on 1 John
by Jack Lane
notes are from my final Bible study to the group in the
Placerville/Sacramento area before moving out of the area.
John 1 (NIV
John begins his
first epistle the way he began his gospel – in spiritual,
philosophical terms. We know he’s talking
about Messiah, even though he doesn’t specifically name him. John is
writing for a specific purpose: to
show that Yeshua, the prophet, the miracle worker, the Messiah, is also
of God, and is more than just a man. There's
a reason he wrote this way, which we'll see as we go.
John begins with
the same kind of language he began his gospel. He
proclaims that this Thing he is talking about – this Word, this Thing
which they saw and touched, was from the beginning. In his gospel, John
calls it “the word.” Here
he calls it “the life,” “the word of life.” It
wasn’t Yeshua. Not back at the beginning. But now it is. This
word, this life, became a human baby, and Yahweh was his Father. What a
mystery it is!
1 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.
2 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.
3 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
4 We write this
make our joy complete.
the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in
there is no darkness at all.
There is no
darkness in God. There can be a lot of
darkness in people, especially people who claim to follow God, but who
people like that lie. I prefer to think
that they’re mistaken. I don’t think
everyone is deliberately lying. I can
see that they say one thing and do another. Maybe
they know, at some deeper level, that they aren’t living
purity. But John says they lie. I don’t really want to disagree with
him. I can’t really say he’s wrong.
says we have to walk in the light for Yeshua’s blood to purify us from
sin. We need that, because human beings
sin. It‘s what we do. We sin, whether we intend to or not. If
we think we are above that sort of thing,
we’re deceiving ourselves.
But if we
confess – and I think it means to confess to God, not necessarily to
– God will forgive us, and more importantly, over time he will remove
unrighteousness from our character. That’s what we really need to be
6 If we
claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and
live by the truth.
7 But if we
walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one
and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8 If we
claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in
9 If we
confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we
claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has
place in our lives.
translations say we have an advocate with the Father. I like how NIV
puts it: “we have
one who speaks to the Father in our
defense.” In fact, the German word for
attorney is “advokaten,” showing how an attorney is someone who is
case before the judge. That’s really a
good picture of what our Messiah is doing in his role as our High
in Hebrews that Messiah is the High Priest who takes the blood into the
place. In Hebrews, and also here, we see
that he is also the blood itself! He is
the atoning sacrifice, not only for us, or for our particular church,
for the whole body of Christians, but for everyone in the whole world!
there is a strong requirement: obedience
to Yeshua’s commands, or his commandments. Once
again, John calls somebody a liar. Before,
it was people who claim to have fellowship with Yeshua
really walk in the darkness. Now he says
it’s people who claim to “know the Lord” but don’t obey him. Those are
pretty similar concepts.
1 My dear
children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody
sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus
2 He is the
atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the
the whole world.
3 We know
that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.
4 The man
who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar,
and the truth is not in him.
5 But if
anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This
is how we
know we are in him:
claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you
since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard.
Now we come
to one of the major themes of this letter: Love. John is writing in
simple sentences. The ideas are
profound, and very hard to put into practice, so John writes in basic
as if he is writing to children. In
effect, he really is!
people who think they are walking in the light, but they hate their
brother. They don’t even know they’re
still in darkness. How can that be? The darkness has blinded them.
And what is
darkness? There is no darkness in
God. God is light. Is
it possible that if someone is still in
darkness, they don’t have God, even if they think they do? Is that
many denominations have “holier than thou” people who condemn others
thing or another. John says they don’t
have the light! They’re walking around
in the dark.
continues to explain more of what he means as we go through his letter.
8 Yet I am
writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because
darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.
who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the
loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to
whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the
he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded
to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account
writing to dear children, fathers, young men, dear children, fathers,
through this list twice.
to the children for two reasons: their
sins have been forgiven, and they have known the Father. He writes to
the young men because they have
overcome the evil one, and also because they are strong, with God’s
them – and they have overcome the evil one. He
writes to the fathers because they have known him who is
beginning, and because they have known him who is from the beginning.
going on? Why the repetition? Here’s my
guess: Those who are babes in Christ,
newly baptized, have only recently been forgiven, and possibly in their
they can have a strong relationship with God. Those who have been in
longer have what it takes to really do spiritual battle against the
prevail against him. After we’ve been in
the faith for awhile, God will sometimes let us stand on our own
and tell the devil where to go. And the
fathers – the old men in the faith, the elders – they have the
to discern what Yeshua really is. If only we were so smart!
