Introduction to 1st John
In this Bible Study of 1st John, it’s my hope to bring to light what John and God want us to understand. Some grownups are still looking for that fairy tale world where all their dreams will come true. We must face it: fairy tales are for children. Most of us have given up looking for a world that doesn’t exist. We are members of the here and now. We live in the real world, one that’s full of deceit, lies and cruelty, and where nothing seems to satisfy. Our playground has turned into a battleground of good and evil, a world where there’s no stable playing field. Everywhere you look you see the fakes and phonies, those who promise you the moon and never deliver anything. It’s like cotton candy when you look at it, big and fluffy. You think you have a lot of candy, but when you take that first big bite, you find that it dissolves into nothing. That’s the way the world does you. Just when you think you’ve made it, that you’ve got what you always wanted, it vanishes into nothing.
What people are really looking for is something that’s real, something that’s lasting, something to truly satisfy the inner desires of their heart. Wealth and fame we know cannot satisfy; just look at the wealthy and the famous crowd. As a whole, they turn to alcohol and drugs seeking something that will fill that emptiness in their inner being or soul. Many of their cravings for that peace only take them deeper into despair, destroying their lives forever. They search everywhere in the things of this world, but they never try the true source of peace, Jesus Christ.
Here’s the problem: In the modern church age, we are overrun with fakes and phonies. Who can we believe? Who can we really trust and have faith in? The answer is those who preach and teach the Bible just like it is and live their lives in accordance with the Word. Take no man’s word for anything until you compare it to the scripture for truth. The one and only absolute authority is the Bible. By Bible, I mean the original King James Version; in my opinion the King James is the true authority. It’s been used for nearly four hundred years; and by its power and authority, millions if not billions of people have been led to Jesus Christ as their Savior. Then, in the early twentieth century, man decided that the Bible wasn’t correct and needed to be changed. Now we have over one hundred versions/translations, where parts have been completely left out and parts have been changed to suit man and his god-like ego. It’s no wonder that people are at a loss what to truly believe.
This is the same problem that John faced concerning the church. From the very beginning, there arose false teachers who would try to pervert the gospel and lead good, well-meaning people into apostasy. We have the same problem in today’s world. We have two main groups who go from door to door trying to lead Christians who are ignorant of the Bible into their apostate religions. They have a form of godliness, but they deny the truth of the Word. Scripture teaches us that from such we must turn away. (2 Timothy 3:5 – Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.)
These followers of Satan conspire to pull down the church of God, to so dilute the power of the Word that the church loses its focus upon Jesus as the only begotten Son of God. There is a group today who teach that there are other ways to go to heaven besides through Jesus Christ. We know this is a lie of the devil, because scripture says so. (John 10:7-9 – 7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. John 14:6 – Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 1 Timothy 2:5 – For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;) John wants to bring the church’s focus, their spiritual minds, back to the truth of the gospel, the truth that Jesus is the Christ and that there is no other way to make heaven their home except through Jesus.
In John’s day, there were many false teachers, but there were three that appear to be the worst. John Phillips Commentary says: “Three major heresies had made inroads into the church when John wrote toward the end of the first century of the Christian era. The Ebionites denied the deity of Christ – to them He was just another created being. The Docetists denied the humanity of Christ. Believing that He had not come in the flesh, they taught that He was some kind of phantom who had no corporeal being. The Cerinthians denied the union of the two natures of Christ (the human and the divine). Their notion was that “the Christ” descended upon the man, Jesus, at the time of His baptism and departed from Him at the time of His crucifixion. John indignantly denied all three heresies.” Satan’s efforts to destroy the church is nothing new. From the time the gospel was first preached until now, the battle has been going on. God has always had a remnant that will serve Him. Are you part of that remnant? (Jeremiah 23:3 – And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. Romans 11:5 – Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.)
As John was concerned about the church in his day and did his best to keep it true to the Lord, it now behooves you and I to take up the cross. It falls to us to carry on where John left off. We are to preach the true Word of God, to open people’s eyes to the dangers around them, and to anchor them to the precious cross, in the true Word of God. As John begins to write this epistle, we need to remember that he was a very old man. He knew that his days on earth were numbered, and that what he did, he must do quickly. John’s life was a long one and filled with so much that he had heard and seen. He was one of the twelve disciples called by Jesus. In his beginnings, John had lived in Bethsaida, a fishing village. As far as we know he was a member of a family of four: his father, a fisherman; his mother, Salome; himself and his brother James. John was close to the Lord, a member of the inner circle with Peter and James, his brother. John walked with the Lord, was taught by the Lord, saw the miracles and was there when Jesus ascended back into heaven. John had firsthand knowledge of Jesus. As we study 1st John, we will find that John looked at everything in certain terms, either right or wrong, black or white, light or dark, love or hate or life or death. Sin is sin, and there’s no such thing as “bad sin” and “not so bad sin.” Sin is sin, and sin condemns the soul of man to a devil’s hell.
