Make Our Joy Complete
Comments for Study 1
1 John 1:1-2:2
Memory Verse: 4
BEFORE READING PLEASE CLICK HERE TO ANSWER THE QUESTIONS.
BEFORE READING PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW AN THE INTRODUCTION TO 1 JOHN.
BEFORE READING PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW AN OUTLINE TO 1 JOHN.
I. The Word of Life (1-4)
1. What had Apostle John seen and touched? Why did he say that Jesus is "the Word of Life" and that he is that which was from the beginning?
1 John 1:1 "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched--this we proclaim concerning the Word of life."
* "That which was" -The rest of the paragraph makes it clear that John is talking about Jesus Christ. However, John does not use Jesus' name right away. Why? Jesus is much more than a great man who came and was in the flesh. He is eternal God, which was, is, and forever will be.
John starts out here very similar to how Genesis and the Gospel of John start out, "the beginning".
* "from the beginning" -John is referring to creation. Jesus Christ existed eternally before anything was created.
* "which we" -John means himself and the other apostles of Jesus Christ. Mostly, he wants to point out that he heard, saw, and touched Jesus in the flesh. John wanted those who did not meet Jesus physically to know that Jesus was a man amongst men. And there are eye witnesses to this most important fact.
* "have heard" -Jesus spoke, as almost all men do. But I believe that John was not writing this to convey that Jesus talked. Rather, John is thinking and wanting to convey Jesus' many teachings. John heard all of Jesus' teachings for as he points out in his gospel he was with Jesus from the beginning of Jesus' ministry. In fact, that is probably why John wrote in the beginning of his gospel that Jesus is the Word.
Many more people then John and the other apostles heard Jesus' teachings. However, at the time of writing this document the four gospel's were just written. Before they were written Jesus' teachings were passed along by the twelve apostles (John being one of them) and others who heard Jesus. Most believe John wrote his gospel before this letter. Revelation was wrote last.
* "have seen with our eyes" -Jesus was in this reality as a real person with flesh and bones. John points out that he saw Jesus because the Gnostics (a separated sect from Christianity) were teaching that Jesus was not in the flesh, only in the spirit.
* "our hands have touched" -Again, John points out that Jesus was in the flesh. John wanted to make this clear. He saw Jesus and he touched Jesus. In fact, there are ten references in the gospels of people touching Jesus. Most notably, Thomas, the apostle, that is called the doubter, was asked to touch Jesus after he had risen. (Luke 24:39) Jesus being "in the flesh", was (and still is) an important fact to convey because the Gnostics were denying that Jesus was in the flesh.
* "this we" -Again the apostles and those who saw Jesus. They reported the truth of the physical Jesus.
* "proclaim" -John went around the world, as all the apostles did, proclaiming Jesus the Messiah, who was in the beginning, and came down to be one of us in the flesh. Most people believe John wrote this document as a summary of Jesus' teachings while in Ephesus sometime between 70 to 100 A.D. Note: that this document is not written as a letter would be, that is it has no salutations at the beginning and no greetings at the ending, making this either a message or a document to be distributed to all the churches.
Proclaiming about Jesus is one of the duties of Christians, proclaiming inside and outside the church. There have been times that I did not do this outside of the church. There has been some years that I did this much less than other years. I can say that I know why, but it was not easy to admit and accept. There were times that I have not really addressed my lack of witness for Jesus. Yet, God is with me. With Bible study, at home and at church, and with prayer, God has helped me be more responsible to him and my Christian life.
* "the Word of life" -Jesus is life. His words are life. He is the Word of God in the flesh.
2. How was it possible for John to have testified about this Word of Life? (2) What did John do as he saw the word of life coming into this world? Why did John say, "the Father and Jesus his Son"?
1 John 1:2 "The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us."
* "The life appeared" -John used the word "appeared" because Jesus existed before his physical life here on earth.