13 I write
to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning.
to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to
children, because you have known the Father.
14 I write
to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning.
to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in
and you have overcome the evil one.
love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the
the Father is not in him.
spoke often about how the love of the world can be disastrous to one’s
faith. Whether you love the world, or
the world loves you, it’s a dangerous situation. Here
John says that God’s love is not in us
if we are in love with this cosmos, this system.
We need to
be focused on the future – the Millennium, eternity, never-ending life
resurrected children of God. That’s
where our focus needs to be. John
defines “everything in the world” as including such things as sinful
lust of the eyes, and boasting. And he
says it will all pass away.
will pass away, the things of the world will pass away, the age will
elements will melt with fervent heat – but whoever does God’s will is
live forever. That makes doing God’s
will really important! It’s not a
religious idea, or a doctrine. It’s a
matter of life and death. Eternal life
and eternal death!
given us, in this book, a choice between life and death. Moses saw the
importance of doing God’s
will. He said, “Therefore, choose life,
that you may live, and your descendants!
everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his
the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but
world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God
children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the
coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is
takes off his gloves and gets down to business. All
the foregoing was introduction to the real purpose of this
a defense of biblical religion and the knowledge of Messiah against the
people out there who don’t know their Bibles, “the Antichrist” is
with “the Beast.” But John is saying
that there were many antichrists, and they were already on the scene!
I don’t really
understand John’s references to the last hour, but I can guess.
was at his last hour, because he died shortly after he wrote
epistles and his gospel. Perhaps John was
recalling the Olivet prophecy:
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
none of them belonged to us.
“Look, he’s in the spheres”?
By the end
of the first century A.D., when John wrote, Gnosticism had already
of the ekklesia, and had already led
the deception, the lying, the hatred and betrayal, the false prophets
apostles, so he might naturally have believed that the end of the age
already upon them.
“This is the last hour.” I used to
follow a man who said, “This is the gun lap, the end of the end, the
of the last days.” Both of these men (the Apostle John and the other
and the age still goes on. Were they
wrong? Perhaps not, in cosmic time. We’ll find out.
3 As Jesus
was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to
him privately. "Tell us,"
they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your
coming and of the end of the age?"
answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you.
5 For many
will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many
"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and
will be hated by all nations because of me.
10 At that
time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each
11 and many
false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but
stands firm to the end will be saved.
false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs
to deceive even the elect – if that were possible.
25 See, I
have told you ahead of time.
if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out;
he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it.
have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.
writing to those who really did know the truth – the spiritually young,
more spiritually mature, and the spiritual elders. The children, the
young men, and the
fathers. John is writing to them because
they still listened to him. They weren’t
like Diotrephes in 3 John, the local church leader who loved to have
pre-eminence, who gossiped maliciously about the apostle John and his
companions, and who threw true believers out of his little church
congregation. John was writing to true
believers about real liars, those who deny that Yeshua was the Messiah.
He was reminding the flock that in order to
have the Father, you have to have the Son. And
he was warning them about those who were making deliberate
to deceive them and lead them astray. And
he was reminding them of the reward for doing that – eternal life!
21 I do not
write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know
because no lie comes from the truth.
22 Who is
the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man
antichrist – he denies the Father and the Son.
23 No one
who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the
24 See that
what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you
will remain in the Son and in the Father.
25 And this
is what he promised us – even eternal life.