Bro. David D. Wilson
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 upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
The book of Saint John starts where all narratives should start: in the beginning. Saint John 1:1 tells us: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John is making it plain that Jesus was there when the world was created, that He was involved in the creation work, that Jesus is God (the Son of God) and He and His Father are one. Some people have a problem with the fact that Jesus was man and God at the same time. They ask, was He God or was He man? They don’t seem to be able to understand that Jesus was God in a man’s body. If we look at His birth, we see that Mary was a virgin, that the Holy Ghost moved within her and she became with child. The child’s Father was God. This child, like all children, was born of His mother’s womb. Like all children, He had to learn to crawl before He could walk and run. The difference was in His loving nature, because He knew who He was and what He came to earth to do.
At the age of twelve, He was found in the temple sitting amid the doctors asking questions, and they “were astonished at his understanding and answers.” About the age of thirty, He began His ministry with signs and wonders following, then at the end of three-and-a-half years of preaching and healing the sick, Jesus was crucified on a cross for the sins of the whole world. After His death and resurrection, the disciples began to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ; and the church came into being and began to grow and spread.
All of this brings us to the first Epistle of John and why he wrote it. John was worried about the church, because false teachings were coming in. These false teachings were leading people away from the truth of God’s Word. At this time, John was a very old man, but he felt that he had to do something. So, his only option was to write letters to remind these saints of the importance of staying true to the Word of God and what they had been taught from the beginning, lest there come in those who would lead them away unto falsehoods, teaching the doctrines of men. Satan is a very serious enemy; his goal is to destroy the church of the Living God. One thing we must remember is that for everything God has, the devil has a counterfeit. Scripture tells us that there will come in those who have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof and from such to turn away.
2 Timothy 3:5
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
This is the message of 1st John. As we look into the scriptures, it is our aim to shed light on John’s intent, as he wrote his epistles to the churches.
“That which was from the beginning . . .” In Verse 1, John wasn’t speaking of the creation of the world, but of Jesus and His life, and His preaching of the gospel to man. God revealed to John about the creation of the world, as John wasn’t there. But John was with Jesus. John was one of the first disciples that Jesus called, along with Peter and James. John was an eyewitness to the ministry of Jesus; this was something he knew personally. John goes into detail about Jesus to falsify the claims of the religious sects that were trying to lead people away from the truth. John gives an eyewitness account because he was there, the Gnostics were not, and their information came from their imagination or what they supposed to be true. John goes on to remind the church that he had heard the words, the teachings of Jesus with his own ears. He knew the truth, and there was no guesswork; he was there during it all. He walked with Jesus and talked with Jesus. For three-and-one-half years, he was an interactive part of Christ’s life and ministry. He saw the dead raised to life, and he saw the blind and deaf made to see and hear. He saw the demons cast out and peace once again come into people’s lives, leaving them free from torment. All these things John heard and saw, oh, what memories he must have had, to have walked with the Master. John goes on to say that their hands (the disciples) had handled the Lord; in other words, they had touched Him on many occasions.
As this passage ends, John calls Jesus the Word of life; the Creator of this world, the Word, the Son of God. In The Wiersbe Bible Commentary, the author makes note of Jesus being called the Word. “Why does Jesus Christ have this name? Because Christ is to us what our words are to others. Our words reveal to others just what we think and how we feel. Christ reveals to us the mind and heart of God. He is the living means of communication between God and men. To know Jesus Christ is to know God.
“John made no mistake in his identification of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Son of the Father – the Son of God. John warned us several times in his letter not to listen to the false teachers who tell lies about Jesus Christ. If a man is wrong about Jesus Christ, he is wrong about God, because Jesus Christ is the final and complete revelation of God to men.”
False teaching was so bad in John’s day (just as today), that John warns the church to not even let them come into their homes. We have the same problem today, the occult groups going from door to door leading people astray and away from the truth.