* "we have seen it and testify to it" -There are different ways to know about God; through the light of creation, through the word of God, through the Holy Spirit, and in some respect through reason. But the best way to know about God is seeing him and experiencing him. Jesus, whom John saw and testified to, came from God's presence to where we are, and he has condescended to give us knowledge of himself, his purposes, and his will for us. The Christian church has held that God did reveal himself preeminently is his Son. John 1:18 says, "No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known." So now the question is not what any of us thinks abut God. Rather, the question is, "What has God revealed through his Son, Jesus? That which was recorded in the Bible, some of it written by John and the other apostles, eyewitness' to Jesus."
* "and we proclaim to you this eternal life" -Acts 4:20 records John and Peter saying, "For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."
Since the beginning of Christianity, the message of Christianity is eternal life through the resurrected Jesus Christ. Life is not just from birth to death. Nor is it a reincarnation of lives in one body after another. Rather, life for all humans begins with conception and goes on to eternity. After the physical body dies, the spirit lives on. In spiritual body, all will stand before the judgment seat of God. At the judgment seat of God, either one will be found guilty and be sentenced to hell, described as a place "where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'" in Mark 9:48, and "the second death" in Revelations 21:8. Or one will be found innocent and be lead into heaven, describe as a place where "he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth." Isaiah 25:8
* "which was with the Father" -In his gospel, John wrote, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it... The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
3. What is John's purpose of writing this letter to the readers after he had seen and heard the eternal life? (3b) What is the characteristics of Christian fellowship? How is it different from human fellowship of the people of the world? What is another purpose from the author to write this letter? (4)
1 John 1:3 "We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ."
* "so that you also may have fellowship with us" -John had a point to his testimony about Jesus. That was, so that he whom he was writing, may have fellowship with him and other Christians. In 2:12-14, 19; 3:1, and 5:13 John made it clear that this letter was addressed to believers. But the letter itself does not indicate who they were or where they lived. The fact that it mentions no one by name suggests it was a circular letter sent to Christians in a number of places. Evidence from early Christian writers places the apostle John in Ephesus during most of his later years (A.D. 70-100). So John must have realized that not only Christians would be reading his letters, but also those who were going to church and still did not have fellowship in the family of God through Jesus Christ.
Since the time of writing this letter was just before 100 A.D. second, and even third generations Christians would be reading this letter. Not only that, but also children who grew up in Christian homes, but did not accept Jesus as their own, would be hearing this letter as well. So the directed reader of this letter was believers, and also those on the road to becoming believers.
* "And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ." -God is our Father. Jesus also said this. In fact, he taught us to say, "Our Father, who art in heaven..." We can come to God, our heavenly Father, and have a relationship with him, as one might have with a good human father, only better.
Jesus is God's Son because he became flesh and was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in Mary's virgin womb, rather than by man sperm. Jesus' relationship with the Father is unique and complete. There is no way to understand it or to explain it. There is a saying that goes, "Seeing is believing." Well, one might say of the relationship that the Father and Son has, "Experiencing is knowing." Only we can not experience this love. Thus, we can not know it fully. Yet, our relationship with the Father and the Son gives us a glimpse of the relationship that the Father has with the Son, and the Son has with the Father.
John 14:8-11 says of Jesus' relationship with the Father. "Philip said, 'Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.' Jesus answered: 'Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.'" We can experience this relationship, when we have a relationship with Jesus. Yet we can only experience as our limited existence will allow.
Holman's Bible Dictionary says, "Koinonia was Paul's favorite word to describe a believer's relationship with the risen Lord and the benefits of salvation which come through Him. On the basis of faith believers have fellowship with the Son (1 Cor. 1:9). We share fellowship in the gospel (1 Cor. 9:23; Phil. 1:5). Paul probably meant that all believers participate together in the saving power and message of the good news. Believers also share together a fellowship with the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 13:14), which the apostle understood as a most important bond for unity in the life of the church (Phil. 2:1-4)."
* "fellowship" -In Greek, the language this letter was written in, this word is "koinonia". It is pronounced, "koy-nohn-ee'-ah". It means, "partnership, i.e. (literal) participation, or (social) intercourse, or (pecuniary) benefaction :- (to) communicate (-ation), communion, (contri-) distribution."
