Fellowship With God; Confidence in Christ, Lesson 11

11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 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. 13 Do not be surprised, 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. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

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. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

In our passage this week we find John returning to the second test of assurance: the social, or, love test. In 2:9-11, he reminded us that loving our “brothers” in the faith is a distinguishing characteristic of believers and he briefly described the effects of this love as walking in the light, as opposed to those who hate their brothers and therefore go about stumbling blindly in the darkness. This time around, John will apply the love test to how we live with one another, showing us that our love is not to be merely “word and talk, but in deed and in truth” (18). Our love for one another does not end with sentimental words, but it flows out of our hearts through our hands and feet into acts of compassion in response to the needs of others. Continue reading “Fellowship With God; Confidence in Christ, Lesson 11”

Standing in the True Grace of God, Lesson 25

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By BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR

This is the final week of our study, and Peter finishes his epistle with strength and conviction. Urging his readers to remain steadfast in their faith and in the truth of God’s Word, based on what God has done for us in Christ, he begins this final section with a “therefore.” This reminds us to look back and consider the context of what he has already written to understand what he is writing here at the end. Continue reading “Standing in the True Grace of God, Lesson 25”

Standing in the True Grace of God, Lesson 22

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By BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR

In this week’s passage (actually, last week’s, as I was late getting this finished) Peter calls out false teachers and strips away their masks and pretenses to reveal the sordid truth behind their lies. This passage is not only difficult to read, it is necessary. For the same reasons parents everywhere warn their children to stay away from strangers, Peter is warning Christians to avoid false teachers in the church. At the end of his first epistle Peter wrote, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The false teachers are on mission from our prowling adversary, attempting to lure the Lord’s sheep away from the safety of the truth, and Peter, appointed to shepherd God’s flock, is warning the sheep to be wary. It’s a warning we must heed even still. Continue reading “Standing in the True Grace of God, Lesson 22”

Standing in the True Grace of God, Lesson 20

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By BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR

In last week’s lesson, we studied Peter’s discussion of the apostolic witness to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This week we will look at how that train of thought flows into his discussion of the divine origin of Scripture. Remember, this is important to Peter’s readers—and to us—because of the false teachers who were—and are even still—infiltrating the church with subversive doctrines and attempting to woo believers away from the truth. Continue reading “Standing in the True Grace of God, Lesson 20”