The Epistles of John  part 2          Download in Pdf format

1 John 2: 1 - 14

We started off by looking at two verses from chapter 1 - verses 3 and 7. These verses reiterate that the fellowship that the disciple had with God and with His Son, formed the basis for his fellowship with the believers he was writing to. Throughout the Epistles of John we will see this theme recur again and again. Fellowship with our fellow Christians is simply a by-product of our fellowship with God. It is not a goal to be sought after for its own sake. In this second chapter of 1 John, we see that love for our fellow believers is simply a barometer to guage our fellowship with God. This passage is a supreme example of a descriptive passage - in other words it is saying "If this and this is so, then that and that will be so..." It does not instruct us to love our fellow believers, rather, like Paul does in 2 Corinthians 5: 18 -21, it encourages us to be reconciled with God, to be in intimate fellowship with Him, and our love for the brethren will flow from that. In ch 2: 9 - 11, we see loving or not loving our fellow believers is equated to walking in the light or walking in the darkness. This reminds us of what we studied not long ago in the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 6: 22 - 23). There we saw that if we have a single focus (God Himself), then our whole body would be full of light. So, if we all have that upward focus and have fellowship with Him, there will be love and unity. However, if we are not focussed on Him and not having fellowship with Him, then that love and unity cannot result...To instruct Christians to love each other, is tantamount to telling them to pick themselves up by their bootlaces. The love and unity spoken of in our passage, is dependent on our unity and fellowship with and focus on the Father.

Next, we put the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together, starting with the confession of our sin in ch 1: 8 and ending with the Atonement and the meaning of it in ch 2: 2. First of all, I made a statement: "The confession of our sin is an expression of faith". To explain this, we considered  the Greek word for "confession" (Homologea) which means "to speak the same, to agree". In other words, God searches our hearts, convicts us, and we agree. In that agreeing, we are actually saying "Yes, God, you are speaking the truth about me, I believe you...". In Genesis 
15:6 we read "... Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness". Faith is believing God and everything He says, and so, when we believe Him/agree with Him  regarding our sin, it is an expression of faith/belief. It follows then in ch 1: 10 that if we do not agree with Him regarding our sin, we do not believe Him. (have no faith in Him).

The next piece of the picture came from ch 2 verse 1, where Jesus is called our advocate. We looked at what an advocate in the world is supposed to do - defend you, attempt to show the judge that you are not guilty, get you off on some legal technicality and generally make you look good...In Jesus Christ we have an advocate who goes about things slightly differently. First of all he approaches the Judge and proclaims "Yes, this person is 100% guilty!" In worldly terms we would say "O dear, that's not a good start..." but, this is absolutely vital. Everything is exposed, brought to the light. Then the verdict is read: Guilty. Sentence is passed down and our Advocate steps in and takes the punishment upon Himself in our place! amazing..

This led us to the all-important subject in ch 2 verse 2 of Christ being our Atoning Sacrifice. We read the following references: Romans 3:25   Hebrews 2:17   Hebrews 9:5   Leviticus 16 and Numbers 7:89

We learnt something very interesting from these readings, especially Hebrews 9:5 and Leviticus 16 which deals with the Atonement Cover of the Ark of the covenant. Leviticus 16 makes for interesting reading as regards the procedure that the high priest had to follow to prepare the Atonement Cover for a very specific purpose...We were also reminded of the Jewish holy day Yom Kippur which means "Day of Atonement" This is a day, annually, upon which the Jews fast and pray (five times as opposed to the usual three times) and repent, and at the end of the day, they are "atoned for".

To complete the picture and discover the real purpose of all that had to be done, we read John 17: 20 - 26 and 2 Corinthians 5: 18 - 21. These readings speak about oneness, reconciliation and restored fellowship with God, and this is the crux of the matter. You see friends, everything that went before, Christ's suffering and death on the Cross, His triumph over satan and sin, the forgiveness and cleansing that we receive, is all for the purpose of RESTORING US TO FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD. They are necessities to that glorious end. In Leviticus 16 we saw how the priest had to do the necessary in order that God could come and meet with him there above the Atonement Cover. That was the main aim. So, yes, we are thankful for the forgiveness, for the cleansing, for the fact that Christ took our punishment upon Himself...BUT then we need to boldly and gladly enter into that which all of this brings about - a restored relationship with God!

Here we were reminded of the parable of the great banquet in Luke 14: 1 - 21. Everything had been prepared, everything had been done, and then, one by one, the guests made all sorts of excuses. Friends, what God wants with us, is intimate fellowship. The cost of the banquet and making it possible, is more that we can ever imagine. As He called for Adam in the cool of the evening to walk and talk with Him, so He calls to us to daily come and walk and talk with Him. That is where the mysterious work in us takes place, where the transformation takes place, the conviction and cleansing takes place. It is a blessed place. Let us not, like the invited guests to the banquet, make excuses about fields and houses, oxen and weddings, but let us boldly and gladly enter into that sweet fellowship every day, just as Hebrews 10: 19 - 22 encourages us to do. The outflow from this will be glorious in our lives...

© 2011 Werner Schreiber

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