Sunday, January 19, 2014
Scratching the Surface of John's Three Letters
Scratching the Surface of John's Three Letters
God's love has been most clearly and conclusively expressed in Jesus.
That's/He's the gospel!
Our clearest and most conclusive love for God is expressed when we love Him like He has loved us in Jesus.
That's real gratitude; or as John wrote, "Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."
Our gratitude in action authenticates our comprehension/trust aka faith in Jesus being God's love in action.
It's the difference between a religion about Jesus that's kinda Christian in that it goes through some of the motions of being Christian and a relationship with Jesus that increasingly goes through more and more and more of the motions of being Christian; or as John wrote, "No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen Him or known Him... We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning."
In short, it's all about Jesus and loving Him by loving like Him.
John's three letters include four major themes of Biblically Christocentric fidelity: (1) Jesus is Lord and Savior and only Jesus is Lord and Savior; (2) Forgiveness is fleshed out by Him and His; (3) Love is faith in action; and (4) The Church's reason for being is heavenly.
Jesus is Lord and Savior and only Jesus is Lord and Savior.
John's letters are consistent with the other 24 New Testament witnesses to the unique place of Jesus in God's plan of salvation: "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God...Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?...He is the true God and eternal life ."
Moreover, John identifies anyone antagonistic to the unique place of Jesus in God's plan of salvation as anti-Christ or an accomplice of evil's main motivator whose goal is stealing salvation from souls: "Every spirit that confesses that Jesus has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God...Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he is in God...Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? That is the antichrist, he who denies the Son has the Father...Deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh...Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God...[and echoing Romans 16:17ff.]...If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works."
Forgiveness is fleshed out by Him and His.
Jesus clearly spelled out the connection between Him forgiving us and us forgiving them: "If you forgive others, you will be forgiven. If you do not forgive others, you will not be forgiven...The measure you give will be the measure that you get!"
Putting it crudely, grudge-holders are gravediggers and the only graves being dug are their own!
William Barclay often observed it's easier to get forgiveness from God than most people who are putting their unforgiving souls in jeopardy because of what Jesus said about unforgiveness; and John shows how in one sentence: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Love is faith in action.
John highlights active love as proving the veracity of professed faith: "...[remembering Jesus said the evil one is a liar and its followers are liars]...Whoever says I know Him but does not keep His commandments in a liar...Whoever hates his brother is still in darkness...We should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother...Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life...Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love."
The Church's reason for being is heavenly.
John's letters, like the entire book, has one goal - getting people pointed in the right/His direction: "We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete...I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life...I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.'
Maybe that's why some of our friends refer to themselves - their mission - as the salvation army.
When we are close to Jesus, we share His reason for being - praying and laboring for everyone's salvation.
That's people who get it/Him.
...to be continued...
Blessings and Love!