* Now that we are saved… “How shall we then live?” This is what most of the New Testament is about anyway, right?
* False teachers then and now… make it always important for Christians to study and grow and be able to ‘stand’ and ‘withstand’… (Hebrews 5:11-14).
* I John is all about TESTING those who claim to be teaching truth and all through this letter, he is fighting against false teachers while encouraging the brethren to STAND!
* Key Verse (I John 1:7) “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.
a.) ‘blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin’ ““Purifies” is in the present tense, which in the Greek means “continuously purifies.” This is a promise of on-going salvation–but not a salvation that can’t be lost. He’s not teaching once saved always saved. But he is teaching that salvation should be continuous, not occasional. I Jno. 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
b.) John does not define what ‘walk in the light’ is immediately, however he does present a number of tests which will help us understand what this is.
1. TEST ONE: ACKNOWLEDGING OUR SINS
I Jno. 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and
purify (PRESENT TENSE) us from all unrighteousness.”
A. Promise: CONTINUAL FORGIVENESS if we do this. (Not ‘once saved always
saved’ but ON GOING).
B. Difficulty: MISTRANSLATION of ‘homologeo’ (confess) which actually means
1.) John is not speaking of a legalistic requirement to come to front and confess
each sin in order to be forgiven.
2.) John is saying ACKNOWLEDGING OUR SINFULNESS and thus our
continual need for His grace.
3.) Example: I John 4:2-3, 15; 2 John 7 “acknowledge”. “Homologeo” = never used
of confessing sin in NT.
4.) The word used for confession of sin is usually “exomologeo,” as in James 5:16
and Matthew 3:6.
C. Compare I John 1:8-10 The writer uses the term “claim” (“confess”) “claim”.
D. The contrast is with refusing to admit that we sin. Thus the test is not whether we
have confessed each sin, but whether we ADMIT, ACKNOWLEDGE that we are
sinners… thus in need of God’s grace and mercy. So long as we refuse to do
this… we are denied SALVATION.
2. TEST TWO: LOVE
I John 2:3-11 Read
A. Compare this with John 15:10-14 Read “My command is this…”
1.) Jesus says, OBEY MY COMMANDS… His command = LOVE EACH
2.) Compare this with Matthew 7:12; Luke 10:25-28; Romans 13:3-10; Galatians
5:14; James 2:8
3. TEST THREE: DOING RIGHTEOUSNESS
I John 2:29 “If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what
is right has been born of him.”
A. “What is right” = better translated as “righteousness” or even “justice”
B. Amos 5:7-24 (especially verses 7, 10-12, 15, 21-24)
C. John is not speaking of attending services, giving etc… he is speaking more
about caring for people God cares about.
D. John expands on ‘Doing righteousness’ which is opposed to a life of (practicing)
sin. (cf. Romans 6:1-2)
1.) I Jno. 3:3-6 Christians don’t continue in sin… we REPENT AND KEEP
GROWING. WE NEVER DEFEAT SIN COMPLETELY, BUT WE KEEP
GROWING IN GRACE, AND PUTTING MORE AND MORE SIN
2.) I Jno. 3:10-11 Do what is right = really do righteousness. This connects loving
each other with doing righteousness…. They are not two commands but ONE
3.) I Jno. 3:16-18 Love always requires action (the same as with faith!)
4.) I Jno. 3:22-23 How can we truly believe and not obey?
4. TEST FOUR: THE HOLY SPIRIT
I John 3:24 “Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is
how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.”
A. I Jno. 2:20
1.) “Anointing” is a reference to the Spirit (Acts 10:38; 2 Cor. 1:21-22). Luke
declares that Jesus was anointed by the Spirit (Luke 4:18). Of course,
“Messiah” and “Christ” mean “the anointed one,” referring most
immediately to kingship and the oil of anointing ceremonially used in
designating a man king.
2.) Jesus was ‘anointed’ with the Spirit at his immersion… then his miracles and
3.) We are anointed at ours as we become a ‘royal priesthood’ (1 peter 2:9).
4.) Cf. Ephesians 1:20-23; Ephesians 2:1-7; Revelation 1:6 (KJV)
5.) I John 5:6-8 “truth” refers to truth about Jesus- the Gospel- (I Jno. 2:21-23;
Jno. 14:6; 2 Cor. 11:10; Gal. 2:5; Heb. 10:26-27; Heb. 8:10-12)
6.) It’s characteristic of our new life in Jesus that the Spirit indwells us and
teaches us how to be more and more like Jesus–to have faith, to love in action
and deed, and to do righteousness.
B. John 3:8 tells us the Spirit works but the only way we can tell is by the effect seen
in our lives.
1.) I Jno. 4:2-3 Read
5. TEST FIVE: ACKNOWLEDGING APOSTOLIC TEACHING
A. I Jno. 4:6
B. In John’s way of thinking, there are only two kinds of people
a.) SAVED b.) LOST
Faith Deny Jesus
Admit sinfulness Deny sinfulness
Love others Hate others
Do righteousness Don’t do righteousness
Possess the Spirit Don’t have the Spirit
Purify himself Continue in sin
Acknowledge Rejects the auth. Of apostles
authority of the apostles
C. John is speaking to Christians who understand that without His grace… they are
lost in sin.
a.) Phil. 2:12-13 “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only
in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to
work out (mine out/ dig deep) your salvation with fear and
trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act
according to his good purpose.”
i.) Paul is encouraging Christians to “mine out” their salvation. ie Explore the
depths and grow.
These are the five tests of First John by which he explains who is walking in the light.
(Special thanks to Jay Guinn for his study on Ist John in his study on Grace.)