*Photo credit: Kevin Carden via creationswap.com
As we journey together this week through 1, 2, 3 John I hope that John’s reason for writing is made evident in us. That through this study God might “make our joy complete” (1:4).
This first chapter contains a very important verse that many of us might have memorized early in our faith. 1 John 1:9 states:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
While that is foundational to our soteriology (how we are saved) it plays a part in an important argument John is building. You see, the occasion for this letter (and 2 and 3 John as well) is to combat an early heresy called Gnosticism. And one of the consequences of this misguided belief was the idea and practice that moral law didn’t matter.
Essentially the thought went: If our bodies are evil (which the Gnostics believed) then what does it matter what we do with them? Let’s do whatever feels good!
That last part sound familiar? Let’s do whatever feels good!
Culture-at-large pushes that message 24/7 in nearly every place you look or media you can find. The entire advertising industry is built on it.
While we might not be combating 1st century gnosticism in our churches today we are certainly still dealing with its practices.
Given gnosticism’s prevalence in John’s day we can understand him writing this letter. We can understand the importance of this line:
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” (1 John 1:5-6)
That also sounds familiar. Like John had written something like that before?
“In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1:4-5)
Christ is light. And that light is our life. Life to the full. For everyone. Everywhere. If only they will accept.
May you shine the light of Christ wherever you go this week. Amen.