1 John 1-2 Fellowship with God and Man
TMS 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 Reaping What You Sow
he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
7 So let each one give
as he purposes in his heart,
not grudgingly or of necessity;
for God loves a cheerful giver.
8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
Observations: 9:6-7 God doesn't need our money, but we need to give. God actually provides us with the means of giving, and we are just being stewards of His stuff when we give. So we want to determine what He wants us to do with His stuff. God wants us to give of our own free will (as He wants us to live all our lives), choosing to do what pleases Him, and benefits us. So we should determine God's will for our giving, and then give, knowing we will benefit in return. We can't out-give God, and He is totally just in recompensing those who honor Him. See the context in 2 Corinthians 9 for a better understanding of giving, and the series of being faithful with God's treasure at the end of the TOYL book on Truthbase.net.
Application: Know that God gives you what you need, and will give you back more than you give or willingly “sacrifice.” (see Malachi 3:10 comments).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thanks that You have so graciously given of Yourself in providing my salvation in Christ, and in meeting all my needs; may I mirror Your grace and generosity in my giving. Amen.
1 John 1-2 The first epistle of John is considered the most difficult to outline in the New Testament, but it is fairly easy to understand and apply the individual verses without a thorough knowledge of the literary structure (like Proverbs). One commentator declared that the book made as much sense reading each sentence beginning at the last verse of chapter 5, as it did beginning in 1:1. However, there are discernible blocks of text (lots of structure in triads, etc,) and a logic flow, but the argument isn't as smooth due to our insufficient understanding, not John's writing. The apostle John writes to born-again believers so they may have fellowship with God and each other, and continue to abide in Christ (John 15) so they can reap the abundant life God offers. The epistle addresses a number of errors and false teaching that could keep believers from being blessed. Just like in the end of his gospel, John reveals his purpose in writing at the end.
1 John 5:11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
1 John 1 Fellowship with God and Man
that which we have heard,
that which we have seen with our eyes,
that which we saw,
and our hands touched,
concerning the Word of life
2 and the life was revealed,
and we have seen,
and bear witness,
and declare to you
that eternal life,
which was with the Father,
and was revealed to us;
3 that which we have seen and heard
we declare to you,
that you also may have fellowship with us.
Yes, and our fellowship is with the Father,
and with His Son, Jesus Christ.
4 And we write these things to you, that our joy may be fulfilled.
5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and announce to you,
that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him
and walk in the darkness,
we lie, and don’t tell the truth.
7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son,
cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin,
we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins,
He is faithful
to forgive us the sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we haven’t sinned,
we make Him a liar,
and His word is not in us.
Observations: 1:1-4 John opens the epistle with words very similar to the prologue of his gospel: “in the beginning,” “the word”, and “life.” He testifies to Jesus (the word of life) so that the born-again readers may have fellowship/participation with the apostles in the life of God, so that their mutual joy might be full (because his children walk in the truth - 3 John 1:4). It might be worth making sure you understand what fellowship is: its root is “to have in common” and by extension “to share” or “participate in.” We share or participate in the life of Christ, both as the animating force of our spiritual existence, and the rule or practice of our lives. If Christ is not living in and through us, we won't have Biblical fellowship with each other. Unity is achieved, not by compromise, but by all parties moving to the truth.
1:5-7 Since God is light (another concept from John's prologue), and in Him is no darkness, then those who share His life (fellowship) can't walk in darkness, but must walk in the light (not live in sin). This general principle is stated in verse 5, and then elaborated in verses 6-10. Those who say they have fellowship with God, yet are sinning, are liars. But those who walk in the light, not only do have fellowship with God, but also have fellowship (as shared life) with other believers. This is not about sinless perfection, but about being forgiven through the sacrifice of Christ so that one can be cleansed from sin (see comments on Heb 9:14, where the blood of Christ cleanses our conscience from dead works so we can serve the living God).
1:8-10 Those who say they have no sin are deceived (psychologists say we're blind to most of our faults), and the truth is not in them. However, the corrective to sin, the Christian bar of soap, is to “name it and claim it.” Name the sin, and claim forgiveness. “Confess” means to “say the same thing” as God does about our behavior, that it is wrong, and leads to death. Acknowledging what is wrong is tantamount to forsaking it, for why would someone want to continue in what is wrong and deadly? Confession opens the door to cleansing. If we confess, God is faithful and just. The structure is chiastic, with God's justice being the basis of our forgiveness (Christ paid the penalty so we don't have to -Rom 3:23-26), and His faithfulness to His promises is the basis of our cleansing (1:7), so we can walk in the light of His truth. This is not justification, but the sanctification or holiness necessary for living in unity with a holy God (see comments on Mt 6:15).
Verse 10 essentially restates verse 8, forming an inclusio; those who would deny their sin are not only liars, but make God a liar as well. Such folks don't have the light of the truth in them, and are not in fellowship with God.
Application: God wants us to walk in the light so we can share His life; if we find ourselves slipping into the dark, use 1 John 1:9 to get back into the light.
