While teaching Let’s Do Theology on Sunday evening, I was reminded that as Christian women in the year 2020 we are most often taught a mainstream theology of positivity and self-affirmation. In this cultural climate of you do you, we are tempted to skip past the hard parts of Scripture and dwell in those places that make us feel good about ourselves. If we aren’t careful and without much thought one can adopt a flippant, self-deprecating attitude. All of the Bible teaches that God is for us but not without teaching us first of our fallen, depraved state. Poor quality intake of the Word restricts the main flow of God’s sanctifying grace toward us.
Let’s look at the scriptures for a moment: John knew the weightiness of words. When going to 1 John, it is imperative that we remember 1 John 1:1-4 and 1 John 5:13 as the governing purpose statement for John’s writing. He is writing here to those who’ve confessed Jesus as the very son of God to give them confidence in who they are so they would know who they are in union with Him. That union guarantees eternal life.
The history of this passage is such that false teachings had entered the church and John felt the need to clarify the teaching, the gospel itself. The church had begun to question if they had gotten it right. There was uncertainty then as there is uncertainty today and frankly, nothing will rob your joy as quickly as uncertainty.
Today, distortions of the truth seem to be staring us in the face with every turn of the head! And the fact remains (just as in the time of John’s writing) these distortions of truth can creep into the church, both corporately and individually. It is vital we remember that over time, the church can begin to embrace the redefinitions society is making.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete…I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Jn 5:1-4, 13). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
John writes to a particular congregation but speaks in turn to us, so that we may know who we are in Christ and our joy may be made complete. John is passing on truths to future generations of Christians. He wants us to be confident in our union with Christ. More than ever before, we need to reaffirm what we know regarding basic Bible doctrine. All of Scripture is for us and it is God’s word that does the work of maintaining a foundation of truth worthy of passing on. Let’s not skip the hard parts.