I John 1:1-2:5- Brief verse by verse exposition:
I John : Purpose: to reassure Christians in their faith and counter false teachings
Written by Apostle John before his exile to the Isle of Patmos. By the time John writes this epistle Christianity had been around for about a generation. The main problem confronting the church was heresy and the declining commitment of Christians who were conforming to the world’s standards and failing to stand up for Christ. John writes this letter to put them back on track so to speak by showing them the contrast of light and darkness, good and evil, life and death, truth and error.
1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
Here John refers to his relationship with Jesus Christ. John was a disciple and part of the inner circle of Jesus. He had been with Jesus from the beginning of his ministry and had seen him to the end. He knew him to not only be Jesus, but to be God. Here again we find the deity of Christ defended – the heretics were saying that Jesus could not be God incarnate.
2(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
John says that we have seen Jesus and we are witnesses – Jesus Christ is God manifested to us in flesh. Jesus and God are one! This generation had not seen Jesus – but John wanted them to trust his account of what he had seen and heard and experienced with the Savior.
3That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
We say these things so that you can have fellowship with us – because truly our fellowship is with the Father and the Son
What is fellowship – koinonia? Right relationship, cohesion, brotherhood, companionship, intimacy – God created us to fellowship with Him and to bring Him glory. Adam broke that fellowship with sin and now Jesus comes to bridge the gap between us and God so that we can once again fellowship with Him. What has to happen in order for there to be fellowship? There must be likeness: like wishes, like desires, likeness of heart (how can two walk together unless they agree?)
4And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
Don’t be discouraged. Don’t be dismayed. Don’t get swayed by the things you’re hearing. Be joyful – you can have fellowship with God through Jesus Christ!
5This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
Jesus told us who He is – and we declare it to you: God is light and in him there is no darkness. When light is shone in the dark – darkness has to flee – light and dark cannot cohabitate – you either have one or the other. Light represents that which is good, pure, true, holy, and reliable. Darkness represents what is sinful and evil. Light is truth – Evil is false.
6If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
3 claims of heretics:
1. they had partnership with God (v. 6) but they practiced and promoted immorality
2. they denied that they possessed a sinful nature (v. 8) but everyone sins and needs to be cleansed of unrighteousness (v. 9)
3. they denied that their conduct was displeasing to God (v. 10) thus accusing God of lying (v. 6)
If we say we have fellowship with him, yet we continually, habitually, non-stop walk in darkness – then we are lying and we aren’t doing the truth. The false leaders thought that they could do what they wanted and still be accepted by God. John says, No, you can’t walk in darkness and still have fellowship with God. It’s an oxymoron – it can’t be done. We cannot say we are lovers of Christ but are still dating Satan at the same time! They also believed that they didn’t have a sinful nature – but we know that we were born in sin and shapen in iniquity –
7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
If we walk in the light – as He is in the light – we have fellowship with God and Jesus – and Jesus’ blood cleanses us from all sin. In the old testament animals were sacrificed as an atonement for sin and allowed them to keep living in God’s favor. Jesus, however, is the ultimate sacrifice “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29) and the blood he shed on Calvary cleanses us from all sin. The penalty of sin is death and we deserve to die – but because of Christ’s blood and sacrifice our sins are cleansed.
8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we say we don’t have sin – then we are deceiving (fooling) ourselves and the truth does not dwell within us. If we didn’t have sin then Christ’s death would be in vain.
9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Confession: simply agreeing with God about our sin – we cannot inform Him because He already knows – but we say God I agree with you about what you say about sin and I ask forgiveness –
He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all righteousness – which he has done through the finished work of Jesus Christ!
10If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
If we say that we have not sinned, then we are calling Him a liar and His word is not in us.
1 John 2
1My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
It must be the goal of every Christian not to sin. We will not be sinless, but we ought to sin less! And if we do sin, we have an advocate – someone who is going to stand on our behalf before the Father – Our Defense Attorney – Jesus Christ the righteous who presents as evidence the sacrifice he made on our behalf. However, we cannot expect God’s grace to cover our mess – shall we continue in sin that grace may abound – God forbid!
2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
He is the propitiation – He satisfies our judgement – for one sin we ought to die – but Jesus satisfies our sentence – not just for our sins, but the sins of the whole world. You cannot be tried again for your sins – it’s just like Double Jeopardy – you cannot be tried twice for your sins because Jesus has satisfied the penalty
3And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
We know him if we keep his commandments. We will have fellowship with him, we will have intimacy with him – if we keep his commandments – we must follow his precepts, obey his word and live in loving existence to others
4He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
If you say you know him, but you don’t keep his commandments, you are a liar and the truth is not in you. You don’t know him if you don’t know who He is, you don’t know him if you don’t obey his word, you don’t know him if you hate your brother – the truth is not in you
5But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
But he that keeps his word, in him is God’s love being perfected (are we perfect? No not as long as we have a sin nature) but God’s love is being manifested in our lives more and more and causing us to look like Him, and act like Him, and love like Him – more of Him and less of us – then we know that we are in Him!
c/Candie A. Price