1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.
The writer of this letter is not identified, but it’s commonly held to be the Apostle John, writing around AD 90. By this time John was an old man, and the other apostles were dead.
Some who seemed to be Christians, had developed wrong views of Jesus, and were no longer part of the Christian community (1 John 2:19). John wrote to calm the church by providing apostolic teaching regarding the person of Christ. He also provided instruction for Christian living.
1 John 1:3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
The church of Jesus Christ is more than an association of likeminded people; it is those who are in fellowship with God, and with each other. Fellowship includes companionship, mutual support, solidarity and common interests.
I have a friend who belongs to a car club that he enjoys very much. They talk about cars, work on cars, race cars, and enjoy a sense of community from their shared experience. My friend can talk about cars with anyone, but he can only have fellowship with his racing friends.
Christian fellowship is similar, but more profound, because the Spirit of Christ lives within every true believer. When the Spirit of Christ in us, recognizes the Spirit of Christ in someone else, there is a sense of heavenly fellowship.
An American Christian was living in a place where Christianity was illegal. As he walked down the street, one day, he was surprised to hear the person behind him whistling a Christian hymn. He slowed his pace until they were side by side. Then he began to whistle the same hymn. They did not speak the same language, but they both stopped, locked eyes, embraced and went their ways. All around the world, there are people with the Spirit of Christ, with whom we have fellowship.
1 John 1:7 [T]he blood of Jesus . . . purifies us from all sin.
When we understand the justice of God, and the wickedness of sin, nothing is more important than knowing that we are forgiven. Being in a right relationship with God is precious to us, and we never want to lose it. John assured his readers that faith in Christ’s blood, shed on the cross, is sufficient to make and keep us clean.
A young lady lost her virginity when she was fourteen years old, and felt so dirty that she went home to shower. But no matter how long she washed, or how much soap she used, she could not feel clean. This feeling stayed with her until she came to Christ a few years later. Suddenly, she felt cleaner inside than she could ever remember. This is because the blood of Jesus . . . purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins.
The moment someone believes in Jesus Christ, they receive complete forgiveness for all their sins (Colossians 2:13). Sadly, however, we do not stop sinning. We might not sin as badly, or as often, but If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8), wrote John. So whenever we sin, God invites us to confess, so we can stay close to him throughout our lives.
When my daughter was a little girl I overheard her say to her mom, Don’t tell Daddy. I didn’t know what she had done, and I did not care. But I wanted to hear her confession, so I could pardon and restore her, and tell her that all was well. God wants to do the same for us, so he invites us to come to him, and even tells us in advance that he will receive us.
Furthermore, the reason God forgives is not because he is nice, but because he is faithful and just, wrote John. If I received a speeding ticket, and my older brother paid the fine, the judge could not make me pay as well. That would be unjust. Since Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, God would be unjust if he did not forgive us. If we truly believe in Jesus Christ, we will be troubled by our sins, and will confess them. But we will not have to wonder about our standing with God. [H]e is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins.
1 John 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
Whenever we sin, Jesus comes to our defense. He is our defense attorney who advocates on our behalf. We do not have to defend ourselves; Jesus speaks for us. And he always wins his case.
A lady was at a business meeting, with several of her superiors, when she was falsely accused by a coworker. She tried to defend herself, but the more she tried, the guiltier she seemed. Then someone spoke in her defense: I saw everything, and she did nothing wrong. She was instantly cleared because someone spoke in her defense.
But Jesus comes to our defense even when we are guilty. He does not try to mislead the Father, but simply shows his hands, feet, side and back. He gets us out of trouble every time because he paid the price himself. [W]e have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
Reflection and Review
What is the value of Christian fellowship?
Why does God forgive our sins?
Why do we need an advocate?