1 John 1-5 How to know you know him

From 1 John 1-5

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www.lukedingman.com

Jesus followers need to walk as Jesus walked. The only way we can know how Jesus walked is to be immersed in the Gospels. Jesus followers can still sin. They do not keep on sinning, but if they do sin forgiveness is always available because Jesus death on the cross. His death has propitiated all of God’s wrath for every sin we will ever commit. We have assurance of forgiveness. Focusing on sin and forgiveness is not John’s main objective here. Love is. God’s love and ours. This is how we can tell if God abides in us and we in Him, if we love one another.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

In the beginning of the letter, John affirms that he was with Jesus in the beginning. Jesus is the eternal life he proclaims. He does this so they may have fellowship with one another (1 Jn 1.1-4).

John says God is light and has no darkness. Some people are different. People who say they walk in the light, but walk in darkness do not have fellowship with him and are lying.

If people walk in the light they have fellowship with one another and Jesus blood has cleansed them. People who claim to have no sin do not have the truth in them. If people confess their sins he will forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn 1.5-10).

Today’s passage follows on from this.

I assume that 1 Jn 1.8-9 mainly refers to the initial repentance (C2) all believers go through when they come to faith (C1 to C3). Following this point it is still possible believers (C3) can still sin.

Consequently John says;

2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 Jn 2.1-2)

Even if believers do sin, there is still forgiveness through Jesus death on the cross that has propitiated the Fathers just wrath.

What John means by ‘sins of the whole world’ is debated. Did Jesus’ death only atone for believers of all nations? Or has he propitiated God’s wrath for everyone?

Those who believe that Jesus death was only for the elect have to interpret what John means by ‘the whole world’. If I were to follow that line of thought, I would say ‘the whole world’ refers to every nation, but not every individual.

3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. (1 Jn 2.3)

John describes every believer’s relationship with Jesus. If someone knows the Lord they will keep his commandments. This is another justification by works passage.

You can tell someone is righteous, one of God’s children, if they keep his commandments.

John actually believes God’s children keep his commandments. What are his commandments? John will later reveal the commands are to believe in the name of Jesus the Son of God and to love one another (1 Jn 3.23). Love is the fulfillment of the law.

4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 Jn 2.4-6)

John said earlier, those who claim to have fellowship with him, while walking in darkness are liars (1 Jn 1.6). He says the same here.

No one remains a ‘sinner’ after they have come to know the Lord. Those who continue in sin do not know the Lord.

The passage functions to encourage the listeners to reflect on Jesus and obey his commands. This is what the Christian ‘walk’ looks like.

For Believers

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Jesus followers need to walk as Jesus walked. The only way we can know how Jesus walked is to be immersed in the Gospels.

Jesus followers can still sin. They do not keep on sinning, but if they do sin forgiveness is always available because Jesus death on the cross. His death has propitiated all of God’s wrath for every sin we will ever commit. We have assurance of forgiveness.

Focusing on sin and forgiveness is not John’s main objective here. Love is. God’s love and ours. This is how we can tell if God abides in us and we in Him, if we love one another.


Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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  • I’m finished studying for now. Perhaps another time. Id like to learn Greek.