The Letter of I John
We are going to begin a paragraph-by-paragraph journey through the letter of I John. Never has this letter needed more attention than it does now, in the day in which we live. It provides us with striking contrasts that gives us an understanding of what it really means to live the Christian life. Never in history has “being a Christian” been more subjective than it is today. The majority of people our country claim to be Christians.
One week after giving my heart to Christ, they had a country music star come to my college for a concert. I thought I would go because all of my friends were going, and I didn’t want to be left alone in my dorm. I was sitting there in the crowd, and this man was singing. The concert was coming toward the midpoint, and he was drinking beer and obviously had a can of tobacco in his back pocket. He paused for a moment and declared proudly, with a beer raised in the air, “I thank God I am a Christian.” This man displayed absolutely no characteristic that testified to him being a Christian. Indignation filled my heart because I wanted to be on that stage declaring how Christ had delivered me from alcohol and tobacco the previous week. In that moment, I realized that this concert was no place for any Christian, and I left immediately.
This is the story of our nation: If we are conservatives then we are Christians. But this epistle clearly defines for us what a Christian does and does not look like. John shows us that Christians have obvious fruit: They practice truth and righteousness, they walk in light and walk as Christ walked, they admit they have a sin nature, they confess sins and have forgiveness, they keep His Word and His commandments, they love each other, they overcome evil and this world, they do the will of God, they do not practice sin, they confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and they believe in Jesus Christ.
Admittedly, that concert singer displayed none of those characteristics. We have watered down what it means to be a Christian to the point where John’s epistle is, some say, to contrast a Christian to a carnal Christian. That is not at all what this letter does. This letter shows us in striking detail who is a Christian and who is not a Christian. This will be challenging to us, but with proper observation and interpretation of this book, we will be blessed, and we will grow in our relationship with God.
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