Monday, December 8, 2008 – 1 John – Testimony
Notes from La Biblia de América: The Letters of John along with his Gospel and the book of Revelation which some attribute to him, give us the unique point of view of this apostle who calls us to life in Christ. This message is singular in that it requires much of us . . . it asks us to risk much . . . it asks us to act. The three letters of John were most likely written in the early years when the first Christian communities were forming. It is likely that they were written in order to bring unity to the divisions which were evidently taking place . . . John called these sheep home to The Word, reminding them – and us – that the Word is to be lived if believed.
This first letter lays out Johannine theology in the following ways.
- One must remain faithful to that which was taught from the beginning, rather than following progressive ideas which draw us away from God’s original message which we know arrived to us in the form Christ. Christ is God’s Word to us, God’s expression of love for us. (1 John 1:1-3, 2:24-26)
- It is not enough to only believe. Our belief must be demonstrated in our acting in accord with Christ’s Law of Love, that of doing the will of the Father. (1 John 1:5-2:17, 4:7-5:3)
- We, as God’s creatures, already possess eternal life; we presently await final confirmation of this fact. Sin is allowed during this waiting time, because next to and alongside the spirit of truth, the spirit of the lie is permitted to exist and act. It is therefore necessary to discern the difference between the spirit of truth and the spirit of the lie. (1 John 4:1)
- There is no need to distort the reality of Christ. Christ, in his essence, is enough. Along with his divine dimension we must always remember his humanity. We know this because we see his willingness to enter into our life and to suffer for our sin for us. (1 John 2:1-2, 3:16, 5:6)
This document is exceptional in that it is born of a confrontation in the nascent Church, erupting from the very heart of the Christian community and without doubt it contributed to the success of that community. At first glance the letter appears to lack a logical structure or clarity; but when we the entire epistle we see the thinking develop in a spiral of turning on a central theme: we are one with Christ and this unity is an intimate communion with God.
The words of this letter – as do all the words of John to his fledgling church and to us today – ask us to live in total authenticity and fidelity to The Word . . . The Word as spoken by God in the form of Christ, The Word as lived in our own humanity and divinity.
John asks us to live our present life expecting the next. And he asks that we participate in this expectation with joyful hope. Our coming death in this life brings us to life eternal in and with God. John asks that we abide ever mindful of the fact to which he testifies . . . that for as much as we cling to life now and here . . . the best is yet to come.
LA BIBLIA DE LA AMÉRICA. 8th. Madrid: La Casa de la Biblia, 1994. Print.