1 John Lessons


1JOHN: Major Theme (Handout)

Question: What is the basis of your salvation? How do you you know whether or not your have eternal life? How do you know whether or not you have been born of God?

The Major Theme of 1John: Identifying those who have Eternal Life and distinguishing them from those who don’t.
The gospel of John

"These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John 20:31


The Epistle of 1John
"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." 1John 5:13

The Various ways John speaks of one's salvation status:

Do you have fellowship with God? (1:6)
Have you come to know him? (2:3; 4:7)
Are you in him? (2:4; 5:20) or live in him? (2:6; 3:24)
Does he live in you? (4:13;15)
Are you in the light? (2:9)
Do you really belong to us? (2:19)
Do you have the Father? (2:23)
Do you have the Son? (5:12)
Have you been born of God? (2:29; 5:1)
Are you a child of God? (3:1)
Are you from God? (4:4)
Do you have eternal life? (5:13)

Major Doctrines of 1John:

The Nature of Christ (1John 4)

It's about the CONTENT of your faith

Perseverance of the Saints (1John 2:19)

It's about the ENDURANCE of your faith

Regenerative Behavior (1John 3; 1John 5)

It's about the CORRELATION between your faith and your behavior

Assurance of Salvation vs Eternal Security

1John vs Faith in Faith

Applications:

Attitudes: Joy, Hope
Perspective on Walking in the Spirit

Associations - Fellowship - 2Jn & 3Jn

An Incentive to Mature in Godly Virtues and in Right Behavior 1Jn 3:2,3


1John: Major Theme Notes

 

What have you heard people say is the basis of the assurance of their salvation? That is, what do that say about how they know that they personally are saved?

 

1John is all about answering that question. 1John is about one thing. And everything in 1John is about that one thing.


Paul says to the Corinthians in 2Cor 13:5 "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you— unless, of course, you fail the test?" What is the test? 1John is all about that test.


The gospel of John is about how to get saved. "These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John 20:31 The epistle of 1John is not about how to get saved. "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." 1John 5:13 It's about identifying those who are saved and distinguishing them from those who are not saved. 1John is both about the Assurance of Salvation and about the Assurance of Non-Salvation


I’ve used the word “saved”, but here are many different words and phrases that John utilizes to express this same concept.

Do you have fellowship with God? (1:6)
Have you come to know him? (2:3; 4:7)
Are you in him? (2:4; 5:20) or live in him? (2:6; 3:24)
Does he live in you? (4:13;15)
Are you in the light? (2:9)
Do you really belong to us? (2:19)
Do you have the Father? (2:23)
Do you have the Son? (5:12)
Have you been born of God? (2:29; 5:1)
Are you a child of God? (3:1)
Are you from God? (4:4)
Do you have eternal life? (5:13)

These are really all the same question asked in different ways.


What are different words we use today which are synonomous to asking whether a person has been "saved"?

 

1John is not about how to get eternal life. And that fact is something we'll probably have to reiterate a number of times as we go through 1John. Rather it’s about identifying those who have eternal life and distinguishing them from those who don’t.


Today I'm just going to cover some significant  Doctrines implied or assumed in 1John related to the assurance of salvation which we'll run across in our study of 1John

The Nature of Christ (1John 4)
    - It's about the CONTENT of your faith

Son of Man - Jesus took on a human nature. When we get to it, we might consider the implications which may challenge you as to how much you really believe Jesus took on a human nature. - or to what degree your beliefs about Christ are docetic.

Son of God - This has two parts. One being the issue of his diety, and thother being his position in the Godhead. That is considering the implications of being the Son of God. Arianism rejected his deity, viewing Jesus as a created being. Very common indication of a cult is their rejection of the deity of Christ. But as Son of God it's not simply about his diety, but accepting his position among the Trinity. There's a heresy known as "modalism" or the "Sabellian heresy" which denies the distinction between the persons of the Godhead.

Perseverance of the Saints (1John 2:19)  & John’s usage of the Tense
    - It's about the ENDURANCE of your faith

Notice also that the middle phrase in 1John 2:19 implies eternal security.

Do we have a "right", do we have the ability to determine other people's salvation status? According to John, we do! But it's not just a right, it's a responsibility. I'll be giving some more scriptural examples of this at the end if we have time.

Now I want to bring up another verse advocating the perseverance of the saints to show an example of the significance of the tense of the verb in 1John
1John 5:3-5 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God (perfect tense: "has in the past been born of God") overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

There are other significant things about verb tenses in 1John and how they impact meaning which I'll cover at another time.

Regenerative Behavior (1John 3)

This is the most significant doctrine John utilizes in 1John, which is found in every chapter, but particularly in chapter 3 and secondly in chapter 5

    - It's about the CORRELATION between your faith and your behavior

Regeneration Occurs after Faith (John 1:12; Gal 3:2,26)


These in contrast to those Christians who are under the misconception that a person is born-again prior to believing in Christ, such as reflected in these quotes:

Before a person is even given a right to be a son of God, they must be born of God. Only then will he "believe in his name".

One must be born again first (be born of the spirit) so that we might hear and accept the words Jesus spoke which can not be understood in the flesh. Once born again we can hear and repent

This is one of the misconceptions of Reformed Theology, a misconception common among Christians today.

One of the reasons this is important in 1John is because if there are people walking around who have been born of God but don't believe in Jesus and consequently have eternal life, just identifying such people as having been born of God says nothing of their salvation status. But if everyone who has been born of God also has eternal life, and everyone who has eternal life has been born of God, then one only need identify whether or not a person has been born of God to determine their salvation status.

Assurance of Salvation vs Eternal Security

The doctrine of Eternal Security is not the basis of a person’s assurance of salvation. We can say “Once saved, Always saved”, but with regards to assurance, how do you know whether a particular individual has been saved?  The doctrine of Eternal Security has often these days falsely used as a basis for a person’s assurance of salvation.


If a person says they prayed a prayer 30 years ago to receive Christ, then since once saved, always saved, they are still saved today. What might be wrong about that statement? We'll see in 1John that one's personal assurance of salvation is not based upon a point in time event. But I'll cover this more at a later date.

1John vs Faith in Faith

Faith in faith is a someone commone post-modernistic viewpoint where if you believe hard enough about anything you create your own reality. In such  a person is saved in so much as they believe they are saved. You'll faith people of that belief objecting to the whole idea of questioning one's salvation status. For in such a person's mind only the unsaved question their salvation status, and thus for them the indication of a person being unsaved is whether or not they question their salvation status.

Obviously contrary to the Bible as we see throughout 1John, but even more explicitly on of the first verses I mentioned, namely 2Cor 13:5

Applications:

If you were fully confident that you were saved and your destiny secured, how would that affect your life? Attitude, Ambition, Goals in life.

Attitudes: Joy (Jn 17:13), Hope

The primary basis for joy in the Christian life is the assurance of salvation, whether it be the assurance of your own salvation, or that of those you’ve been ministering to. Joy is affect by the degree to which you are confident you are saved, and affected by your understanding the implications of being saved.

Perspective on Walking in the Spirit

Associations - Fellowship

An Incentive to Mature in Godly Virtues and in Right Behavior (2Peter 1:5-11)

1Ti 3:13  Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Fellowship:

 

How does distinguishing between those who have been born of God and those who have not affect fellowship?

1Cor 5:11-13 I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."

 

2Cor 6:14  Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

 

2Cor 6:17,18  "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."


And conversely not to divide over things you shouldn’t divide over.

 

Applications in 2Jn & 3Jn



The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

Jul 29,2015