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The Epistle of First John
The Epistle of First John can be considered to be a commentary or supplement to the Gospel of John. In the Gospel of John, the author presented who Jesus was through His signs (or miracles) and His self-identification of metaphors. Looking at the key passages in the Gospel of John, one sees a clear message of Who Jesus was (John 1:1,14), how He died for our sins and resurrected so that we may have Hope (John 3:16,17) of eternal life. Therefore, we should have Faith (John 20:28,29) in Him and Love (John 13:34,35) each other as He has loved us. In the Gospel, John wrote, 'these are written so that you may believe' (John 20:31), and in the Epistle of 1John, he wrote, 'these are written so that you may know you have eternal life' (1John 5:13). The message here is that there is a difference between the true believers (who have eternal life) and the believing nonbelievers (who are not genuinely saved). John gives us a measuring stick in 1John to test our faith and see if we are true believers.
Who was Jesus-
John begins the Epistle of 1John in the same manner as the Gospel of John, by proclaiming that Jesus was there in the beginning. Another similarity is calling Jesus the Word. Other parallel passages are listed in the table above. The Gospel of John revealed to us who Jesus was. To separate ourselves from the believing non-believers (John 6:64), John gave us a number of tests. Jesus is the light of the world; are we still walking in darkness? Jesus said the Holy Spirit will convict us of our sins; do we still pretend that we are sinless? Do we keep His commandments and love each other as He has commanded us to? Do we love this world more than He? Finally, an important test is whether we deny Christ of His deity? This is the test that would fail the Gnostics. We simply cannot claim to know Jesus if we deny His deity or His Humanity.
Jesus dies for our sins on the cross so that we can have Hope of eternal life. Therefore, we should abide in Him and Him in us. It's important to be born again spiritually, for those who practice righteousness are born of Him. Finally, through the help of the Holy Spirit, we are continually being regenerated and purified, as we hope for the day to meet Christ when He returns.
Jesus showed us His love by dying for our sins on the cross. He showed us how to love each other by His example of serving His disciples. This kind of love is sacrificial love, marked by deeds and actions and not words alone. Jesus said (in the Gospel of John) 'as He loved us, we should love each another'. John was inspired to write (in 1John) he who loves God must love his brother also.
Those who have faith in Christ are born of God. This kind of saving believe is not simply intellectual acceptance, but by whole-hearted dedication to Jesus Christ who is permanent (McCarthur Study Bible). Just as love is marked by deeds, faith is marked by obedience. Jesus repeatedly said (in the Gospel of John and the Epistle of 1John), if we love Him, we should keep His commandment, and the new commandment He gave us is to love each another as He loved us. Thus to have true faith is to be obedient, and to be obedient is to love and to love is to have deeds of love.
The Epistle of 1John is John's own commentary of the Gospel of John. In the Gospel of John, the author reveals to us who Jesus was so that we may believe. In the Epistle of 1John, the author gives us a measuring stick for our faith, so that we may know if we are truly saved. To have genuine faith is to obey, to obey is to love, and to love is to have actions of love, which is the ultimate test of our faith.About the author.
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