E-Mail Bible Class
The Letters of John
BC Weekly Digest Monday, April 6 1998 In this issue: 1 John 2:1 1 John 2:3,4 1 John 2:3 1 John 2:19 1 John 2:20, 27 1 John 2:1 "I am writing..." God's covenant with Israel was a written one. Jesus affirmed it when he resisted Satan with the words:"for it is written..."( Matthew 4:4-10). The apostle Paul twice declared the Old Testament writings as profitable "for our instruction"( Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11 ). But more important than instructions written in ink or engraved on stone is the incarnation of godly principles written on the heart as a living epistle! According to the prophet Jeremiah, this was to characterize the making of God's new covenant, unlike the old, because He was to put this covenant within His people and to write it upon their hearts ( Jeremiah 31:31-34 ). Those with God's word written on their hearts are ministers of a new covenant, a dispensation of the Spirit, of a splendor greater than that seen on the face of Moses when he received the Law. "But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit ( 2 Corinthians 3:1-18 ASV ). Are we transformed into living epistles? J.Lee Roberts ------------------------------ 1 John 2:3,4 1 John 2:3,4 (OPV) 3 And by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, I know Him, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. === 2:3 "We know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments" The verb 'to know' is used twenty-five times in First John (2:3,3,4,5,13,13,14,18,29; 3:1,1,6,16,19,20,24; 4:2,6,6,7,8,13,16; 5:2,20). John wants his readers to know what they can know, and how they can know they know! A Christian not only knows about God, he can know God. It was predicted that all those under the New Covenant would know God: "And they shall not teach every man his fellow-citizen, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: For all shall know me, from the least to the greatest of them" (Heb 8:11 ASV). We know God by knowing His Son Jesus Christ. When Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father, Jesus replied: "Have I been so long time with you, and dost thou not know me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; how sayest thou, Show us the Father?" (John 14:9 ASV). Jesus has a close relationship with us, like that of a shepherd who cares for his sheep: "I am the good shepherd; and I know mine own, and mine own know me" (John 10:14 ASV). Just as sheep follow their shepherd, so we follow Christ and keep His commandments because we love Him. He tells us: "If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments" (John 14:15 ASV), "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love" (John 15:10 ASV). When we know Christ, love Him and keep His commandments, we not only know God through Him, but God knows us! "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him" (John 14:21 ASV). This sets us apart from the world. As Paul asks the Galatians: "But now that ye have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how turn ye back again to the weak and beggarly rudiments, whereunto ye desire to be in bondage over again?" (Gal 4:9 ASV). 2:4 "He who says, I know Him, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" It is not enough for someone to claim that he knows God: "They profess that they know God; but by their works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate" (Titus 1:16 ASV). John is not referring to a supposed salvation by meritorious works. He already stated in chapter one that anyone who says he is without sin is a liar. But from that time till this, many have used the grace of God as an excuse to ignore the commandments of Christ. John is simply pointing out that it is possible to know God only by keeping His commandments, and that keeping His commandments allows us to KNOW that we know Him! Roy Davison ------------------------------ 1 John 2:3 1 John 2:3 2:3 "And by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments" Here are the emphatic qualifications for our access to the redemptive grace of God through the shed blood of His blessed Son. This is the only way one can attain the fellowship spoken of in verse 7 of the preceding chapter. To "know" Him simply means to have an intimate knowledge of Him through obedience to His word. When I was a child, my mother would take me in her arms and soothe my woes. It is in this same manner that our Father takes us into his spiritual arms and makes things right once again. What a blessed relationship that we are able to call Him our Father and to know that His son is our Brother in the Spirit (Romans 8:14-17). Howard B. Justice ------------------------------ 1 John 2:19 The question has been asked: Who are "they who went out from us"? John did not dignify the "antichrists" who went out from the churches of Christ by naming them. It is possible that Cerinthus, a Jew who was educated in Alexandria, Egypt may have been one of them. He became a Gnostic and lived in or near Ephesus during John's stay there (see Guy N. Woods' commen- tary). Whether or not Cerinthus was one of them, we are certain that they had been associated with the Lord's church but were never really converted to Christ. This is implied by the phrase, "For if they had been of us" (verse 19). The imperfect tense of "were not of us" indicates that these false Christians had continually in time past maintained the status of not being "of us." "Of us" means more than being nominal Christians. Apparently, these men were deceitful from the start. "Remained" is the rare pluperfect tense in Greek. The implication here is that had they been true Christians, they would have completed their expected tenure "with us" but they skipped out at some time in the past. Charles Hess. ------------------------------ 1 John 2:20, 27 The question has been asked: What is the "anointing" spoken of in verses 20 and 27? John explains that the anointing is (1) from "the Holy One" and it enabled his readers to "know" something (verse 20). The Greek present tense indicates that they continued to receive the anointing. What the anointing enabled them to know was evidently "the truth" (verse 21). The anointing was divinely given. It was "from Him" (verse 27). Not only did it enable them to know the truth, but it made it unnecessary for them to be taught. It taught them about all things. Undoubtedly, the anointing was a supernatural gift that enabled Christians in the first century to receive revelation directly from the Holy Spirit. Charles Hess.