In John's days, relationships had a lot of meaning (compared to our own day that is). Mainly, this is true because the average person didn't have things to entertain them like we do today. The only entertaining that was done for an average person in John's day, was done through interpersonal relationships. This does not mean that all relationships were good in those does. What I do mean to say is, in general, relationships were much more established and worked through in those days.
However, Christian fellowship is different than the fellowship amongst people in the world, whether in John's day or present day. Christian relationships are family relationships, eternal families. We have a common Father, God, and a common sibling in Jesus, the Son of God. Jesus is the Lord for all of us. He is our Savior, Provider, Prince of Peace, Counselor, and Friend. Ours is a growing and dynamic communion with Jesus and other Christians. We have the same faith, privileges, promises, love, and so much more. In short, we share all in Christ. Like John, we have relationships with non-believers. But the relationship we have with other believers is different, its greater. Often mere human relationships don't last long and are conditional. But spiritual relationships in Christ the Lord are greater and eternal.
Not all Christians can say that they have relationships with other Christians, or at least not the relationships that they expected, or think they should have. This is brought about by the sins and failures of self and others. At times Christian relationship can have differences that lead to separation. For example, Paul and Barnabas separated upon a disagreement about Mark. (Acts 15:36-41) This is unfortunate. Yet, in heaven this differences with be reduced to such insignificance that they will evaporate out of existence. In heaven there is no war, nor the sins and failures of humans that causes them.
Holman's Bible Dictionary says, "for Paul, koinonia was a most appropriate term to describe the unity and bonding that exists between Christians by virtue of the fact that they share together in the grace of the gospel. When Paul wished to express the essential oneness of the apostolic leadership of the church he said concerning James, the Lord's brother, Peter, and John, that they "gave to me . the right hands of fellowship" (Galatians 2:9). When we realize that this expression of koinonia came on the heels of one of the most hotly debated issues in the early church, namely the status of Gentiles in the people of God (Galatians 2:1-10; Acts 15), we can see how powerful and all encompassing Paul's notion of Christian fellowship actually was."
Fellowship, which is from the Greek word "koinonia", is where Christians get the term, communion. Holman's Bible Dictionary says, "Immediately after Paul spoke of "fellowship" with Christ through participation in the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 10:16), he said, "since there is one bread, we who are many are one body" (1 Cor. 10:17 NAS). This illustrates clearly Paul's belief that fellowship with Christ was to issue into fellowship between believers. Once we grasp this, it is easy to understand why Paul was so angry over the mockery that the Corinthians were making of the Lord's Supper. While claiming to partake of this sacred meal, many Corinthian Christians ignored the needs of their brothers and sisters and actually created factions and divisions (1 Cor. 11:17-18), "for when the time comes to eat, each of you goes ahead with your own supper, and one goes hungry and another becomes drunk" (1 Cor. 11:21 NRSV). Because the "fellowship" among the Corinthians themselves was so perverted, Paul could go so far as to say "when you come together, it is not really to eat the Lord's supper" (1 Cor. 11:20 NRSV)."
Our fellowship with Christ is not always good things, at least from a human point of view. Christian's fellowship with Jesus also means participating in the suffering of Christ. Jesus said in Luke 14:27, "And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple." In Philip. 3:10-11 Paul expressed his desire to know suffering in Jesus. He says, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."
Knowing and attaining the resurrection was not the only reason Paul sought out suffering in Christ. He also suffered for fellow Christians, with whom he had fellowship with. He also indicated in this verse that his afflictions were filling up what was still lacking in regard to Christ afflictions. Col. 1:24 says, "Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church."
In fact death, the death of Jesus, is at work in our bodies. This to is part of fellowship with Christ. 2 Cor. 4:7-12 says, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you."
All this fellowship in suffering may sound depressing, oppressing, and dispiriting. But there is much benefit in suffering in Christ Jesus' suffering, for it resulted in glory. And thus will ours. Philip. 2:8-11 says, Jesus, "being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." And Romans 8:17 says, "Now if we are children, then we are heirs-- of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."
