The following is from OBC’s daily devotional for today:
The apostle John wrote this letter to Christians whose faith was unsettled. False teachers had bee namong them (2:18-26; 4:1-6), promoting heresy about who Jesus Christ was and how Christians should live. Though the false teachers had left, the believers were shaken.
John wrote to equip these Christians to resist false teaching by contrasting true from false Christianity. In this letter John gives a series of tests that would help the readers—and Christians today—know they were in Christ (1:4; 2:1; 5:13).
As these Christians had correct beliefs and lived Christ-like lives they would be assured that they had eternal life. This would help them resist the doubts the false teachers created by wrong doctrine and practice. John does not move in a straight line, from one subject to another. Instead, he moves in a spiral through several cycles, repeating and developing subjects and themes.
John begins by showing that true Christians believe in the incarnation (vv. 1-4), that the eternal Son added a genuine human nature to his eternal divine nature. Then John teaches that genuine Christians demonstrate a holy character (vv. 5-7) and thus have a right response when they sin (1:8-2:2).
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- People look to so many things for joy. True joy that is complete and full is found in genuine faith in and obedience to Jesus Christ! The more you learn from the Bible about Christ and how to live, the greater your joy will be (1:4)!
- True Christianity is according to truth from God (1:5, 6, 8, 10:2:1), the gospel message of the NT. True Christianity is not what people think it should be but is only what God has said it is. You must always and only believe and live by what God has said in the Bible.
- True Christians love holiness and righteousness because they love the Lord (“fellowship,” 1:7). When they sin they are grieved by it and confess their sins to God, repent of them, and rest in his forgiveness provided through Jesus’ death. (“Propitiation,” 2:2, means that God’s holy wrath toward believers’ sin has been turned away by Christ’s sacrifice.)