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.”
Coming off a long hiatus from memorizing makes for a bumpy re-entry. Restoring this discipline to its place in my daily routine has been easier than reminding my brain what we’re doing. However, my efforts at discipline and my rusty brain aren’t the only players in this scheme. The Holy Spirit is helping me, and he will help you as well, to hide God’s word in our hearts.
Week 10 ended with the reminder that loving one another is the message we have heard from the beginning, which gives us a solid tether to week 11 starting with an event that occurred way back at the beginning: Cain’s murder of his brother, Abel. John links murderous intent with hate for one another, just as Jesus equated murder with anger in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:21-22). This is a deeper layer of the contrasts John has been using all through his epistle. Love for one another is life-giving; hate for one another is life-taking. Continuing the theme of children of God and children of the devil, John makes his case that children of the devil not only keep on sinning, but, like Cain, they hate those who are righteous with a murderous hatred. Continue reading “1 John P2R, week 11”