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1 John Chapter 1


Had the churches in the Middle Ages and the Protestant reformers and many other denominations, sects and cults read diligently the writings of the apostle John and took those writings to heart, they would have never burned one person at the stake, held any inquisitions, had any anti-Semitism, or had anything to do with the holocaust. 

In the letter to the church at Ephesus, the Lord commended that church for its stand against the false doctrine of the Nicolaitans which some believe to mean the separation of the clergy and laity and lording over believers by those appointing themselves over the flock of God. The Lord warned this church though of the danger of losing their first love. Although this primarily meant their love for Jesus and the main emphasis should be on Jesus, I believe the first love is also the love they should have toward one another. As John writes in his epistle, how can one love God who he has not seen if he does not love his brethren who he has seen. 

This love also would include spreading the gospel. Not a religion called Christianity, but spreading the gospel. If we are perfect in love we would desire to see the lost saved. 

Jesus said, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples when ye love one another." He also said, "Love your enemies and do good to them that hate you."

The church in the middle ages, some protestant reformers and any others who are equally guilty of hating their brothers, forgot what Jesus said. 

  • 1John 1:1 That 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; 

John is speaking here of Jesus who is the Son of God and is the word of God made flesh. He became flesh and blood like we are and was born into this world like we are. He was originally in heaven and perfect but left that state to dwell among us to live perfectly and by fulfilling the commandments of the law. He willingly died so that He would die without having any sin to be laid against Him. The innocent died so that we who are guilty of breaking the law can be made free from the condemnation of the law and have eternal life. The just died for the unjust to justify as many as would believe in Him, (Jesus). 

  • 1John 1:2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 

The word manifested means to make clear, disclose and make it obvious. Jesus was sent from heaven and was revealed to us as the Son of God, the only way of salvation and the answer to the way to be reconciled back to God from which Adam's sin separated us. 

  • 1John 1:3 That 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. 

Through faith in Jesus and faith that He is the Son of God sent from God to save us, we now can have fellowship with God Himself.

  • 1John 1:4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 

Knowing this brings us joy. 

  • 1John 1:5 This 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. 
  • 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 

Walking in darkness is the state one is in before coming to the light of the gospel. By returning to sin after Jesus saves us, ignoring the known word of God, and hating our fellow believers we are again walking in darkness like we did before we came to Christ for salvation. 

It is okay to disagree. It is okay to have discussions about God's word. Satan, however likes to use innocent things to cause a little root of bitterness to begin in our hearts so that we become defiled. We still may talk of Christ and claim to believe but our outward testimony is ruined by our hatred that we have toward those that disagree with us. I'm not talking here of compromising important doctrines to have a false unity. I'm talking of disagreeing but with love and respect for those who are in opposition to our own faith.

Never will I encourage any compromising on what we consider to be the truth of God's word. True biblical love will not compromise the truth in any case. That isn't love if we lay aside God's word to have unity. That is a false anti-Christ type of unity. We want love but with truth along side of it. Darkness is hate but darkness is also lying, covering up, deceiving and hypocrisy. 

  • 1John 1:7 But 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. 

Sin is cleansed by the blood of Jesus. There is no other way to be saved from sin. When we become believers in Jesus and walk in His fellowship we will walk in light. If we return to sin and walk in darkness, we lie when we claim to be believers in Christ. To believe in Christ means to abide in Christ. If we return to the things God saved us from knowingly, then we are not abiding in Christ but deceiving ourselves. 

  • 1John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 

If we say that we do not need Jesus and that we have not sinned, we are liars for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. 

John Wesley stated it this way:
If we say - Any child of man, before his blood has cleansed us. We have no sin - To be cleansed from, instead of confessing our sins, 1Jo_1:9, the truth is not in us - Neither in our mouth nor in our heart.

This could not mean that we are sinners after being cleansed by the blood for John later warns against sin and says that if we sin we have not known the Father nor the Son. I am assuming that John meant that if we say that we have no sin when we do have sin, the truth is not in us. If we have been cleansed from sin by our faith in Jesus and have not returned to sin, then of course we are not lying if we say we have no sin. 

  • 1John 3:6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

The bible itself is the best interpretation of verses that are controversial. Whoever abides in Christ, sins not. That explains what John meant in verse 8. See how we can get false doctrine if we take read verse 8 and do not read verse 9 that explains further what John is trying to say. 

  • 1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

If we sin before knowing Christ or after, we must confess it (to God, not a priest) and make things right. We can't go on in open unconfessed sin and expect to be saved. How can one be saved from sin and still live in sin knowingly? John makes it clear that if we sin on purpose knowing it is wrong, we do not know God. To abide is Christ is to stop sinning willingly and with full knowledge that we are living in sin. To not repent is to deceive ourselves and ruin our testimony before God and man. 

Paul writes:

  • Romans 6:1,2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 
  • 1John 1:10 If 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 and have no need to repent of sin and believe the gospel, we are making God a liar and His word is not in us. 

If we teach a gospel that does not require repenting or turning from sin, then we are not preaching the same gospel Jesus preached, Peter preached or even Paul. All have sinned before coming to Christ, so all must repent to be saved. It is part of the gospel.

Yet here is a key to keep from sin after one is saved. Be made perfect in love. If we love God with all our hearts we would not sin. If we loved our neighbors as ourselves, we would not sin against them. 

  • 1. idolatry - If we loved God, we would never have idols, whether man made statues or men themselves. 
  • 2. adultery - If we loved our neighbor as ourselves we would not lust after another man's wife or husband if we are a woman. 
  • 3. Stealing - If we loved our neighbor, we would never dream of stealing from them. 
  • 4. False witness - As previously stated, love would avoid telling lies to make someone else look bad.

The other commandments are also summed up in these two Jesus gave. If we loved God and one another, we would automatically keep all the commandments. The apostle John found the answer to overcome sin and His epistles are strong in this thing called love. Naturally this love is not what the world thinks as love. The world's love is not real love for it is selfish and is dependent on circumstances. God's love is different and can't be duplicated. 

1 Corinthians 13 is a good study on real love. 

1 John 2 


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