Friday, August 10, 2007

I John Overview

I decided that I was getting too bogged down in the specifics of the text in I John.

So I thought it would help me to step back and look at the bigger picture in I John.

I was struck at how many stark contrasts John points out (this is not all, but a quick list of some major contrasts).

1:5 - Light - Darkness
2:3,4 - Obey - Disobey
2:9-11 - Loves believers - Hates believers
2:15,16 - Does not love the world - Loves the world
2:21,22 - Truth-filled - Liar
2:23 - Confesses the Son - Denies the Son
2:24-26 - Remain in the truth - Deceive
3:6 - Does not practice sin - Practices sin
3:7,8 - Practices Righteousness - Practices sin
3:7,8 - Like Jesus - Like the Devil
3:9,10 - Fathered by God - Fathered by the Devil
4:2,3 - Confesses that Jesus came in the flesh - Does not confess that Jesus came in the flesh.
4:6 - Listens to “us” - Does not listen to “us”
4:7 - Loves - Does not love
4:7 - Knows God - Does not know God
4:17,18 - Does not fear - Lives in fear

Finally, so many of the passages in this book closely link one or more of the things in the left hand side of those contrasts. The obvious conclusion is that they all go together to describe one thing….A believer walking in the light.

To paraphrase 4:20 – 5:4 "If you love God, you love your fellow Christians, which is obedient to His command, which means you believe that Jesus is the Christ, which means that you are fathered by God, which means you love God, which means you love others fathered by Him, which is proved by loving God and obeying His commandments. And you don’t find His commandments hard because you have been fathered by Him, and you conquer the world."

At least 10 times in this Epistle, John writes (in so many words) “I write these things for this reason” The last time is in chapter 5 verse 13, where he says

“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."

I think the overview really emphasizes that. There are many ways to test the relationship you (and others) have with God. I John makes it pretty clear that this is something we need to be able to do. We should be able to look at our lives (and the lives of others) and “know” that we have eternal life.

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