Wednesday, January 9, 2013

1st John Chapter 5 Part 12

5:20-21 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
John wraps things up with an incredible declaration that we ought to meditate on. We know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding. What is this understanding? That we may know Him that is true. Moreover, that we are in Him that is true. We are in Christ.

Faith in the gospel that saves (1st Corinthians 15:2), the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16), the gospel of God (Romans 1:1), places us in the church invisible and universal. The church is Christ’s body, Ephesians 1:22-23. It stands to reason that if you are part of the church you are in Christ, for you are quite literally a part of His body, being built up throughout the ages until the consummation is reached at the Rapture. Christ has come to declare God; and He did this very easily since He is God and could describe God to us in a way no one before or after could have any hope of doing. He explained this to Nicodemus in their nighttime conversation, John 3:12-13. Christ is God manifested fully, Colossians 2:9.

This revelation of Jesus Christ brings understanding and knowledge which should blossom into faith and a firm and comforting grasp that we abide in Christ, and He in us. The apostle culminates his speech by declaring that this manifestation of God, the incarnation of Jesus Christ, come in the flesh, is the true God and eternal life. Christ is life, and through Him alone do we receive eternal life, John 1:4; 5:40; 11:25; 14:6. This can only be so because Jesus is also God. His very name means “Jehovah saves.” It was the name the angel Gabriel commanded Mary to bequeath Him with, Luke 1:31. It is this same one whom the angels rejoiced over at His birth, naming Him Savior, Messiah (Christ; literally anointed one) and Lord, Luke 2:11. Jesus Christ is the true God, John 17:3.

The last verse penned by John is highly sobering, and a final clue as to the doctrine the false teachers were propagating in the first century church. The false teachers had apparently gone out from Christian fellowship, 1st John 2:19. They professed a Christ that was not God and man, 1st John 4:3. This perverted teaching affected their conduct toward others on a variety of levels, 1st John 2:4, 6, 9, etc. This may explain the reference John makes to the sin that leads to death, 1st John 5:16. Finally, with a tongue in cheek warning, the apostle cautions his spiritual children to stay away from idolatry. This new Christ was not another, but a perversion of simple truth and therefore false, 2nd Corinthians 11:4. It was blatant idolatry, perhaps from the Gnostic movement, garbed in Christian clothing.

John recognized it for what it was, and told the saints of his day to keep away from such things. Our view of God will inevitably be demonstrated in our daily conduct. The idolatry these false teachers practiced brought egotism, division, promiscuity and contempt for authority. John contrasts the righteous life of the saint with the one who does not know God a number of times. True contact with the Lord results in true transformation inside-out. Idolatry in any form can never substitute for a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Let us heed the apostle’s final admonition and do likewise: “keep yourselves from idols.” A simple Amen, meaning “may it be so” closes John’s first epistle. My prayer is that this exposition edifies the reader and glorifies God, to whom I owe all. God bless.


  1. Good post.I just have a couple points you might think about.

    Under the law certain sins demanded the death penalty. While people could forgive most things, and drop the penalty, I think John was saying we were not obligated that the penalty be dropped in such cases.

    The word church comes from a word meaning assembly. The universal church will never assembly until the Lord returns, so at the present time we participate in the local visible church as subsets of that heavenly church. When it does meet, it will be a local church for all who are members. Nowhere in scripture do I find a reference to an invisible church. When we meet i

  2. I don't disagree with your assessment of the idea of the civil penalty reagrding one's sins; in fact I alluded to this in my commentary on verses 16-17, perhaps not clearly enough. But Scripture does reveal that death results from sin for more than civil penalties, as was the case with Ananias or the Corinthian Christians.
    As for the invisible church, I was merely attempting to point out that every member of Christ's body, being saved by the gospel, is in fact that; a member of His body: the church. Whether you are affiliated with a local church or not does not preclude such a saint from universal membership in what I termed as the "invisible" church which compasses the world. Christ is the head, we are all brethren, and there is but one church of which all are members who have been saved by grace through faith. This is what I mean by the invisible church. Though most Christians are fit into a local church body, I see these biblically as appendages of the larger entity of the single church that Christ is building out of all of us.

  3. PS:
    Thank you for the inquiry/correction. I enjoy and am refreshed by having someone care enoough to provide them. I was in the midst of prayer when I was reminded that I had not thanked you for your comments!

    1. Like Iron sharpening iron, the interaction helps us both to clarify our our thinking. I know it can get discouraging if no responds.


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