1 John Chapter 1: Walking in Light or Walking in Darkness

Feb 8th, 2010 | By | Category: 1st & 2nd & 3rd John, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

1 John Chapter 1: Walking in Light or Walking in Darkness

It is essential to give a little preface before we begin a verse-by-verse study of the three epistles of John. To our understanding and experience, they are probably the least understood epistles in the New Testament. One reason is that when we read the first epistle, it is sort of sonorous and mellifluous; that is, its flow is sweet like honey. If we finished this epistle and were asked four hours later what we had read, very few would know because it has a seeming lack of perspicuity; that is, it lacks a definiteness on the surface. However, if we were living at the time this epistle was written, it would be dynamite—just the opposite.

For many years, we found that something was lacking in reviews and considerations of this first epistle, but fortunately, within the past year, we found someone who agreed with us. What we would like to say is the following. While this first epistle correctly conveys the peculiar and affectionate disposition of the Apostle John when it is superficially read and understood, we will endeavor to show that none of the apostles spoke more sharply than John.

One consolation is that this epistle proves the gentlest Christian can be a son of thunder when Christ’s honor and dignity are at stake. And that was the situation here.

The question has been posed, Why didn’t the apostle descend to particulars instead of using general terms such as exhorting the brethren to holiness, brotherly love, and obedience, which he contrasted with the incipient dangers of worldly fellowship? There is another point too.

When considering the class John was speaking of in this first epistle, we should remember that those he was warning against were all brethren who believed in Christ at one time, but for various reasons, they went off on their own. In 1 John 2:19, the apostle generalized, saying, “They went out from us.” In the third epistle, there was mention, by name, of a very influential brother who even dared to oppose the Apostle John.

We will try to understand the background of the three epistles, which the brethren of the apostle’s day were thoroughly familiar with through their experiences mostly in Asia Minor.

What was the background? The brethren were being confronted with certain erroneous doctrines. We do not want to get inveigled into studying what the errorists believed and taught, but it is necessary to put in succinct form some of the ideas that were prevalent.

One such doctrine was Docetism. Its adherents felt that Christ did not have a material body but that his body was a vision or that he had a phantom body composed of ethereal substance.

This belief led to a denial of the reality of the death of Christ and the propitiation for sin. With this type of theology, the blood of Christ was meaningless. Others of this same school of thought of Docetism believed that the story attached to Christ—the Gospel account—was a myth. They felt that it was enough to worship God in spirit and that the body could engage in every kind of sex and indulgence with impunity. This statement may be hard to believe, but we have given considerable study to this subject. The immoral creed refuted the true doctrine that every sin is a transgression. The truth of the matter is that only the pure are recognized as Christ’s. John taught that the character of God, as learned from Christ, must determine the Christian’s inward and outward life, whereas Docetism condoned immorality in the outward life.

Another individual, whose name was Corinthus, lived contemporaneously with the Apostle John in Ephesus. Originally from Alexandria in Africa, he moved up to Asia Minor and was in the same city with John in the apostle’s later life. (Incidentally, these facts are based on fragments of history that we have gleaned.) On one occasion, John saw Corinthus at a public bath. What was John’s reaction? He felt it was urgent to leave lest blood from the bath contaminate him and his companions. In other words, he regarded Corinthus as the enemy, as a very dangerous heretic.

What did this former brother believe? Corinthus erroneously taught that the world was not made by the highest God. Probably this belief was a distortion of Genesis 1:2, which mentions the darkness that prevailed in connection with creation. He further taught that the God of earth, a separate being, was ignorant of and far removed in character and thinking from the true supreme God.

In contradistinction to Docetism, Corinthus believed that the body of Christ was a real earthly body but that it was essentially of spirit (not human) nature. By teaching that the divine spirit first united with the man Jesus at his baptism, he advocated sort of a dual situation. It is interesting that the Catholic religion basically absorbed this doctrine, and instead of talking about Corinthus as a heretic, Catholics condemn Arius, for example, as a heretic.

Corinthus is said to have held, just like the Docetists, coarse and sensual but millennial views. In the Kingdom, Christ will be the Father, and the Church is to be the mother, but Docetists took this relationship in a literal sense instead of seeing the regeneration aspect of the fallen Adamic race. In other words, they believed they would be the procreators of a new race. This concept was another vast distortion.

We have presented the erroneous doctrines in a simplified form. Additional doctrinal error came from the magi (or Persian) influence, which pertained to the transmigration of the soul. And lastly, the Stoics were quite prevalent. Advocates of this belief promoted the Greek philosophy that the Christian must be free from passion, unmoved by joy or grief. This doctrine led to monasticism and asceticism and other deviations along another line.

As we consider John’s three epistles, it will help to keep the thoughts of this brief introduction in mind. We will then realize that certain statements John made were really slamming those who held these erroneous views. Both the views and the proponents of the views were known by the brethren back there, so they understood what John was saying. The epistles give evidence of the affectionate disposition of the apostle, but they also manifest his strong character. Understanding John’s motivation brings energy and life to his writings, especially to the first epistle, which at first glance seems to be like a song with beautiful words and nothing concrete to grab onto.

