The author John is the disciple whom Jesus loved. Date: A.D. 95. The theme is fellowship.
Near the end of the apostolic age, errors were creeping into the church, there were attacks on His Deity, and professors were infiltrating into the church. Antichrists were arising and becoming more vociferous.
Compare Colossians 1: Love for Christ was beginning to wane (Letter to Ephesus). The world was stealing the hearts and affections of believers.
John points out that a person is either a child of God of he is not. There is no in between. Some of the features of the child of God:
1. He has eternal life.
2. He loves God.
3. He loves the children of God.
4. He obeys God’s commandments.
5. He ceases to practice sin.
v. 1: That which was from the beginning. Revelation 13:8; 1 Peter 1:19.
The eternity of the Lord Jesus. Compare John 1:1. “Glorify them with the glory that I had.” The pre-existing of our Lord Jesus. His appearances in the O.T.
The Humanity of the Lord Jesus. John 1:14. The greatest mystery of all time. God Manifest in the flesh. I Timothy 3:16. He became a real man. The disciples saw this and John saw it and recorded it. John 16:28.
Concerning the word of life. The subject of the Epistle, compare voice with word. Hebrews 1:1.
v. 2: Capitalize “L” in Life.
He was manifested, revealed and unveiled. He was also revealed as the “Eternal Life”. He was with the father. He was made visible unto us.
v. 3: We are introduced to the incarnate Word before the thought of fellowship is expressed. What is fellowship? Partnership. The formation of the family is children. The new birth is fellowship of saints. The fullness of fellowship is with God and with Christ.
v. 4: When we are in fellowship our joy is full. There are two ways of having fullness of Joy.
1. We keep His commandments and we bear fruit.
2. We are in fellowship with God, Son and brethren.
Peter speaks of “joy unspeakable” and cannot describe His joy. His peace passes all understanding. Psalm 16:11. This is experienced her and now. “Thou will show me the path of life”.
v. 5: God is the light and in Him there is no darkness at all. There are conditions for fellowship and some of them are revealed in the rest of the epistle. But John first of all reveals the character of God. God is light, absolutely Holy, Righteous and Pure. Being this “there is no darkness in Him”. Exodus 15:11. God is light. Paul on the Damascus Road and The Mount of Transfiguration.
One tiny spark of darkness in our life breaks that fellowship. We cannot hide our sin from Him because all things are open and bare in the sight of Him with whom we have to do. Revelations 1.
v. 6: John is now about to distinguish between mere professors and actual professors. He selects seven keys to show the difference and introduces them by the word “if”. This verse would give us the picture of a professor despite their words. They are out of fellowship with God and walk in darkness (the opposite of light).
v. 7: Believers. A picture of a believer in fellowship with God and His fellow Christians. The Word and the Holy Spirit play an active part in this. Walking in the light. Genesis 17:1. Enoch walked with God. Those that walk in the light (believers) are cleansed from all sin by the blood of Jesus Christ. All our sin has been atoned for. This would describe our state before God. We are cleaned once by the blood of Christ, but we are washed continually by the Word of God. John 13:4-10, Ephesians 5:26.
v. 8: If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, not God nor our neighbors.
v. 9: Sin breaks our fellowship, confession restores it. Psalms 22. Unconfessed sin is the greatest hindrance to spiritual power and growth.
What are some of the sins that can break this fellowship and hinder this power, growth and joy?
1. He is the Spirit of Truth. John 14:2
2. He is the Spirit of Faith. II Corinthians 4:13
3. He is the Spirit of Holiness. Romans 1:4
4. He is the Spirit of Glory. I Peter 4:14
Please note: We do not ask for forgiveness. We confess, repent, and acknowledge sin. As Sinners we came in repentance and our sins ere forgiven. He is faithful and righteous to put away our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
This teaches us that to have a life of fellowship with God does not require a sinless life, but it does require sin to be confessed and forsaken.