Not only does suffering bring glory, but there is also benefits to suffering, that we will experience in this world. Romans 5:3-5 says, "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
1 John 1:4 "We write this to make our joy complete."
* "We" -In is not known who "we" may refer to. Perhaps John meant him and the church at Ephesus, or perhaps him and the other apostles, or perhaps other Christians that we do not know about, but those who received this letter did.
* "We write this to" -John wrote about fellowship with other Christians and with Jesus a specific purpose in mind.
* "to make our joy complete" -The NIV note says that "our" is "your" in other manuscripts.
John's joy in the Lord could not be complete unless his readers shared the true knowledge of the Christ. John wrote in 2 John 1:12, "I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete."
What is joy? When we receive eternal life, joy and the gates to joy are opened to us. We have joy because we have fellowship with the Father, the Son, and with other Christians. We have joy when we do the Father's work, like advancing the gospel and ministering to others. We have joy when we help others grow in faith and in Christ. We have joy when we give, as the Bible says, "It is better to give than receive."
Our joy is not in actions however. Acts may bring joy, but ultimately our joy is in Christ Jesus. He left us his words so that we could have his joy in us. John 17:13 quotes Jesus saying, "'I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.'" And John 15:11 quotes Jesus saying, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."
Finally, Jesus' complete joy comes when we ask for it. John 16:24 quotes Jesus saying, "Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete." This is and can be a mystery. How can we have complete joy in suffering? How can one be down, but only a short time later be filled with joy? By asking and seeing those prayers answered in joy.
Paul said in Philip. 4:12. "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." He was referring more to finical needs than feeling joy and being joyous. Yet, contentment is associated with inner joy, complete joy. In Jesus is complete joy.
II. Walking in the Light (5-10)
4. What is the message John received and declared to them? (5) What do light and darkness stand for? Why do you think that it was necessary for John to declare the message concerning God as we consider the Gnostic crisis and the other circumstances in the Church in John's time?
1 John 1:5 "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all."
* "from him" -Jesus
* "and declare to you" -The apostles received the word of Jesus, God in the flesh, and declared it to others. All Christians have the word of God and should not be ashamed to pass it along. John uses the words declare, proclaim, and testify to you several times in this letter.
In John's day the Gnostics were a group of people who separated from the church. Not that they were a part of the body of Christ. Rather, they went to the church services (in those days held in people's homes). But they did not accept all of the teachings about Jesus Christ. In fact, they rejected some of the most basic truths. When given an ultimatum to accept the truth or leave, they chose to leave. Thus, they started their own group and called themselves the Gnostics.
The Gnostics believed that the flesh counts for nothing, and the sprit counted for everything. Therefore, anything a person does in the flesh is O.K. because it counts for nothing. And, they believed that they should deny the flesh of everything. In these teachings they encouraged sin. These teachings are still with modern day religion, even though the name Gnostic does not appear as the name of any church or organization. In light of these heresies it was important for John to proclaim the truth. And because heresies such as these are still around in one fashion or another, Christians still need to proclaim the truth.
* "God" -In Greek "theos", pronounced "theh'-os"; meaning "of uncertain affinity; a deity, especially the supreme Divinity; figurative a magistrate."
* "light" -In Greek "phos" or "foce". Its from an obsolete phao (to shine or make manifest, especially by rays. It means, "luminousness (in the widest application, natural or artificial, abstract or concrete, literal or figurative)."
Light is to represent perfection, purity, holiness, glory, life, truth, absoluteness, fullness of excellency, goodness, and self acting. Psalm 27:1 says, "The Lord is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?" It is said that God's jealousy and justice burns as a most bright and vehement flame.
* "God is light" -Holman's Bible dictionary says, "That which penetrates and dispels darkness. The concept of "light&" appears numerous times in both the Old and New Testaments. God created light (Genesis 1:3). However, a careful reading of the Scriptures reveals that the physical entity that we call "light" is actually only the second form of light in the universe, since everywhere the Bible declares that God Himself is light. Psalm 27:1 says, "The Lord is my light." In Psalm 104:2, the psalmist testified of the Lord who "covered himself" in light. In John 8:12 Jesus, the God-man, said, "I am the light of the world." Such expressions make at least two things abundantly clear. First, the origin of light rests with God. Second, in some sense God Himself is the very essence of light. Such statements do not suppose that God is light and nothing more, but they do stress that God is the ultimate source of all knowing and understanding. To this end Psalm 119:105 informs us that Gods Word is a "light" to one's path. Here the emphasis lies upon perception and understanding gained when darkness is dispelled and light revealed."
