1 John P2R, week 11

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.

We should therefore not be surprised that the world hates us. Just as love for the world is incompatible with love for the Father (2:15), hatred for our brothers and sisters in Christ is incompatible with being a child of God! In contrast, John tells us that love for the brothers is yet more assuring evidence that we have passed out of death into life. John reiterates his love test again, paired with the contrasting hate of the world. Murderers who do not love abide in death and do not have eternal life abiding in them. John is not making an absolute statement that those who commit murder are forever excluded from life in Christ. We know that the word of God assures us that everyone who believes in Christ—regardless of the sins they have committed or will commit—will be saved. Not saved because of their faith, but because they have been chosen before the foundation of the world by God, saved by his grace because of his lavish love, and given faith to believe (Eph. 1-2:9).

The point John is making is that it is absolutely uncharacteristic of a Christian to not love other Christians, and he will continue to build this case. John is contrasting the one-another love of those who are born of God with those who are from the world, and therefore hate Christians with murderous hatred because they are of the devil. Therefore, we who are of God, and have been loved with the love which was given its highest expression in Christ’s laying down his life for us in his sacrificial death, ought to also love our brothers and sisters in the faith and lay down our lives for them (16).

Now, to the memory aids:

12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil

one and murdered his brother. And why did he

murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and

his brother’s righteous.

We (John includes himself) should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one (because of who he belonged to) and murdered his brother (because of what he did). (Ask yourself-) And why did he murder him? (Answer- 2 reasons) Because his own deeds were evil and (in contrast) his brother’s righteous.

13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world

hates you.

Do not be surprised, (it’s too obvious- really!) brothers, that the world hates you.

14 We know that we have passed out of death into

life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does

not love abides in death.

We know (here’s the assurance) that we have passed out of death into life (why?) because we love the brothers. (in contrast) Whoever does not love abides in death. [Notice that once we also were abiding in death, but now we have passed out of death into life. We underwent a necessary transformation. Keep praying for those who have yet to pass out of death into life!]

15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,

and you know that no murderer has eternal life

abiding in him.

Everyone who hates his brother (no exceptions) is a murderer, and you know (certainty) that no murderer (no exceptions) has eternal life abiding in him. (paired with the previous verse, it is logically inconsistent for one to abide both in death and in life. Murderers cause death and abide in death/ they take life and therefore cannot abide in life.) [Again, no murderer, while abiding in death, has eternal life abiding in him, unless and until he is called out of death into life by the Life-Giving God]

16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life

for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the

brothers.

 By this (pointing forward to the example) we know love (here’s the preeminent example of love- the highest definition), that he (Christ) laid down his life for us, and (therefore) we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. (because Christ loved us sacrificially, so we ought to love one another sacrificially.)

1 John P2R, Week, ….what?

Well, hello…

My best-laid plans over the holidays for slowing the pace for our Partnering to Remember 1 John fell pretty flat pretty quickly. Sometime in early December I announced that I would post in two-week increments instead of weekly, and then,… crickets. My apologies. Clearly, I underestimated the activity level in my home for the holidays, and/or overestimated my ability to keep up! Continue reading “1 John P2R, Week, ….what?”

Fellowship With God; Confidence in Christ, Lesson 12

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1-6)

In our passage this week, John returns to the doctrinal test with an exhortation for us not to believe everything we hear taught about Jesus. A Christian who believes by faith all that is good and true, even if difficult, as taught in the Holy Scriptures, is strong, because the word of God abides in her, and she overcomes the evil one (2:14). A gullible Christian, however, who believes everything that “feels” right and sincere, without the scrutiny of Scripture, is unsteady, and therefore vulnerable to the faith-undermining attacks of the enemy. Continue reading “Fellowship With God; Confidence in Christ, Lesson 12”

1 John P2R, Week 10

This week our passage focuses on the differences between those who are “of the devil,” and those who are “born of God.” These differences highlight the evidence of who is who by the practices of each: those who are of the devil make a practice of sinning, and those who are born of God practice righteousness. John repeats the idea of “making a practice” to emphasis that he is not speaking of one who occasionally sins or does right, but of a pattern of life which is evidence of the condition of one’s heart. As we have already seen in this epistle, believers will sin, but it is not the defining characteristic of their lives. The defining characteristic of a believer’s life is that she has been born of God, and when the child of God sins, she may confess her sins, and our Father is righteous and just to forgive and cleanse! Continue reading “1 John P2R, Week 10”