In this week’s passage of 1 John we are continuing in the theme of love, with the addition of abiding: God abiding in us, and we abiding in him. This segues into knowing, which leads to seeing and testifying “that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” We then curve back to confession and abiding, which will lead full circle back to love in next week’s passage. And so, this week we have more of a train of thought, even though it circles back to love, rather than a tight spiral of one thought. Continue reading “1 John P2R, Week 15”
This week’s portion of 1 John is again split between two different, but not unrelated, thoughts. Last week John began warning us to not believe every spirit because of the many antichrists that have gone out into the world. We continue with that line of thought now from verses 4 to 6, and so John’s inclination to write in sharp contrasts gives us a lot of “us versus them” language. His entire epistle is a study in contrasts, but verses 4-6 are literally packed with you/them, they/we, them/us. Also in verse 4 we find the familiar encouragement that “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Continue reading “1 John P2R, Week 14”
This week’s passage for memorization, 1 John 3:23-4:3, includes the end of one train of thought and the beginning of another. By now you may have noticed that the weekly passages aren’t arranged into tidy little segments of a single theological concept. Instead, they are tidy little segments that fit onto the pages of our moleskine journals. That said, they are still in the order which the Holy Spirit inspired John to write, and once memorized as a whole, the page segments will fade into the background and the units of thought will come to the fore.
Our first two verses this week wrap up the flow of thought which began in 3:11: John’s elaboration of the social test that we should love one another. In verse 23, John shows how loving one another goes hand-in-hand with believing in Jesus (the doctrine test), and both fulfill the keeping of God’s commandments (the moral test). In fact, loving one another and believing in Jesus are so mutually dependent that they are essentially a single commandment. John then states that “whoever keeps [these] commandments abides in God and God in him” (3:24). The way that we know that God abides in us is “by the Holy Spirit, whom [God] has given to us.”
Last week’s passage for our memorization covered some hard ground. John contrasted the love which comes from God and is shared among believers—proving that we have passed out of death into life— against the murderous hatred of the world for believers, which shows that they abide in death.
In this week’s passage we find an appeal to live out our love for one another in tangible, life-sustaining ways, loving in deed and in truth. We also encounter the deeply reassuring truth that this kind of love is another proof that we are in Christ, or, as John writes, “of the truth.” And this proof reassures our hearts whenever our hearts condemn us. When doubt creeps in and the enemy whispers in our heart that we don’t really belong to Christ, “God is greater than our heart.” When we reassure our hearts by the truth to which our one-another love testifies, we have confidence before God and may approach him in prayer, in full assurance that we are his children because the love that we have for one another and our obedience to his commandments. Continue reading “1 John P2R, Week 12”