1 John 1:2
(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
John in this second verse reinforces what he said in the first verse. “For the life was manifested,” or visible; Jesus the eternal life came in the flesh, so that man might see and hear him proclaim the way for man to share in this eternal life through Him, the Son of God. At the time John wrote these letters, there were very few people still alive that had seen and heard Jesus in His earthly ministry. Again, John affirms that he had seen Jesus and heard him teach, that he was there when Jesus preached the sermon on the mountain and that he was there when Jesus turned the water into wine. He was present when Jesus called Lazarus and raised him from the dead. It was there at the tomb where Jesus told everyone, “I am the resurrection, and the life.” In the next verse, He said, “And whoseoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”
14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.
16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.
18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:
19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.
21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.
29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.
30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him.
31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.
32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,
34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!
37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?
38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.
39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
John says, I’m a witness; I’m not lying to you. I’m telling you the truth. I’m trying to show you what the Lord did and can do today. He was made flesh for you and me. The people that John was writing to only knew of the Jesus that they had heard of and that they had experienced at salvation. John is saying, believe me, believe me, I won’t lead you astray. Listen and learn what God has done for you because He loves you so much.
1 Peter 1:8
Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
We don’t have to see Jesus to believe; we have felt His saving grace and power, and that power has transformed our lives. We’ve been changed, the old carnal man who desires the things of the world is dead, and in his place is a new man in Christ Jesus, whose desire now is to serve God and live a life that is pleasing unto the Lord. What a difference Jesus makes in our hearts. Jesus called the Pharisees the children of the devil, and they were the religious sect of that time. What Jesus really was saying is that these Pharisees were counterfeits of what they should have been. To quote The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: “A counterfeit Christian – and they are common – is something like a counterfeit ten-dollar bill.”
Suppose you have a counterfeit bill and think it’s genuine. You use it to pay for a tank of gas. The gas station manager uses the bill to buy supplies. The supplier uses the bill to pay the grocer. The grocer bundles the bill up with forty-nine other ten dollar bills and takes it to the bank. And the teller says, I’m sorry, but this bill is counterfeit.
That ten-dollar bill may have done a lot of good while it was in circulation, but when it arrived at the bank, it was exposed for what it really was and put out of circulation.
So it will be with a counterfeit Christian. He may do many good things in this life, but when he faces the final judgment, he will be rejected. “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out demons? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22-23)
Each of us must ask himself honestly, Am I a true child of God, or am I a counterfeit Christian? Have I truly been born of God? If you have never truly met Jesus and made him your personal Savior, there’s no time like the present to invite Him into your heart and life, to truly know that you know you are saved, born again, blood washed and on your way to heaven as a child of God. As one man once said, “How sweet it is.” Truer words have never been spoken. How sweet it is to trust in Jesus, the lover of my soul.
1 John 1:3
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
This third verse carries the same message as verses one and two. John is so desirous that the church believes what he’s saying, that he repeats it over and over. Remember when we were in school, how we learned our lessons by repeating or writing them over and over until we knew how to spell our words, or recite a poem for the class? This is what John is doing, trying to instill the message of Jesus Christ within their minds.
Then John begins to talk about fellowship. We need and must have fellowship with our Lord. This constant fellowship is what helps keep our lives in line with God and his word. This fellowship comes on a greater level as we study God’s Word and pray every day. Keeping in the word and praying form a tight bond which keeps our minds focused on the good things of God.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
We must have fellowship with God every day. At the same time, it is very important that Christians have fellowship one with another. What I am speaking about is churches getting together for a worship service, afterwards enjoying a meal or something where Christian brothers and sisters can talk and enjoy each other’s company, a time of being with those who are of like faith. Fellowship must also be practiced among the church family. We must realize that we are not just families who go to church, but that everyone in the church is part of the family of God. That’s why we call each other brother or sister, because we are. We have our immediate family, but as Christians our family is part of a bigger family, our church family, which is part of a bigger family, the family of God. A very wise man said one time that fellowship is more than one fellow in the same ship. Without fellowship, we sometimes get to the place where we feel like no one cares but us, that we are all alone. We sometimes feel like Elijah, but, like Elijah we are not alone. There are many pastors who today have that feeling of loneliness. I would encourage these pastors to join a fellowship or even start a fellowship with like-minded churches. Don’t try to make this journey alone.
1 John 1:4
And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
John is telling the Christians that the reason for his letters to them is to encourage them to enter unto the fellowship with him. This fellowship that we have with the Father and the Son, our connection with Jesus and God, brings a joy into our heart and lives. It’s a lasting joy that will remain in the trials of this life. We must remember that there’s a difference between joy and happiness. Joy is lasting, and it comes from the heart; happiness or fun is momentary and fades away. We can have fun with our friends, but when they leave, the fun comes to an end. The joy from serving God lasts as long as we walk with the Master. The devil makes it his job to try and rob us of that joy and sometimes succeeds. That’s when we must do like King David and go before the Lord and ask God to restore the joy of our salvation.