Prayer: God, I praise You for wanting to share Your life with me; may I walk in the light and enjoy fellowship with You and my fellow forgiven believers. Amen.
1 John 2 Confidence at His Appearing
If anyone sins, we have a Counselor with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.
2 And He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,
and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.
3 This is how we know that we know Him:
if we keep His commandments.
4 One who says, "I know Him,"
and doesn’t keep His commandments,
is a liar,
and the truth isn’t in him.
5 But whoever keeps His word,
the love of God has most certainly been perfected in him.
This is how we know that we are in Him:
6 he who says he abides in Him
ought himself also to walk just like He walked.
7 Brothers, I write no new commandment to you,
but an old commandment
which you had from the beginning.
The old commandment is the word which you heard
from the beginning.
8 Again, I write a new commandment to you,
which is true in Him and in you;
because the darkness is passing away,
and the true light already shines.
9 He who says he is in the light
and hates his brother,
is in the darkness even until now.
10 He who loves his brother abides in the light,
and there is no occasion for stumbling in him.
11 But he who hates his brother
is in the darkness,
and walks in the darkness,
and doesn’t know where he is going,
because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
12 I write to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
13 I write to you, fathers,
because you know Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, little children,
because you know the Father.
14 I have written to you, fathers,
because you know Him who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.
15 Don’t love the world,
neither the things that are in the world.
If anyone loves the world,
the Father’s love isn’t in him.
16 For all that is in the world,
the lust of the flesh,
the lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life,
isn’t the Father’s,
but is the world’s.
17 The world is passing away with its lusts,
but he who does God’s will abides forever.
18 Little children, these are the end times,
and as you heard that the Antichrist is coming,
even now many antichrists have arisen.
By this we know that it is the final hour.
19 They went out from us,
but they weren't of (ek) us;
for if they were of us,
they would have continued with us.
But they left, that they might be revealed that none of them were of us.
20 You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
21 I have not written to you because you don’t know the truth,
but because you know it,
and because no lie is of the truth.
22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ?
This is the Antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.
23 Whoever denies the Son,
the same doesn’t have the Father.
He who confesses the Son has the Father also.
24 Therefore, as for you,
let that abide in you
which you heard from the beginning.
If that which you heard from the beginning
abides in you,
you also will abide
in the Son,
and in the Father.
25 This is the promise which He promised us, the eternal life.
26 These things I have written to you concerning those who would lead you astray.
27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you,
and you don’t need for anyone to teach you.
But as His anointing teaches you concerning all things,
and is true, and is no lie,
and even as it taught you, you will abide in Him.
28 Now, little children, abide in Him,
that when He appears,
we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at his coming.
29 If you know that He is righteous,
you know that everyone who practices righteousness
is born of Him.
Observations: 2:1-2 John said in chapter 1 that he wants his readers to walk in the light and not sin. He reiterates that intent, and adds that if we do sin, we have an Advocate or Counselor with the Father, Jesus the Messiah, the Righteous. He is the atoning/covering sacrifice for our sins. But wait, there's more! Jesus died for the whole world (John 3:16) so He is the sacrifice for all people who put their faith in Him.
2:3-4 John gives a number of benchmarks throughout the book, so we don't deceive ourselves into believing what isn't true. We can have confidence that we know God if we keep His commandments. As Jesus said: “If you love me, obey me” and “Why do you call me Lord and don't do what I say?” (John 14:15; Luke 6:46). So if we are intimately acquainted with God, we will be keeping His commands. Those who don't obey are lying when they say they have a good relationship with God. The truth isn't abiding in them and there will be no fruit either (John 15).
2:5-11 Those who keep (abide in) God's word, have the love of/for God (objective genitive) brought to completion in living loyally for Him. This is how a believer knows they are living “in union with Him” (a major concept in the epistle); they who abide in Him, walk/live, as Jesus did, particularly in relationships with other believers that reflect self-sacrificial love (agape). This is in accord with the summation of the law (love - Galatians 5:14), the old command which Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:43), and the “new” major command Jesus gave his disciples at the Last Supper (John 13:34-45), expressing the higher standard to love self-sacrificially as Jesus loved them. The basis of the command is that the old dark order was passing away, and the new true light (of God's requirements) was already shining, for them to walk by. The one who hates his brother/sister is walking in the dark. The one who loves, abides in the light. One could argue that the old commandment was to believe and follow Christ (cf 3:23) but that command doesn't match the parallelism, nor the emphasis on loving others in the epistle. .
2:12-15 It would have been the better division of the chapters, to begin chapter 2 here, since the earlier section relates to the theme of fellowship with God and others by walking in the light, and now John turns his attention to overcoming satanic obstacles to fellowship with God. There is a stylistic change of “I am writing to you” and the naming of three groups, possibly related to stages of spiritual development (young believers, mature believers, and those in the middle).
In verse 12 he writes to the “little children” whose sins are forgiven for the sake of God's glory or name. In verse 13 John addresses the same group, who have progressed from being forgiven to knowing God.
