sends people to hell. When humans *choose* to live without Christ they choose hell, and God simply tells them to leave heaven, yet there is only heaven and hell. If a man is not in heaven, then he is in hell. And whenever love is mentioned in the Qur’an it is almost always followed by murder or condemnation of other people who do not believe, yet Christ came loving sinners and by example, He showed us exactly how to live our lives and wanted to give the whole world purpose. There was no force, to violence. Christ changed the entire world with love. He did not kill or conquer or reign as king or impose a single rule. There is pure freedom, but all choices have consequences. There is no lukewarm, Revelation 3:15-1615 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” So you either serve Christ or Satan! So from now on think of Satan as your tendency to be selfish instead of as a demon since Satan causes us to live against Christ’s chosen path for us, and so you can also think of Christ as a holy lifestyle too. So just as Christ denied Himself for us, whenever you worship Christ you too will deny yourself and thereby oppose Satan and selfishness just by loving Christ. But whenever you are selfish and sinful you are worshipping Satan. Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” This is what it also means—In Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other…”

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

-Believing in Christ sets the stage for learning to love and follow God in a fruitful relationship where God will lead you to your purpose in life.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

-Fear is when we try to hide something from god. Anyone who fears God is probably instinctively afraid of something being discovered.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

Faith in the Incarnate Son of God

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the[k] Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

-“Life” here is both a life of fulfillment on earth as well as life in heaven. A man without Christ cannot have either.

Concluding Affirmations

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.

18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. 19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.