"This last concept becomes even clearer in John 3:19; people love darkness better than light, because their deeds are evil. Such statements reveal that the character of light is to reveal and to provide understanding and purity, while the opposite of light or darkness is designed to obscure, to deceive, and to harbor impurity."
"A small problem confronts the interpreter who discovers that Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 5:14, "Ye are the light of the world." Yet in John 8:12, Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." What appears to be a contradiction is not one at all. The moon provides light for the earth just as the sun does. Yet, the actual source of light for both the sun and the moon is the sun. The moon only reflects the light of the sun. By the same token, Jesus, the God-man, is the source of all light. His disciples become reflectors in a darkened world, transmitting through their lives the true light of the eternal Son of God."
* "darkness" -In Greek "skotia" pronounced, "skot-ee'-ah". It is from the Greek work "skotos". It means; "dimness, obscurity (literal or figurative)."
Darkness represents sin, evil, impurity, despair, meaningless, without direction, ignorant, and death. John wrote in his gospel, 3:19-21, "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
5. What should a Christian first do if he wants to have a right fellowship with God and his Son Jesus? What does he mean by "walk in the light" and "walk in the darkness"?
1 John 1:6 "If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth."
* "If we claim to have" -Claiming to have does not necessarily mean that people have. Often people claim to be Christians, they may be sincere about that claim, but it does not mean that they are in the body of Jesus Christ. Just like Jesus said in the parable of the kingdom of God in Matthew 13:31-32, "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches." The birds come and are not fruit of the tree, but come to eat the fruit. They are people in the tree of the kingdom, but not part of it. They claim to be a part of it, but are not.
* "fellowship with him" -To be in living, spiritual union with God.
* "walk' -Walk here is a metaphor for living. Walking is an action. It is practical, not just theoretical understanding how to walk.
* "walk in darkness" -This is living a life of sin, wickedness, error, immorality, impurity, and after the pattern of the world.
* "we lie" -John 8:12 says, "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
* "and do not live by the truth" -John used the word "truth" a lot, both in his letters and in his gospel. Paul also uses and describes "truth". Therefore, we can conclude that truth is important in Christianity and in a Christian's life.
John often linked Jesus to truth. Jesus himself said, "I am the way, the life and the truth." John, at the beginning of his gospel said, "Jesus can full of grace and truth."
In regards to "living by the truth", truth and sincerity are associated. Both are opposed to malice and evil. Truth is not simply a matter of prepositional accuracy. It is sincere belief that changes one's life by listening to and accepting Jesus. In testimony before Pilate, Jesus declared: "For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice" (John 18:37 NRSV).
Living a life by truth is described in the Bible, in Jesus, the Lord's words. In his high priestly prayer, Jesus prayed: "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth"(John 17:17-19 NRSV).
6. What is the essential condition for the true Christian fellowship to be established? (6-7) What is the work of Christ that is to be brought forth as true Christian fellowship is established? So what can you learn about the importance of public confession of sins for Christians? (8-10)
1 John 1:7 "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."
* "walk in the light" -Walking in the light is a life characterized by holiness and truth. Ephesians 5:8 says, "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light ..." Ephesians 5:14 says, "for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."
Jesus himself is often compared to light. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." And in John 9:5, "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." In John 12:35-36, Jesus is recorded saying, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light."
* "we have fellowship with one another" -True Christians, who walk with Jesus is spirit and truth, have fellowship with other Christians. No Christian is a loner, or can be a loner. Being a Christian is having fellowship with Jesus and fellowship with other Christians. For this reason Christians meet together for worship and for engaging in God's work.
