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1 John

I remember the time when I was about to graduate from Elementary, our English Gr
ammar teacher told us to write a paragraph on any topic that we want. I was a ne
w Christian at that time, so I decided to write a paragraph entitled, The True G
ospel. Little did I know that I had a classmate who was also a new Christian. He
wrote a paragraph which he entitled, The Christian’s Mark.
Christians are known by peculiar marks just as God is known by certain attribute
s.
God is light and sheds light on our path (1:5).
Therefore,
We ought to walk in the light (1:5-8; 2:9-11).
1Jn 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto yo
u, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
As light, God reveals Himself in His perfect holiness and majesty. Whittier put
it like this:
Our thoughts lie open to Thy sight;
And naked to Thy glance;
Our secret sins are in the light
Of Thy pure countenance.
And Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, founder and first President of Dallas Theological S
eminary, once said, Secret sin on earth is open scandal in heaven.
1Jn 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie
, and do not the truth:
1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship o
ne with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin
.
Our walk in the light is a test of fellowship with God, since the life of fellow
ship is a life that is continually cleansed from sin by the blood of Jesus. It a
lso involves our relationship with one another, which indicates that a walk in t
he light is lived accountably before both God and man.
1Jn 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is no
t in us.
Anyone who walks in the light that God has revealed cannot fail to note his own
sinfulness.
1Jn 2:9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness
even until now.
1Jn 2:10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occa
sion of stumbling in him.
1Jn 2:11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness,
and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
Love is characteristic of light, and hate is characteristic of darkness. Those t
wo are mortal enemies. Therefore, a person reveals the genuineness of his relati
onship with God by his relationship with others.
God is light and sheds His light on our path, therefore:
Be open and transparent in all you do.
Admit your weakness to God.
Trust God to cleanse you and forgive you.
Recognize that hate for others means that you are in darkness.
God is love and has manifested His love to us therefore, Christians love the bre
thren, not the world (2:15-17; 3:1, 11, 17; 4:7-12, 16-21; 5:2, 3).
1Jn 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any ma
n love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of th
e eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
1Jn 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the
will of God abideth for ever.
The world does not refer to the physical creation, but to the sphere of evil ope
rating in our world under the dominion of Satan.
1Jn 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we sh
ould be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it k
new him not.
John expresses his astonishment at God’s love in regenerating believers, an expe
rience the world cannot understand.
1Jn 3:17 But whoso hath this world s good, and seeth his brother have need, and
shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in h
im?
Love is shown, not only in a heroic deed of self-sacrifice, but in a daily life
of compassion.
1Jn 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that
loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
1Jn 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1Jn 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent
his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
1Jn 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent
his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1Jn 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
For the third time John stresses love as a test of the Christian life. Here he t
races love to its source in the nature of God as revealed at the cross. Christia
ns show that they are God’s children by manifesting sacrificial attitudes like G
od.
Dr. Harry Ironside demonstrates in a wonderful way the truth that only Christian
s reveal the God of love:
Years ago a lady who prided herself on belonging to the Intelligentsia said to m
e, “I have no use for the Bible, for Christian superstition, and religious dogma
. It is enough for me to know that God is love.” Well, I said, Do you know it? “
Why, of course I do,” she said; “We all know that, and that is religion enough f
or me. I do not need the dogmas of the Bible.” How did you find out that God is
love? I asked. That poor mother in her distress throwing her little baby into t
he holy Ganges to be eaten by filthy and repulsive crocodiles as a sacrifice for
her sins—does she know that God is love? “Oh, well, she is ignorant and superst
itious,” she replied. Those poor wretched Negroes in the jungles of Africa, bowi
ng down to gods of wood and stone, and in constant fear of their fetishes, the p
oor heathen in other countries, do they know that God is love? “Perhaps not,” sh
e said, “but in a civilized land we all know it.” But how is it that we know it?
Who told us so? Where did we find it out? “I do not understand what you mean,”
she said, “for I’ve always known it.” Let me tell you this, I answered, no one i
n the world ever knew it until it was revealed from heaven and recorded in the W
ord of God. It is here and nowhere else. It is not found in all the literature o
f the ancients. It is not learned by intelligent people, but revealed to faithfu
l people who accept Christ as Lord and Savior.
Do not set your affection on, or live sacrificially on behalf of anything that a
ppeals to your fleshly appetites, appeals to your covetousness or greed, or fost
ers pride or arrogance.
Understand that a Christian loves other believers, and obeys the Scriptures.
God is life and imparts life to us therefore, Christians confess Christ to other
s (5:11-13, 20).
1Jn 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and thi
s life is in his Son.
1Jn 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hat
h not life.
1Jn 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the S
on of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe o
n the name of the Son of God.
John states the content of the testimony given by the witness mentioned in the p
revious verses. Eternal life signifies not only endless life, but a quality of l
ife that comes only to those who have faith in Jesus. This life is a present pos
session of which we can have confident assurance.
A Bible scholar has this to say about life:
Life, in 1 John 5:11-13, 20 is . It denotes not only physical life, but spiri
tual life, which one can possess only through faith in Jesus Christ. Eternal lif
e refers not only to duration of life, but to quality of life. It is a present l
ife of grace and a future life of glory.
Boldly confess Jesus Christ to others.
1 John stresses the themes of love, light, and life in its warnings against here
sy. These major elements are repeated throughout the letter, with love being the
dominant note. Possessing love, light, and life are clear evidences that one is
a Christian; therefore, Christians are known by peculiar marks just as God is k
nown by certain attributes.