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Despite what the world says about Christians, we aren’t missing out on anything. God never asked us to give up anything that He does not replace with something far better. The Wiersbe Bible Commentary states: “Karl Marx wrote, ‘The first requisite for people’s happiness is the abolition of religion.’” But the apostle John wrote, in effect, “Faith in Jesus Christ gives you a joy that can never be duplicated by the world. I have experienced this joy myself, and I want to share it with you.” We came to Jesus because we lacked joy and fulfillment. There was something missing in our lives, and the pleasures of this world could not fill it. It could only be filled by the love of God. John testified of the goodness of God and the joy that walking with Christ could give.
1 John 1:5
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
John wants the Christian to see what he’s speaking of, the message that carries great truth, the message that he heard Jesus expound upon, that God is light. I know this is an old example, but it’s a good one. Go into a totally dark room, light one candle and watch what happens to the darkness. The light drives the darkness away, but there’s no way possible that the darkness can do anything to the light. Where there’s light, there’s no darkness. That’s the way God is. God is light, and no darkness can come into his presence. Before we gave our hearts to Jesus and accepted Him as our Savior, our souls were filled with darkness and blackness. But when we invited Jesus to come into our hearts, the light of God drove out all the darkness and caused us to live and walk in the marvelous light of God’s love. The world doesn’t understand us; it can’t because the world walks in the darkness of Satan. We have given up our citizenship to this world and are now strangers and pilgrims on this earth. And like Abraham of old, we look for a city whose builder and maker is God, that holy city of God that we are told about in Revelation.
1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.
10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.
16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.
17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.
18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.
19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;
20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
How do we stay saved? It’s simple, by staying in the light, as He is in the light.
1 John 1:6
If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
All through this book, John is very concerned about the truth. These epistles were written because of heresies that had come into the church to destroy and scatter the flock of God. These people came in just as they do today. They claim to have a new revelation from God. They slowly begin to change the truth of God’s Word. They begin to bow at the altar of the world. The world begins to set their moral standards and convictions. They gain large numbers of followers who think that these false teachers and preachers are great. So they are in the world’s eyes. They have no morals, no conviction, everything is alright and everybody is going to heaven.
But, there’s one big problem. Where do they stand in the eyes of God? According to the Bible, they are all going to hell together to spend the ages for believing the lies of the devil, because they wouldn’t study it out for themselves. There are millions today who claim to be in fellowship with God. But these same people do not have what they profess to have. Instead of fellowship with God, they walk in the darkness of this world. They are lying to those around them, and worse, they are lying to themselves. In the Word, we find where there are those who will turn the truth into a lie.
2 Thessalonians 2:11
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
2 Timothy 4:4
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
Church, in these last days be watchful, for the enemy knows that he only has a short time to work. He is fighting, with everything that God allows, to claim our souls. Pray, study and walk in the light because God is light, and if we walk in the light of God, we will not be led astray. This battle is almost over; we can almost see the lights of home. Don’t give up now, for in truth, Jesus is coming for us.
1 John 1:7
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
It’s strange to me that people have no respect for God. You ask them if they believe in God, and the answers vary. Some say, “Oh yes, I believe in God.” You ask if they go to church, and most will say no. Others say, “No, I don’t believe in God. Why should I? He’s never done anything for me.” Then there are some who say, “I don’t know, nobody’s ever proved to me that there’s a God.” Then, there’s another group who say, “I believe in God, and no, I don’t go to church. I don’t believe in religion where you go to church. They have too many rules, you can’t do this, you can’t do that, and there are places where Christians can’t go. I’m spiritual, I worship God in my own way, so I can do what I want when I want and where I want.” They have no concept of what it means to walk in the light of God and to have a close fellowship with God. It’s so sad that most people who claim to be Christians have never had a personal experience with Jesus. John, as we can see, deals in absolutes; it’s light or dark, right or wrong in John’s eyes. There’s no gray area, no mixing of light and dark to form a shadowy area. You are either in or out, and there’s no mid-point. This is how it should be. There’s no such thing as a little white lie; all lies are of the devil, all liars are of the devil and all liars will find themselves in hell.