* "the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin" -Matthew Henry wrote, "The eternal life, the eternal Son, had put on flesh and blood, and so became Jesus Christ. Jesus had shed his blood for us, or died to wash us from our sins in his own blood. His blood applied to us discharges us from the guilt of all sin, both original and actual, inherent and committed, and so far we stand righteous in his sight, and not only so, but his blood procures for us those sacred influences by which sin is to be subdued more and more, till it is quite abolished."
Holman wrote, "In the language of sacrifice we have "expiation" (removal of sins, Romans 3:25); "sprinkling of the blood of Jesus" (1 Peter 1:1-2); "redeemed by precious blood as of a lamb without spot and without blemish" (1 Peter 1:19); "blood of His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7); "blood that cleanses the conscience" (Hebrews 9:14); and "blood of an eternal covenant" (Hebrews 13:20). In legal language we have "justification" (Romans 5:9); "redemption" (Ephesians 1:7); been redeemed to God by His blood (Rev. 5:9). Such metaphors show that only God could provide atonement; Jesus, the God-man was both Priest and Offering, both Redeemer and the One intimately involved with the redeemed."
* "all" -The NIV note says the Greek word may also read "every". In any case no sin committed is to great to be forgiven.
* "sin" -This word is "hamartia" in Greek. It is pronounced, "ham-ar-tee'-ah" meaning "offense". In can be said that "sin" is the key word in this letter, for it appears the most, twenty-seven (27) times.
1 John 1:8 "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."
* "If we claim to be without sin" -Claiming to be does not necessarily mean that it is so. The Gnostics believed that the flesh counted for nothing. Therefore, they were without sin, because that which was done in the flesh didn't count.
* "we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us" -The Bible clearly says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Each of us has gone his own way." Matthew Henry wrote, "The Christian religion is the religion of sinners, of such as have sinned, and in whom sin in some measure still dwells. The Christian life is a life of continued repentance, humiliation for and mortification of sin, of continual faith in, thankfulness for, and love to the Redeemer, and hopeful joyful expectation of a day of glorious redemption, in which the believer shall be fully and finally acquitted, and sin abolished forever."
1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
* "If" -Jesus forgives sin, but first must come the confession of our sin. Confession is the prerequisite of forgiveness. If we don't confess we have sinned specifically, we are not forgiven.
* "we" -Referring to not only non-believers, but more precisely, John is talking about him and other believers. John did not exclude himself from sinning.
* "If we confess our sins" -Confessing our sin is not just admitting it to another human being. Although that may be needed at times, it is not the important confession. Sin is an offense to God. Therefore, sin should be admitted to, in the form of a confession; saying, "I did this sin and I am to blame only. I have done wrong of my own accord, and am fully guilty of committing it. I was wrong."
* "he" -Jesus Christ is the only one who forgives sin. Paul said, "Jesus came to forgive sinners..."
* "he is faithful and just" -God is faithful to his word. He proclaimed to the people and prophets of old that the Messiah to come is the means to forgiveness of sin. He who believes in Jesus, and confesses their sins while asking for forgiveness will be forgiven. Isaiah 53:11 says, "After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities."
This term, faithful and just, is virtually a single concept. It indicates that God's response toward those who confess their sins will be in accordance wit his nature and his gracious commitment to his people.
* "and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" -Jesus is faithful to forgive sins.
1 John 1:10 "If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives."
* Jesus is the Living Word. The Bible is the Written Word. Both are true. The Bible says, "For all have sinned." If a person were to say that he or she does not and have sinned, then they contradict Jesus, who is God, and the Bible, which is Jesus' word recorded. Thus, if a person were to say he does not sin, he is saying Jesus and the Bible are false and a lie. In conclusion, since they contradict the Bible and Jesus, then the Word in writing and being has no place in their life. We can not accept only a part of the Bible, and only some aspects of Jesus personality and character. This has always been and always will be the beginnings of false religion.
III. Our Defender Jesus Christ (2:1-2)
7. How can John's writing this letter help to prevent the readers from falling into sin?
1 John 2:1-2 "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world."
* "My dear children" -John did not mean physical children. Rather, he was talking about spiritual children, not that he is the Father. John knows that God is the Father of all. Hence, John speaks of our heavenly Father in the next sentence.
