John’s epistles are a terrific instance of why context, following an author’s train of believed, and appreciating an author’s exceptional style are so extremely significant. John assumes his audience can see the attractive themes he has expertly woven into the fabric of the text. For that reason, we run the threat of entirely misunderstanding any single verse when we rip it from its context to use it as an isolated prooftext. Right here are some of the issues I noticed when I sat down and study 1, two, and three John in a single sitting.
The Gospel of John
The resemblance in themes involving John’s gospel account and the epistles of John is striking. He continually explores the suggestions of light, life, adore, and truth. As I study many occasions by means of 1 John, I couldn’t assistance but really feel there was a circular pattern to the book. The suggestions of light, life, adore, and truth continued to swirl about and about in concentric circles. And in the quick books of two and three John, these themes are apparent as properly.
For John, these themes are intimately connected. Jesus is the light of the globe that has broken into a globe of darkness and is transforming his folks into light-bearers by providing them life, adore, and truth. This light is continuing to develop and will someday fill the complete globe. The darkness will be entirely dispelled and there will sooner or later be practically nothing but light in the globe.
In a sensible sense, when we are folks of truth and adore, we participate with God in becoming light and dispelling darkness. John writes, “The darkness is passing away and the accurate light is currently shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is nevertheless in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.”
For that reason, reading 1, two, and three John serves a terrific introduction to John’s gospel account. By reading these quick epistles, you can see that in his gospel account John is not just providing a historical biography on Jesus, but is providing a robust theological treatise on what it suggests for Jesus, the Son of Man, to be reigning with God as King.
A Planet of Stark Contrast
In John’s epistles, he presents issues in stark contrast. There is extremely tiny nuance or gray location. Every little thing is either:
- Light or Dark
- Truth or Error
- Adore or Hate
- God or the Devil
This does not imply nuance does not exist or that there are no gray locations in life or theology it merely suggests that in John’s context, there was a pressing need to have to draw stark contrast involving these who had been in the light and these who had been in the darkness. He was dealing with false prophets, folks who had been denying necessary truth about Jesus, but had been attempting to pass themselves off as genuine followers of Jesus. So, apparently, lines had to be drawn in the sand to differentiate involving these who had been accurate followers of Jesus and these who had been not.
For John, it is “evident who are the kids of God, and who are the kids of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the a single who does not adore his brother.” For John, the major line of demarkation was adore for fellow Christians. For John, if somebody believed in the name of Jesus Christ and loved his brother, they had been obeying the commandments of Christ and had been God’s kids. If they did not think and adore, then they had been in the darkness and had been kids of the devil.
I assume it is significant to recognize that there is a time for nuance and a time for stark contrast followers of Jesus need to have to comprehend which is which. When we are obtaining a conversation about the particulars of the Christian faith, we will have to comprehend we are most likely obtaining a nuanced conversation.
Do not treat your brother, who disagrees with you on some matter of Christian faith or practice, as somebody who is “in the darkness.” Just simply because somebody disagrees with you about how issues ought to occur in the Sunday assembly, for instance, does not imply that individual is not abiding “in the teaching of Christ” or that he “does not have God.” But also, do not be dismissive of conversations and debates that are attempting to perform out the particulars of Christian faith and practice. These conversations are not the sort of conversations John was obtaining, but they are nevertheless significant.
Altering the Planet Via Adore
All of the themes, suggestions, and ideas that John explores are significant, but there is no theme much more significant than adore. John depicts the folks who definitely adore other individuals as becoming possessors of light and life. When you adore like Jesus loves, you show the globe a new way of becoming human and this new humanity will reside forever with Jesus. John writes, “We know that we have passed out of death into life, simply because we adore the brothers. Whoever does not adore abides in death.”
For John, adore suggests taking care of a single a different. It suggests seeing somebody in need to have and meeting their requirements. He implores his readers, “Little kids, let us not adore in word or speak but in deed and in truth.” John believes if somebody refuses to meet his brother’s requirements when he has the capacity to meet them, he hates his brother and should really not take into consideration himself aspect of the neighborhood of light. Following Jesus suggests creating Jesus’ death our way of life, “He laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” Adore is selfless. Adore is sacrificial. Adore serves.
Adore is the new way to reside. It is basically the only way to reside. Selfishness and hate are the way to die, but selfless adore is the way to reside now and forever. This is the way we participate with Jesus in bringing light to this globe of darkness.
I adore you and God loves you,