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Water baptism does not save us; many people go down a dry sinner and come up a wet sinner without any change. Church membership will not save a soul from hell, either. Except there be a change of heart, there is no salvation. The blood of Christ cleanses us from sin and changes us from the inside to the outside. It changes how we talk, the things we do, the places we go. If there is no change, there is no salvation. For scripture tells us that the old man of sin dies, and a new man rises in righteousness unto the Lord. You will find that I repeat this over and over.
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
We are blood-bought and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. John Phillips Commentary puts it this way: “That surely has to be one of the most comforting verses in the whole Bible. It is a truth taught from Genesis to Revelation – blood cleanses sin. A skeptic challenged a believer; ‘How does blood cleanse sin?’ he demanded. The Believer replied with a counter question: ‘How does water quench thirst?’ he asked. The skeptic replied, ‘I don’t know, but I know that it does.’ ‘Just so,’ said the believer, ‘I don’t know how blood cleanses sin, but I know that it does – God says so.’” The blood, the precious blood that washes white as snow, no greater gift could God give to man. This gift opens up all eternity for those who accept Jesus as their Savior.
1 John 1:8
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
The one thing that all men have in common is that each and every one of us has sinned. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. If there were no sin in our lives, then we would have no need of salvation. Sin is anything that comes between us and God. The devil’s desire is to get us to sin and follow after fleshly desires or wants. Satan knows that if he can turn our eyes upon the things of this world and get us to lust after these sinful things, that he has a hold upon us. Lust for the things of this world will take over our minds and hearts; like drug addicts whose only thought is where and when to get that next shot or pill, the dope consumes their very lives. This is why we need to be careful before God. Not everyone has trouble with drugs, but sin takes many shapes and forms, each affecting our souls. The answer is to go before the Lord and ask for forgiveness.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
John is telling the world how to receive salvation. We must repent of our sins, invite Jesus into our lives and let Him live in our hearts. To keep salvation, to keep this gift of God, we must put the things of this world aside, commit ourselves to live a Christ-like life before the world and be an example to the world of what God can do for us. As John so aptly puts it, we must walk in the light as He is in the light. As we journey down this road, we will see many who began this race then turned aside from the truth to go after the things of this world. Can a person backslide and lose their soul to the devil? Yes. While most denominations believe in some sort of eternal security, there’s no scriptural basis for this belief. Scripture states that some will depart from the faith; they will simply turn their back on God and follow after the devil’s crowd. Those who believe in eternal security counter that they were never saved; they just acted like they were. Scripture holds that this cannot be true. To believe what the scripture states concerning backsliders tears down the doctrine of “once you’re saved, you’re always saved.”
I worked with a man who was a deacon in his church. He believed in eternal security. I asked him if he lied, cheated, stole, committed adultery, and got drunk before he was saved. He replied that he did. I asked him if God forgave him of his sins when he got saved. He again said yes. Then I pointed out he still did the same things: lied, cheated, stole, ran around on his wife, committed adultery and still got drunk. So just what was he saved from? He told me that when he repented and asked for forgiveness, Jesus washed his sins away and sealed his soul unto eternal security; that his soul was set aside, and the things he did now had nothing to do with his salvation. I told him that if sin condemned his soul to hell before he was saved, and if he still did the same things after he claimed to be saved, those sins still condemned his soul to a devil’s hell. His reply: Not according to what my church believes.
This type of doctrine is destroying souls. Search the Word. Even Jesus said no man having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God.
And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
We will get into this question of eternal security and backsliding more in the next chapter. If we are saved we are cleansed from all sin, and Jesus speaks to us and says “go and sin no more.”
1 John 1:10
If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
This verse explains itself. If any man says that he has not sinned, he is a liar and the truth, it is not in him. Again, all men have sinned; that’s why Jesus came to pay the price for our salvation. The shed blood of Jesus is the only thing that can wash away our sins; nothing else will work. And regardless of what man says and tries to teach, Jesus is the only way to enter into heaven. There is no other way. To claim otherwise is a sin in itself. So, we have all sinned; the Word says we have, and the Word is not a lie. God is not a liar. Jesus is not a liar. Man is the liar, and so will it always be, until we all come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Jesus saves by his grace that is bestowed upon us through the blood. Like the song says:
What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
We have all sinned; that’s why we need to be saved. With salvation comes a new life free from the sins of this world. Our testimony then becomes, I was a sinner, but now, I am saved by grace. When we are saved, we are a sinner no longer, because Jesus has come into our heart to live. Scripture says that no man can serve two masters. We either serve God, or we serve the devil; we cannot serve them both at the same time. There is no scriptural way that we can be saved and a sinner at the same time.
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