* "I write this" -John is referring both to the letter and the previous subjects of joy, admitting we sin, confessing our sin, and the forgiveness of sin through Jesus' blood.
* "so that you will not sin" -Christians are not to sin. This does not say that we do sin. Nor does it say that we, by ourselves are capable of not sinning. But it does say that we are to avoid sinning with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength. This is phrased in such a way to recognize that we can sin. If we could not sin, than there would be no reason to write this. Instead he would say, "I write this because we can not sin." Once one sees God's holiness, he should seek holiness.
8. What does the author encourage them to do if in fact they should fall into sin? Why is it important for sinners to be aware of Jesus being their defender? How is it possible for Jesus to defend our cause? How can we make the right circumstances so that Jesus can make a defense on our behalf to the heavenly Father?
* "But if anyone does sin" -John uses the word anyone, and in the previous sentence he called the people he was writing to children, meaning spiritual children, children of the faith in Jesus Christ.
* "we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ" -Jesus is the only one who can speak to the Father. He is the only one who is in the presence of the Father.
These are just some of the verses that speaks of Jesus place in heaven, with the father. Mark 12:36, "David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: "'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet."' Mark 14:62, "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." Mark 16:19, "After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God." Acts 2:33-34, "Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, "'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand." Acts 5:31, "God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel." Acts 7:55-56 "
But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." Romans 8:34, "Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us."
Through Jesus we keep our relationship with the Father, for accusations come when we sin, like sharks come when they smell blood in the water.
* "in our defense" -As long as we are in the body of flesh, we can fall prey to the sin. Thus, we, who have been forgiven, need one who will speak in our defense in heaven.
John is thinking of a Roman court of law when he speaks of Jesus as our defender. The Roman court of law is very similar to modern day courts in many countries of the world, including USA. In such courts there is the accused, a judge, a prosecuting attorney, a defending attorney, and a recorder. The judge oversees the case and makes the decision. The attorneys are experts in the law. The prosecuting attorney makes all kinds of accusations against the accused. The defending attorney speaks on behalf of the accused.
Jesus is the only one who can defend our cause because he shed his blood for us. Only blood can cleanse us. We can make the right circumstances so that Jesus can make a defense on our behalf to the heavenly Father if we have our sins forgiven through Jesus' blood, repentance (a retentive heart), confess our sins, and don't deceive ourselves.
* "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins" -Atoning comes from the word, atonement. It is from the Greek word, "hilasmos". John's letter was originally written in Greek. When the Bible was translated into English the translator found that there was no English equivalent for the Greek word. So he made up the word, atonement. He used this word because broken up it is the three words, "at one meet". These three words describes the Greek word.
Atonement refers to Jesus as one who is an expiatory, to make amends or reparation for us. The King James Version translates this word as "propitiation" in this sentence and "atonement" elsewhere. Holman's Bible Dictionary says atonement means, "reconciliation, was associated with sacrificial offerings to remove the effects of sin and in the New Testament, refers specifically to the reconciliation between God and humanity effected by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ."
* "sacrifice" -Jesus makes amends between God and man by removing man's sin. God's righteousness demands that all sin be punished with death and hell. The Bible says, "Yet he does not let the guilty go unpunished." Hell is complete separation from God. In hell one is all alone for eternity. Someone has to pay the price of sin, according to the law. If not for Christ this would only be paid by the guilty party; me, myself, and I. But Jesus, who was without sin, could, and did, pay the price for that sin. He sacrificed himself with beatings, mockery, crucifixion, humiliation, separation from society, separation from God the Father, and death. In the Old Testament, God gave mankind animal sacrifice as a symbol of Jesus sacrifice to come. And Jesus, the perfect sacrifice, did fulfill that promise of God.
* "not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world" -I have read several commentaries and none of them, thus far, have expounded on the meaning of this phrase. "Our" obviously implies the sins of the children of God, the believers of Jesus. Therefore, "the whole world" refers to everyone ever born and everyone that will be born. Perhaps this verse coincided with Jesus' words in Matthew 12:31, "And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven."