1 John 1:1-10 Commentary

1 John 1:1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10

OVERVIEW:

First John deals with two different groups:
1. False teachers/lost followers
2. True converts/my dear children.

Written in the present tense meaning continuous action i.e.) walking = a lifestyle (habitual) not a specific once action
V9 will forgive/will purify= not future tense but aorist which is at a specific point in time (literally have forgiven/have purified)
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The letter opens with John refuting the false teaching that Christ did not come in the flesh and that he was not the Saviour. Although these false teachers had now left, their false teaching was still causing problems.
Read: 1 Jn 2:26,19;
1 Jn 4:1,2,3,4; 2 Jn 1:7;
1 Jn 2:22,23

THE STUDY:

The Word of Life
Now read: 1 Jn 1:1,2,3,4
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. This verse directly refutes the false teaching that Jesus did not come in the flesh and proclaims the salvation found only in Jesus Christ.

2The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. This verse re-emphasizes that the disciples believed that Jesus came in the flesh and that Jesus Christ is the eternal life, is the Son of God and has appeared on earth as the Son of Man.

3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
John explains that believing that Jesus came in the flesh/believing the gospel you will have partnership with the body of Christ. The word “fellowship” in the Greek means partnership, something in common, union.
What we have in common in all these verses is eternal life, the life of Christ.
This verse emphasizes that we must have partnership/union with Christ in order to have partnership with the Father. 1 Jn 2:23

4 We write this to make our joy complete.
The complete joy for the apostles would best be explained in Lk 15:7, for those that are lost to come to know Christ.

Walking in the Light
Now read: 1 Jn 1:5,6,7,8

John now addresses the immoral conduct 1 Jn 3:4,5,6,7,8,9,10 (a mindset to habitually please their flesh) of these false teachers and followers in contrast to how believers should live. Ro 8:5,6,7,8,9,10,11

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. In this verse, light represents righteousness/truth Jn 3:19,20,21 and in Christ there is no unrighteousness 2 Co 5:21. Jesus has taken away our sins and in Christ we have this forgiveness Eph 1:7.

6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.
If we claim to be united to Christ but have a mindset to do evil, Ro 8:5,6,7,8,9,10,11 habitually walking in darkness 1 Jn 3:10 then we lie and the truth of Christ has not set us free Jn 8:31,32,36. A true believer would never use Christ’s sacrifice as a license to sin Jude 1:4.

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 (continues to purify us).
If we walk in purity this demonstrates that we have a mindset to live righteously and thus have partnership with each other. When we do sin the blood of Christ continually cleanses us from ALL sin. Col 2:13;
Eph 1:7; Eph 4:32; 1 Jn 2:12; 1 Jn 3:5; (all past tenses) ALL of our sins: past, present and future are forgiven and there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ). Ro 8:1 The new covenant began at the death of Jesus, not at the beginning of the gospels Heb 9:16,17 thus the Lord’s prayer Mt 6:14,15 is under the Old Covenant Law Gal 4:4 whereas Eph 4:32 is the New Covenant arrangement. The New Testament does not speak of two kinds of forgiveness (judicial and relational). This is a man-made doctrine from the misinterpretation of 1 Jn 1:9 as applying to saved Christians when it is clearly speaking to those walking in darkness and not believing that Jesus came in the flesh or is the Christ. Nowhere in the New Covenant does the Bible talk about “in and out of fellowship” (relational forgiveness) with God. You are either in the fellowship “saved” or out of the fellowship “lost”. Ac 26:17,18  17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. Eph 5:8 For you were once darkness (lost) but now you are light in the Lord (saved)
Col 1:12,13,14 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Forgiveness is a one-time transaction Heb 10:12 this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins
Heb 10:14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
God does not remember our sins any more Heb 10:17 so why would you ask him for forgiveness* when Jesus said it was finished (paid in full) Jn 19:30 and God says in Heb 10:18 where these have been forgiven there is no longer any sacrifice for sins (no more sacrificing animals, no more confessional booths, no more misinterpretation of 1 Jn 1:9). *When we do sin, we should thank the Holy Spirit for revealing our sin to us and Jesus for paying the price for all our sins.  Then we should ask the Holy Spirit what practical steps we should take to correct this sin.  Sometimes He will tell us to go to the person we offended and ask his forgiveness or give us strategies to avoid repeating this same sin.  The real issue is not receiving forgiveness from God but repentance from our sin.

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
If we believe we do not have a sin nature, we have no need for a Saviour and we have deceived ourselves. The truth is not in us refers to Jesus, who is the truth Jn 14:6 and without the truth we are lost 1 Jn 2:4

Solution for the Lost
1 Jn 1:9,10

If anyone agrees that he/she is a sinner, God will forgive their sins and give them Christ’s righteousness.

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

In the Greek “confess” means to say the same thing; in this case to continually agree with God that we are sinners deserving death. God is faithful and just for Jesus paid ALL our debt Ro 3:25,26. V9 will forgive/will purify= not future tense but aorist which is at a specific point in time (literally have forgiven/have purified).
The “we” is an editorial “we” like Paul used in Gal 1:8. Paul was not thinking that he might preach another gospel and be eternally condemned. The “we” in 1 Jn 1:9 are the lost in the congregation walking in darkness. 1 Jn 3:5 says But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. If you are in Christ there is no sin that has not been forgiven!

2 Co 5:19,20,21 All the world’s sins are forgiven but only those who place their faith in Christ’s sacrifice receive this gift (read the George Wilson story below).
v19 God reconciled (an accounting term) the world to himself. God took the debt of sin off his “Accounts Receivables” (not counting men’s sins against them)
1 Jn 2:2 Jesus is the propitiation for our sins but also for the sins of the whole world.
v20 Now you be reconciled to God. You must now believe what Jesus accomplished and take the debt of sin off your “Accounts Payable”, (paid in full by Jesus).
v21 We are a new creation in Christ 2 Co 5:17 the old has gone the new has come. We are not clothed in animals skins like Adam but in the righteousness of Christ. There is no more righteousness that we can acquire or lose. We are as righteous as Paul the apostle and Jesus Christ our Lord because it is not our righteousness Ro 3:10 we wear but Christ’s Gal 3:27.

10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. God says all have sinned Ro 3:23. If we say we have not sinned because our flesh is not a part of the true me (Gnostic teaching) then we are calling God a liar and we do not respect or obey his written commandments).
God is gracious, but he will not force the acceptance of His grace upon men. In 1829 George Wilson, in Pennsylvania, was sentenced to be hanged by a United States Court for robbing the mails and for murder. President Andrew Jackson pardoned him, but this was refused, and Wilson insisted that it was not a pardon unless he accepted it. That was a point of law never before raised, and the President called the Supreme Court to decide. Chief Justice John Marshall gave the following decision: “A pardon is a paper, the value of which depends upon its acceptance by the person implicated. It is hardly to be supposed that one under sentence of death
would refuse to accept a pardon, but if it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged!” And he was hanged.
Provisionally the Gospel of Christ which is the power of God unto salvation is for everyone, irrespective of what he may be or what he may have done. Potentially, it is only to “everyone that believeth”.

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