26 I am
writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you
you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not
anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things
that anointing is real, not counterfeit – just as it has taught you,
anointing we have received from Messiah – it wasn’t oil poured over our
it wasn’t a religious ceremony where we were ordained to some religious
duty. It was the indwelling of the
Spirit in each one of us.
the Spirit, the Comforter, the parakletos,
would teach us all things. John says
Yeshua’s anointing teaches us about all things – including about
false prophets who try to lead us astray. So
this is about being anointed with the Spirit.
says something interesting: Because we
have this anointing, we don’t need anyone to teach us. Some people have
interpreted this, out of
context, to mean that they never have to go to church and listen to a
sermon. But the context is a rebuttal of
Gnostics and their deceptions, not a blanket statement that we don’t
assemble – “It’s just you and me, Lord.” We don’t need someone to teach
deep, esoteric mysteries of Gnosticism. The
Spirit doesn’t teach us those things – and there’s a
that! Instead, John calls on us to
remain in Christ, continue in Christ, so we may not be ashamed when He
comes. We don’t want to be afraid and hide
garden somewhere, like Adam and Eve, do we?
28 And now,
dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be
unashamed before him at his coming.
29 If you
know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is
been born of him.
on to correct some of the doctrines of the Gnostics. I don’t have the
background to go into
detail, but I can refer you to Alan Knight’s book, Primitive
Christianity in Crisis, now in its second edition, which
goes into some very excellent detail on this subject.
can look at this concept that we are now, already, in this life, the
a distinction between what we are now – children of God – and what we
in the future. Our understanding is that
we will be fully born, immortal spirit children of God, born from the
the same plane of existence that Yeshua was born into when he was
resurrected. John has the confidence
that we will be like Christ when Christ returns, when we rise into the
our graves at the sound of the trumpet. And
whoever has this hope really wants to purify himself or herself. As
Christ is pure, so we have a strong desire
to be pure.
Here is one
of the definitions of sin – the breaking of the law, or lawlessness. In
those who teach that the law is done away can be said not to know God
1 How great
is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called
God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is
did not know him.
friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet
known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we
him as he is.
who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.
5 But you
know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him
6 No one
who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has
him or known him.
children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right
righteous, just as he is righteous.
used to baffle me.
In the NKJV
it reads: “Whoever has been born of God does
not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin,
has been born of God.” This sounds like
the resurrection, if no one is capable of sinning. This
is pivotal to understanding the ideas of
being born again.
The NIV has
a better translation according to the sense of the passage: “No one who
of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him;
go on sinning, because he has been born of God.” The
person who is born from above, or born of
God, or born again, is still alive, still in the flesh, but now has
Spirit along to help overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. And
verse 10 continues the thought: If you’re a child of God, you will be
the things that are right. If someone
isn’t doing the right things, or if they hate their neighbor, John says
a child of the devil.
repeats his earlier appeal: We should
love one another.
8 He who
does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning
the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the
9 No one
who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in
cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.
10 This is
how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the
Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is
does not love his brother.
11 This is
the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother.
did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's
passage reminds me a lot of the epistle of James – arguing and fighting
killing because of our lusts. Also like
James: We should be making the needs of
our brothers a higher priority in our lives. John is calling on us, as
did, to show our faith by showing God that we love through action. If
was big enough to lay down his life for us and actually die, why can’t
down a piece of our lives to help someone in need? If we have
something, can’t we share our
something with someone who has nothing? If
we don’t have pity, how could we think the love of God is in us?
what it means to hate our brother? Is
that what it means to walk in darkness even while we think we’re
walking in the
light? Lip-service. That’s
what they call it. Loving with your lips,
but not with your
actions. John calls on us to love with
our actions, and also in truth. Does
that mean true doctrine? Can we love
“in” true doctrine? I think he means
that when we live in the truth, we will love in the
13 Do not
be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.
14 We know
that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers.
who does not love remains in death.
who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has
life in him.
16 This is
how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And
to lay down our lives for our brothers.
anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no
him, how can the love of God be in him?
let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our
rest in his presence
20: “...our hearts condemn us.” Sometimes our hearts can bring us down
notch when our egos run away with us. Sometimes we suddenly remember
we are, how insignificant in the world, how small the world is in the
how lost our galaxy is in the infinite reaches of space. Sometimes we
want to just sit and mew like a
kitten in a tree.
confidence in the rest of that verse: God
is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything! And then, in verse
21, if our hearts don’t
condemn us, if we don’t have to stop and worry and wonder about whether
going to make it, it’s because we have confidence before God! What a
remarkable confidence we have, the
assurance of eternal life in joy and happiness as God’s own children,
with Him at His level of existence! Do
you have that confidence? That’s the
bedrock of our faith, that our Father wants to raise us to His level of
existence and share it with us, forever!
