Summary: These three verses near the end of 1 John provide a bird¡¦s eye view of the entire book. Note the five indisputable facts contained in these lines:
Through the New Testament 2006
Life in the Son
Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister
First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO
These three verses near the end of 1 John provide a bird¡¦s eye view of the entire book. Note the five indisputable facts contained in these lines:
Fact 1: God gives eternal life. Eternal life is more than living long. It is a quality of life. The Greeks had two words for life. Bios described physical life. Zoe referred to something more. It was life that was more than existence. The difference between the two is the difference between adding years to your life and life to your years. God gives more than existence. He offers an abundant life.
Note that it is God who gives this life. We can¡¦t manufacture it on our own. We can¡¦t buy, bargain for, or earn it. Real life is a gift from God.
Fact 2: This life is in his Son. The Son refers to Jesus Christ, the self-revelation of God in human flesh. This is a startling truth. The Son was begotten of the Father, not made. He and the Father are one. What Jesus revealed in his life is the means to our eternal life.
Fact 3: He who has the Son has life. To have means to believe in, not in the sense of just knowing facts about him, but trusting him. At its root, saving faith is believing Jesus, not just believing about, but actually believing him, taking him at his word. This is a personal knowledge and relationship that no one can do for us. Our parents can¡¦t have the Son for us. We can¡¦t believe in the Son for our spouse or our kids.
Fact 4: He who does not have the Son of God does not have life. This is an unhappy truth. Not everyone who walks this earth will walk the streets of heaven. No amount of wishing or hoping can take away the reality of eternal death and separation from God. People without the Son may have a pulse, but they don¡¦t have an eternal future with their Maker.
Fact 5: You may know that you have eternal life. This doesn¡¦t say you may hope that you have eternal life. Or you may someday after you die know whether you have eternal life or not. It speaks in the present tense. This is the promise of assurance about our standing with God here and now. This is not an arrogant or presumptuous claim that I¡¦ve said the right words or gone through the right ceremony or belong to the right church, therefore, I know I am going to heaven. This is a confident statement about what God has done for me and is doing in me. Eternal life, that quality of life, has already begun.
One question begs an answer: How do you know? How does a person arrive at this certainty about his or her relationship with the Living God? John says, ¡§that¡¦s what I have been writing to you about.¡¨ The message of 1 John is about distinguishing true assurance from false assurance. The whole book outlines the difference.
This is our sixty-second book in our journey through the Bible. 1 John was probably one of the last books written. Our best historical information tells us that John, the youngest disciple-recruit to Jesus and last surviving apostle died an old, beloved man among the Christians of Ephesus. He had walked and talked with Jesus. He had been there when the church began. He preached Christ and spread the Gospel far and wide. John was the only apostle to die a natural death. He had been imprisoned for his faith (that¡¦s when Revelation was written) and then lived out his years in Ephesus. Ancient historians tell of young men carrying John back and forth to church. He was old and infirmed, but he still preached the Gospel with power.
In his closing years, John becomes concerned about the drift of the new generation of believers away from the solid message of Christ. False teachers had found easy prey among the second generation Gentile believers who had been born and raised on pagan philosophy. They were tempted to reinterpret the message Jesus in terms they were more familiar with. 1, 2, and 3 John all addressed to believers battling these problems. He says over and over again that nothing brings him more joy than to see his ¡§children¡¨ walking in the truth. 1 John is about helping that to happen.
We don¡¦t know all that the false teachers that were plaguing the church were saying and doing. We have some hints in the book. We also know the kinds of thinking that was common outside the church in that day. Most of the thinking grew out of the Greek philosophies of Plato. Plato and his followers divided the world into two parts¡Xspirit and matter. Spirit was all good. Matter/flesh was all bad. That was why humans could have aspirations they can¡¦t attain. We are held back by the flesh, Plato and his followers said. The result was that in Greek thinking the gods had nothing to do with matter or the flesh. The spiritual and the fleshly were always separate.