Wednesday, September 25, 2013

1 John 1 - Live in God's Light

LINK: 1 John 1  (memorize 1:9)


BACKGROUND for Book of 1 John

Although it is never stated, it is believed that John the Apostle, the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23), wrote this epistle even though he never gives his name, but it is someone who was intimate with Jesus (1:1-2). The book is also similar in style to the gospel of John, especially in the statement of purpose (John 20:31). He makes five “purpose statement” in this letter:
1:3 So that you too may have fellowship with us 
1:4 So that our joy may be made complete 
2:1 So that you may not sin 
2:26 So that you might not be led astray (by antichrists) 
5:13 So that you may know that you have eternal life 
1 John 5:13 is the key verse for the whole book.

It is not addressed to any specific group of people. Tradition says that John was in the Roman province of Asia in western Turkey (Revelation 2-3). So we might assume it was written to them, but it is a book for all believers everywhere.

This letter describes God as light, love, and life. John walked in close fellowship with his God, and he wanted his spiritual children to do the same. If we are children of light, we cannot walk in darkness. We must walk in holiness and devotion. If we are children of the God of love, we must walk in love toward Him and others. In this book, John tells us how.

Eugene Peterson says it beautifully in his introduction to 1, 2, and 3 John in The Message:
The two most difficult things to get straight in life are love and God. More often than not, the mess people make of their lives can be traced to failure or stupidity or meanness in one or both of these areas. 
The basic and biblical Christian conviction is that the two subjects are intricately related. If we want to deal with God the right way, we have to learn to love the right way. If we want to love the right way, we have to deal with God the right way. God and love can’t be separated. 
John’s three letters provide wonderfully explicit direction in how this works. Jesus, the Messiah, is the focus: Jesus provides the full and true understanding of God; Jesus shows us the mature working-out of love. In Jesus, God and love are linked accurately, intricately, and indissolubly. 
But there are always people around who don’t want to be pinned down to the God Jesus reveals, to the love Jesus reveals. They want to make up their own idea of God, make up their own style of love. John was pastor to a church (or churches) disrupted by some of these people. In his letters we see him reestablishing the original and organic unity of God and love that comes to focus and becomes available to us in Jesus Christ. 
BACKGROUND

1 John 1

The background for the first four verses of this chapter can be found in the background for the entire book.

In 1 John 1:5-10, John states that God is light. Light is referred to by John in his other writings (John 1:4-5, 7-9; 3:19-21; 8:12; 9:5; 12:35-36, 46; Revelation 21:23). Light exposes our darkness of sin. We cannot say that we are walking in the light if we continue to hold on to that darkness. We also cannot have fellowship with other children of light if we are walking in sin. Jesus died and shed His blood in order to purify us from sin. We can deny and hide it, or we can give God’s way of getting rid of it – confession:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous
 to forgive us our sins and
to cleanse us from all unrighteousness 
(1 John 1:9)

I have said it before, and I will say it again:

Confession of sin is a win-win!!!

What a miracle that we can be cleansed from unrighteousness! 

The next chapter will explain more about how the righteous Christ does this. Stay tuned!

REFLECTION

As I write this post, it is 4:18 in the morning. I am at my mother-in-law’s house out in the country, and it is pitch black outside. I know that in just a matter of minutes, I will begin to hear the birds sing and the first signs of light will begin to creep over the hill in the distance. We are perched high on an opposite hill, and the dawning of first light is always a spectacular experience.

When the light comes, the darkness has to flee. There is no room for both light and darkness to exist in the same place. How true in our own lives.
Confess your sin, let His light flood in, and walk in the light of a new day.

APPLICATION

If you have not already done it, please meditate and memorize 1 John 1:9. Then, have a time of confession with the Lord.

After submitting to God and praise, I try to have a simple time of self-examination with this as my guide:

Examination 
Holy Spirit, search my heart and reveal to me any unconfessed sin you find in me: 
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)
 
Lord, I thank you for the forgiveness you promised when you said: 
“Come now, let us reason together:
Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Thought they are red as crimson,
They shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
(“Morning Affirmations” in Face to Face: Praying the Scriptures for Intimate Worship by Kenneth Boa, p. 4) 
You can download these in print or audio MP3 format.
PRAYER

Lord, I praise You for Your faithfulness to forgive our sins. Thank You that we have a way to make things right with You because of the blood of Jesus Christ, the righteous. Help us to mindful of that as we confess our sins to You.

(By the way, the birds just started to sing. The light is coming! Hallelujah! And have a BLESSED DAY!!!)
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