We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin;
the One who was born of God keeps them safe,
and the evil one cannot harm them.
We know that we are children of God,
and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding,
so that we may know him who is true.
And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ.
He is the true God and eternal life.
Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
I John 5:18-21
We made it! This is the last post on I John. I have finished my obligations for this semester! Our Fall Bible study is over (last Thursday). This study is done. My preps are finished until the New Year. I am beyond happy!
I plan to concentrate on getting ready for Christmas and finish getting settled in from our move last May! I’m determined to get that done before I go out of town for Christmas so I can come home to a more orderly apartment! That would be a dream!
Oh yes, and I have definitely learned that I will NOT do this again! This kind of posting is not my gift or style. I learned it again and I won’t do it. I promise. But I can tell you one thing. I refer back to it in my head all the time when thinking over any teaching I am getting. I do know I have learned a lot from it. Sadly, I don’t seem to be able to convey it to others as well as it is conveyed to me!
I just don’t have what it takes to pass it on over a long period of time in a brief way. That’s my downfall!
Okay, back to I John. This is the final P.S. of I John. I highlighted the three affirmations or assertions that are noted. They each start with “We know…”
The purpose of I John is as follows:
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God
so that you may know that you have eternal life.
I John 5:13
It’s all part of that paradigm! The book is written so we may know… In these last few verses, he spells out what we now know as a result of what he taught. He doesn’t want us to live in doubt.
First affirmation…a righteous life.
That those who truly believe do not sin. What?
It is in the present tense. It is referring to the fact that we who are “born of GOD”, though we sin, will not continue in it. That is not who we are! We are GOD’s, not the evil one’s. GOD will not allow us to stay comfortable in our sin.
He already told us that we are kidding ourselves if we say that we are not sinning anymore at all. (cf. I John 1:8) Well, we aren’t being honest with ourselves either. That is the truth of it from John’s perspective.
GOD is able to keep those who are His!
That’s why church discipline is such that those who aren’t willing to repent of their sin are showing that they don’t belong to GOD. That is why we are to treat them as if they are unbelievers…not shunning them, but loving them to Christ!
It is not something to be done quickly or lightly. But once it is done, it is very serious…because the decision has been made that this person shows signs of being an unbeliever not a believer, therefore is not to take communion. It is a very somber time. The church is saying, treat this person as an unbeliever…love them to me in the same way I loved you to me! That is the heart of evangelism.
It is not a matter of believing a list of certain facts. It is a matter of being in a relationship with GOD, through Christ. Of His loving someone who is unloveable (me) and and my being able to relate to Him because of what Christ did for me.
Second affirmation…I am His child.
This comes from the assessment of a righteous life, love for other Christians, and truth (sound doctrine) re Jesus Christ…that reassures me that I belong to Christ. Or not!
This second affirmation is the one we need to move forward. We can’t live in doubt: do we belong to Christ or not? That is a place Satan wants us to live. As long as we are uncertain where we stand, we will not move forward.
He has everyone except GOD’s family under his control. Some people know they are under his control. They have given themselves to his control in the same way we have given ourselves to GOD.
Others are totally unaware that they are under Satan’s control. They have gone their own way and are passively part of his kingdom without being aware of it.
The end result is the same for both groups despite the fact that some of those people sit in our churches on Sundays and may even look better than many Christians…on the outside. There are the only two options. Are you part of the Kingdom of GOD or the kingdom of Satan?
Third affirmation…Jesus Christ is the authentic representation of GOD
This is the most basic and foundational of the three affirmations found in this passage. It also strikes at the heart of heretical Gnostic theology…something John spoke against frequently in this book. Which is that Jesus Christ is at the heart of the gospel.
The first gift Jesus gave us was to know GOD. Jesus Christ is the One who showed us GOD in human form. The word often used here was the same word for authentic, genuine, true. Jesus was the One who gave us the chance “to know Him who is true.”
The second gift He gave us was the gift of salvation and eternal life! Earlier in I John 4:10 John mentions that Jesus loved us and was the atoning sacrifice for our sin! What an amazing gift!
Three final affirmations so we might know we belong…to Christ
The purpose of I John was that we could know we were children of GOD. John spent the book going over in a variety of ways, the three tests that could show us if we are part of that group or not.
Do we tolerate unrighteousness in our lives? No we won’t be perfect. He assures us of that! But we won’t tolerate sin comfortably to continue over the long term if we are part of GOD’s family. GOD will not allow it. He will not allow us to stay comfortable in sin.
Do we love truth? Especially truth about Jesus, the infinite GOD/man? But also truth in doctrine and life.
Do we love other Believers? I’m not saying this is always an easy thing or that we have a warm, fuzzy feeling. But are we learning to love each other? Often, this is the most difficult test. But it is a true test. Do I love my sisters and brothers in Christ?
Am I learning to forgive them as they sin against me…which they will!
Do I worship and live in a community of people (a local church) who are learning to forgive one another?
Where truth is taught?
Where righteous living is modeled?
This is where the rubber meets the road in terms of our faith. It is not in regard to how many theological gnats we can strain at…or argue about!
That is what is so encouraging about this most down-to-earth book/letter from the apostle John. Just 3 main points that he repeated over and over and over…so that we might know we belong to the family of GOD…or not.
**Link to book that I read before writing these posts.