But if we
have that confidence, why can’t we have the next confidence as well, in
22: We receive from Him anything we ask,
because, like any good children, we obey our Father and do the things
please Him. Do we obey God and do the
things that please Him? Then why
shouldn’t we have this other confidence as well?
our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows
friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God
receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do
23 And this
is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to
one another as he commanded us.
who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we
he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
8: God is love. What
a concept. Not just that God has
love, or that
God emanates love, or that followers of God will have a lot of
love. No, John tells us, “God IS
Can you fear
a Father who IS love? I think a good
father on earth would have love for his children, but he would also
train them and discipline them so that they will be good people as
adults. Therefore, he would train them up,
boundaries and parameters, and punish them if they strayed out of
would fear a father like that? Only
those children who really want to be bad.
friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see
are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2 This is
how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges
Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,
3 but every
spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the
the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already
4 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.
5 They are
from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and
world listens to them.
6 We are
from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from
not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the
friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who
has been born of God and knows God.
does not love does not know God, because God is love.
how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the
that we might live through him.
some challenging ideas in this book. Here is one of them. It doesn’t
God lives in us if we have our doctrines right, or if we go to the
church, or if we say the sacred names just right, or if we follow one
or another, or – surprisingly – even if we are totally obedient!
obedience is necessary. We don’t earn
our salvation by obedience, but we learn righteousness
what the elderly John is trying to say, before he dies, is this: Love
another. Look at verse 10: “This is love: not that we loved God, but
that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our
some of Himself – His word, some of His essence, something which was
beginning, I don’t know – and made that into a human being, filled with
Spirit without measure, and this person was able to live a sinless life
in our place so we could die in him and live forever!
And if we
love one another, God will live in us and make His love complete in us.
Wow – what a bargain!
10 This is
love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as
atoning sacrifice for our sins.
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
made complete in us.
13 We know
that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his
14 And we
have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior
anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and
we know and rely on the love God has for us. God
is love. Whoever lives in love
lives in God, and God in him.
There it is
again – God is love. If you live in love, you live in God. If you live
in God, you live in love.
18: This is one of those verses I like
to scramble when I’m talking to people. I’ve
often said, “Yes, you know what the Bible says, ‘Perfect
out love.’” Not everyone catches the
joke. I think that’s because all the elements of the sentence are
there, just in a different order. I also think i'ts because this is a
God’s perfect love can cast out all our fears, so Satan’s perfect fear
drive out God’s love from our lives, from our perspective, from our
rob us of our security in the fabulous future God has in store for us.
17 In this
way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on
of judgment, because in this world we are like him.
18 There is
no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to
punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love
because he first loved us.
anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For
anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love
he has not seen.
21 And he
has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his
been saying this in many ways, so I think we should stop and consider
another one of those areas we might have difficulty grappling with,
our old ideas and concepts. John has been saying, quite plainly, that
truly believe that Yeshua is the son of God are already in some special
– maybe not the firstfruits, but definitely they are loved of God, born
children of God.
I think of
people in the Hellenized churches, the ones who don’t revere torah the way we do. They
seem to have, in many cases, a genuine
love of God. They claim wholeheartedly
that Jesus is the Son of God. They live
a lot more righteously than a lot of other people I know.
on to restate that obedience to God is necessary in order to be born of
and being born of God is how we can overcome the world. I note that
many people in Hellenized
Christianity obey God to the extent that they know.
punch line is still this: The one who
overcomes the world is the one who believes that Yeshua is the son of
God. Now, does that mean that someone who
but who doesn’t keep all of the commandments is actually not an
victorious over the world, not a child of God? That’s
not the sense I get from reading this.
about these earlier verses?
1:6: “If we claim
to have fellowship with him yet
walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.”
2:4: “The man who
says, ‘I know him,’ but does not
do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
still something of a mystery to me.
I think the
answer might be that those who deliberately walk in darkness, those who
with a full awareness, those who know that they are being disobedient
but don’t care – these are the people who have no light in them.
be aware of 2 Peter 3:18: “grow in the grace
and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” There are a
great many people who grow in the grace of
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, even though they
in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They know
that God is love, and that they are
who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who
the father loves his child as well.