John writes to the “fathers” who have had a mature relationship with God, from the beginning, and are abiding in it, so the same content in is both verses.
John writes to the “young men” who initially have overcome the evil one, and then progressed to maintaining their strength by having the word of God abide in them (an ongoing necessity for fellowship -John 15).
2:15-16 Next John addresses their desires and values, which could trip them up. Unsanctified desires, derived from Satan's world, are the major reason believers continue to sin, and don't live in victory. See comments on Eve's temptation Genesis 3 and Jesus' temptation in Matthew 3. The desire for temporal power (pride-security/significance), pleasure (flesh), and possessions (eyes) motivate us to seek those things in the world, rather than the delights of the Father. The world, with its temporal trinkets will pass away, but the one who does God's will (which is knowable and doable) will abide forever. See series on Deadly Desires on Truthbase.net.
2:18-19 John warns them of the chief agent of Satan, the Antichrist, and the lesser minions, the false teachers who would seek to dissuade them from following Christ in the light. These false teachers went out from the the apostles, but they were not of (literally “ek” denoting source or origin, as in sharing the same source of teaching and doctrine) them. If the false teachers were from the apostles, they would have continued in the apostolic teaching. Their departure from the apostolic doctrine proved they were not based in them, and thus should be ignored. This indicates that the problem facing the readers is the same as that of the rest of the NT, Judaizers, who were denying the validity of the believer's experience in Jesus the Messiah, and teaching the OT as the basis of righteousness, rather than the words of Jesus. In fact they would go on to deny that Jesus was the Messiah (same word as Christ) of the OT, come in the flesh. Those who posit some sort of Gnostic teaching are ignorant of the fact that Gnosticism didn't become a coherent philosophy until the second century after Christ.
2:20-23 John reminds his readers that they have an “anointing” from the Holy One, so they have the correct knowledge, and don't need the Judaizing teaching. Apparently they still need John's instruction, and were in danger of being led astray, so they didn't know everything. The fact that they had an “anointing,” a reference to the Holy Spirit which the Messiah was to give, validated the Messiahship of Christ, and their accurate/true belief in Him. That was all they needed, not the false teaching of the antichrists. John isn't writing because they don't know the truth, but because they do know it (and don't need anything additional). No lie comes out of the truth; the liar is the one who denies that Jesus is the Messiah. Note they are not denying what He did, but that He is the promised Messiah of Isaiah 40-66 fame (as well as other places in Isaiah and the rest of the OT).
Satan is the one who denies the Father (as he did in Isaiah 14) and the Son (as he was doing through his agents, the false teachers. Whoever denies the Messiahship of the Son, doesn't have the Father either (so don't pay attention to them). Whoever confesses/acknowledges the Son (as the believers did) have the Father also (and don't need anything else).
2:24-27 Therefore (conclusion of the above), the believers should abide/remain in the teaching they heard from the real apostles, and have it abide in them (John 15). If they abide/remain in the truth, they will abide in the Son and Father, and have the fellowship John promised in the beginning of the epistle, and the eternal life Jesus promised in the gospels (cf John 3:16, 36). So the recipients of the letter don't need anyone to teach them anything else. The anointing they received (the fact of receiving the Holy Spirit) teaches them all they need to know to ignore the false teaching. This is not a blanket statement to all believers that they don't need teaching, but is context specific to the audience, with regard to the error of the antichrists. Jesus gave the responsibility to teach people to obey (Mt 28:20); Paul instructed Timothy to teach people who could teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2); the Holy Spirit gave gifted men to teach (Ephesians 4); and the gift of teaching to the early church (1 Corinthians 12). The author of Hebrews outlined the Christian career path of progressing to be able to teach others (Heb 5), so obviously believers need teaching, just not the false teaching of the antichrists (those opposed to Christ as Messiah, and probably advocated Judaism as the means to getting blessed). John closes the chapter, and opens the next one with the instruction to abide in what they had been taught, so they would abide in union with Christ.
2:28-29 John exhorts the believers to abide/remain in union with Christ so that when He appears to judge and set up His Millennial Kingdom, they would have confidence to stand before His judgment seat (2 Corinthians 5:9-10). Those who were not loyal to Him, or who spent their time stumbling around in the dark, would be ashamed at His coming.
Knowing that Jesus is righteous (and requires righteousness for blessing) they know that everyone who is born of Him would also have/practice righteousness.
Application: If we abide in the truth and aren't deceived by the world or false teachers, we will live in love and righteousness, and thus have confidence to stand before the Messiah when He returns.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I pray You would guide me in understanding and applying Your truth, so I will abide in You,and will not be ashamed to stand before You when You return. Amen.
God in a nutshell: God wants us to share in His life, and have proper relationships with others. He provides the means of doing that with His truth (light), and forgiveness, and wants to cleanse us from all our sin.
Build-a-Jesus: Jesus is the word of life and the coming Messiah, regardless of what anyone says. One day all will stand before Him and acknowledge that truth, even the Antichrist.
Us in a nutshell: We need to walk in the light and love each other if we are to share in the life of Christ.
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