Note from Jesus
Dear Child of the Glorious and Gracious Father,
As John neared the end of his physical life, he wrote three short letters to help churches facing all sorts of challenges. He also wrote the Apocalypse, which you know as the book of Revelation. Each of these writings deals with real and problematic issues for My disciples near the end of the first century. For the next several days, you will be reading from the short letters of John. Today, your focus will be the first chapter and a little of the second chapter of 1 John.
First John is a beautiful little tapestry of pastoral concern for My followers. John emphasizes what the Father wants and doesn’t want in His relationship with you as His child. The Father doesn’t want just a bunch of religious adherents going through religious motions. He wants a genuine relationship with you as His child. In this relationship, you are open and transparent with your Father. You bring everything into the light with nothing hidden. When you are open about who you are and about what is going on in your life and when you demonstrate My love, then you are walking in the Father’s light (1 John 1:7). My sacrifice purifies you from all sin.
This relationship in the light of My Father’s glory and grace should bring you confidence in your relationship with Us. You know Us and have a relationship with Us as Father, Son, and Spirit.
There are three ways that you can assure your heart that you are in this special relationship with us:
- When you believe in Me as the Father’s Son, God Who came in human flesh.
- When love is demonstrated in your relationships with each other.
- When there is goodness found in your actions.
These three qualities allow you to rest assured that your relationship with the Father is secured and life-giving. This is how you walk in the Father’s light.
The six themes emphasized by the words underlined above are woven into the tapestry of this short letter again and again. John doesn’t have huge blocks of teaching about any one of these in one place. Instead, like a beautiful piece of symphonic music, he weaves these key themes into his music again and again with slight variations and connections. If you read this letter several times, the Spirit helps you pick these themes up as the soundtrack of your life.
Here are these six key themes emphasized in 1 John:
- Relationship with the Father is a genuine relationship, not a shallow religiosity.
- Confidence comes from your relationship with the Father because of My sacrifice, His grace, and the Spirit’s assurance in your heart.
- Knowledge of Me and that I AM just and faithful leads My disciples to live faithfully and act justly.
- Faith that I AM the Father’s Son, Jesus, Who came as God in human flesh, is the key to your overcoming the world and living for Me.
- Love for each other as brothers and sisters shows that you know the Father’s love and are the Father’s children.
- Goodness is found in your actions, thoughts, and words when you are in a genuine relationship with the Father.
Listen for these themes. Since 1 John is so short, read it several times over the next several days. Don’t try to dissect each short passage, but listen to the letter as you would listen to a great piece of music. Let the interplay of the themes seep into your heart and capture your life. Each of these six themes will repeat in different connections with each other as a short musical riff and then connect you to the next theme. And like all good music, the interplay of these themes brings a freshness to your life — and in this case, it brings you the assurance and joy of eternal life that actually has already begun for you as My disciple!
Verses to Live
Today’s verses begin with a paragraph about your relationship with the Father and with each other. These relationships bring you an experience of eternal life. They provide you a connection with the Father and Me. This connection is about relationships and experiences that are intimately real and that bring you into Our family. These relationships are based upon My mission as God in human flesh Who lived among real people who could see Me, hear Me, and touch Me both before and after My crucifixion and resurrection. It was this mission that the Father sent Me to accomplish and that made your relationship with the Father as His beloved child possible. You don’t have to pretend that you are perfect. Just bring who you are to the Father. Be open, honest, and transparent with Him in the light of His glory and grace. When you are, My sacrifice for you purifies you, connects you to others who are saved by this same grace, and prepares you to live for Me. So be filled with hope and joy as you read these words of assurance from My beloved disciple, John.
We want to tell you about the One Who was from the beginning. We have seen Him with our own eyes, heard Him with our own ears, and touched Him with our own hands. This One is the manifestation of the life-giving Voice, and He showed us real life, eternal life. We have seen it all, and we can’t keep what we witnessed quiet — we have to share it with you. We are inviting you to experience eternal life through the One Who was with the Father and came down to us. What we saw and heard we pass on to you so that you, too, will be connected with us intimately and become family. Our family is united by our connection with the Father and His Son Jesus, the Anointed One; and we write all this because retelling this story fulfills our joy.
What we are telling you now is the very message we heard from Him: God is pure light, undimmed by darkness of any kind. If we say we have an intimate connection with the Father but we continue stumbling around in darkness, then we are lying because we do not live according to truth. If we walk step by step in the light, where the Father is, then we are ultimately connected to each other through the sacrifice of Jesus His Son. His blood purifies us from all our sins. If we go around bragging, “We have no sin,” then we are fooling ourselves and are strangers to the truth. But if we own up to our sins, God shows that He is faithful and just by forgiving us of our sins and purifying us from the pollution of all the bad things we have done. If we say, “We have not sinned,” then we depict God as a liar and show that we have not let His word find its way into our hearts.
You are my little children, so I am writing these things to help you avoid sin. If, however, any believer does sin, we have a high-powered defense lawyer [as our advocate and comforter] — Jesus the Anointed, the righteous — arguing on our behalf before the Father. It was through His sacrificial death that our sins were atoned. But He did not stop there — He died for the sins of the whole world.
(1 John 1:1-10; 1 John 2:1-2)
Response in Prayer
Father, I bring to You who I am. I am not trying to hide anything. You know my secrets, both good and bad. You know my struggles, both those that I have overcome by Your grace and those that have caused me to stumble. You know that my heart longs to live for You, honor You, and celebrate Your goodness and grace. So I ask for Your help as I seek to live a life that reflects Your goodness and grace. I need the Holy Spirit to instill in me confidence in the eternal life I have with You. Open my eyes to the reality of this life that has already begun and will never end. Thank You for John’s beautiful little letter. May its truths fill my heart with the music of Your holiness, grace, and joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.