2 This is
how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and
3 This is
love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not
everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has
the world, even our faith.
5 Who is it
that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of
the one who came by water and blood – Jesus Christ. He did not come by
only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies,
Spirit is the truth.
translations may have a reference to the Trinity in this passage: The
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (or
Holy Spirit), and these three are one. This
verse was added later, centuries after the apostles died,
attempt to “prove” the existence of the Trinity. It
isn’t in the earliest manuscripts. It
simply doesn’t belong there. John didn’t
write it. It doesn’t even fit in with the
context of what John is writing about.
about this verse for years. “Oh yes, 1
John 5:7. This is the bogus verse that
was added in centuries later to prove the Trinity. It doesn’t belong
But what is
the context here? When we take out the
spurious reference to the Trinity that doesn’t appear in the oldest
we are left with this curious statement: There
are three witnesses – the Spirit, the water, and the
blood – and
these three witnesses agree with each other. This is a
reference to the need for two or three witnesses to establish a matter.
himself stated that his own testimony was not credible. Did you know
that? In John 5:31-32, Yeshua stated: "If
I testify about myself, my testimony
is not valid. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I
that his testimony about me is valid.”
didn’t write his own gospel, or leave us any written record of his
teachings. He left it up to others to
write down those things, others who had witnessed these things, so that
would be a voice of two, three, or four witnesses to establish what he
and what he did.
saying in his epistle that, even though Yeshua didn’t give his own
didn’t write his own gospel, didn’t proclaim himself to be anything
there are three witnesses that testify that he truly is the son
speaking audibly on a few
occasions, bringing God’s message that this was His beloved son;
2. The waters of
repentance and baptism in which
he was baptized, and in which he oversaw his disciples baptizing
3. The blood of
atonement which gushed from his
dead body as he hung there on the cross.
7 For there
are three that testify:
Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.
9 We accept
man's testimony, but God's testimony is greater because it is the
God, which he has given about his Son.
who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone
not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not
testimony God has given about his Son.
11 And this
is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in
has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have
tells us that we can approach our loving Father, the One who IS love,
Him for the things we need. As a child
can ask a loving father for things, so we have that awesome privilege
able to ask God for things – not things to satisfy our fleshly lusts,
things which we know a loving Father would want us to have, those
13 I write
these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that
know that you have eternal life.
14 This is
the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything
his will, he hears us.
15 And if
we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what
anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he
pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not
death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he
interesting that there are sins which do lead to death and sins
not lead to death! Isn’t it also
interesting that John is saying that we should pray about those
whose sins don’t lead to death, almost as an obligation. Of course,
John isn’t forbidding us to pray
for those whose sin would lead to death. We may pray for those
people, of course, but John
isn’t making it
as much of an obligation.
notice another definition of sin in verse 17: All
wrongdoing, all unrighteousness, is sin. So
whatever isn’t righteous, whatever is
wrong, that activity, or that thought, or that attitude, is sin. But
who decides what is or isn’t righteous,
what is right or wrong? God? Moses? It wouldn’t be possible to
list every possible sin in the
Bible. Sometimes YOU have to decide what’s
aren’t raising our children to understand the difference between right
wrong, how will they ever make wise decisions in life? If God doesn’t
exercise our ability to decide
right from wrong, how could we ever grow up into the stature of the
born into a fallen world. Adam and Eve
saw to it that every person ever born in this world had to be able to
discern the good from the bad. Most
people choose the bad. Some of them
don’t know any better. Some of them
do! Some people actually do know they
are doing wrong, but they don’t have the ability or the encouragement
correct the situation. They will need
God’s Spirit to help them do that. They
may be waiting to hear about that Spirit, that opportunity, that
meantime, though, John felt the need to write this letter to warn the ekklesia about deceivers, false
brethren, false doctrine, bad attitudes, a lack of love, and other
he worried about as his life came to a close. We
can take the lessons of this letter to the brethren,
written to an
ancient people, and apply these lessons in our lives today.
it is the last days, it is the last hour. I
say it is the last days for me speaking here. So
before I bow out gracefully, I wanted to
leave you with these important things to think about, meditate on, and
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
keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.
19 We know
that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the
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 – even in his Son
Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
children, keep yourselves from idols.