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 upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

“That [Jesus] which was from the [a] beginning [when the Logos was created], which we [apostles] have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life [at the First Advent].” While Jesus had a preexistence in the past, he appeared on the stage of human history at the First Advent. In this introduction in verse 1, John told what he had personally experienced with Jesus—what it meant to him and what it should mean to others. Notice that John used the pronoun “we” instead of “I.” The reference was primarily to the apostles, of which John was the last living member.

Comment: John was emphatically saying that he had firsthand information: “We have heard, seen, looked upon, and touched him with our hands”; that is, “Jesus was here in the flesh, and we apostles were eyewitnesses.”

Comment: The clauses “which we have seen with our eyes” and “which we have looked upon” are not repetition. The distinction is that the apostles saw him during his ministry but looked upon him at Calvary, when he was hanging on the Cross.

Reply: Yes, that is a good thought. A lasting impression was left on John, who was probably Jesus’ favorite apostle. We have shown from the Scriptures that Paul and Peter were superior to John. Nevertheless, Jesus and John evidently connected in a remarkable way.

Not only was John an eyewitness, but also, as a footstep follower of Jesus for 3 1/2 years, he frequently had opportunity to be in the Master’s company—eating, sleeping on the road, and talking with him. In verse 1, John was saying that this gazing was of a more continuing nature or experience. The statement “our hands have handled [him]” was a rebuttal against the erroneous thought of an ethereal body. In short, John had been with Jesus, so who could speak better? Moreover, he was an apostle, not merely a disciple who tagged along. Eyewitness testimony should have more credibility than a secondhand report.

Comment: John was the apostle “whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 20:2; 21:7).

Comment: When Jesus was on the Cross, he committed the care of his mother to John. This act proved that Jesus had full confidence in John. Also, the fact that Jesus had a mother proves he had a fleshly body during his earthly ministry.

Reply: While the Docetists thought that Jesus’ body was just a vision, those of another school of thought had to admit in principle the existence of a material body. This second class believed that Christ’s spirit took over the body of a man named Jesus.

Comment: Since this epistle was written about 60 years after Jesus’ resurrection, an eyewitness account was very important.

Reply: As indicated by internal evidence, this epistle was written about AD 90. The Apostle Jude was still alive at this time. However, he had deceased when the Book of Revelation was written in AD 96 or 98, at which time, John was the last living apostle. The fact that Jude follows John’s epistles and immediately precedes the Book of Revelation supports these thoughts.

There is an additional point. Domitian was the Roman emperor at this time, i.e., up until AD 96, when he died. Reliable tradition says that Domitian called two disciples from Jerusalem to appear before him in Rome, Jude being one of the two. When the emperor saw the appearance of Jude—that he was not a scholarly person—he dismissed him, considering his religion to be insignificant. John’s exile to the Isle of Patmos occurred very shortly thereafter.

Verse 1 is the same today in principle, for Christians spiritually commune and fellowship with Jesus here in the Harvest period if they open the door of their heart when Jesus knocks. “Behold, I [Jesus] stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup [eat] with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20).

John leaned on Jesus’ breast at the Memorial supper, when the emblems were instituted. After his resurrection, Jesus said, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended … unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (John 20:17). However, the disciples did touch him several times, and some apparently threw themselves at his feet and worshipped him in thankfulness that he was alive. As the Pastor beautifully expressed, when Jesus said, “Touch me not,” he meant, “Embrace me not.” In other words, he was saying, “You know me. I am the same being, but things are different now. Therefore, decorum teaches that you should have more reserve.” The decorum was proper as opposed to the familiarity they had had with Jesus prior to his spirit resurrection.

Incidentally, John 1:1 has a little different emphasis than 1 John 1:1. The Gospel of John emphasizes the preexistence of Christ and the beginning of creation, whereas this first epistle emphasizes the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. For instance, 1 John 2:7 reads, “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning [of Jesus’ ministry, gospel, and teachings]. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.”

1 John 1:2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

If John were alive and we were aware of his disposition, we would know that this repetition was done with oomph and power. His earnestness would have been apparent in trying to get across to the disciples the power of his logic.

A problem in refuting the errorists was that not much New Testament Scripture was readily available at that time. Paul’s and Peter’s epistles were not circulated for the most part until after John’s demise, and brethren had access to these epistles for only short periods of time.

Therefore, much of a person’s doctrinal beliefs depended on his heart condition. Those who got a fragment of truth and really appreciated it tried to go to the source to obtain more information. Those who were of an inquiring and diligent disposition were rewarded. Not until about the third century did the canon of Scripture, as we know it today, become available.

“We … show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us [the apostles primarily].” John was talking about Jesus’ preexistence, which scotches the idea of just the man Jesus. We believe that both Jesus and Christ Jesus had a preexistence as the Logos. John was saying, “The one I have seen and been familiar with is the Word of life. He is the one who came from the Father.” John was convinced of Jesus’ Messiahship, and he strongly defended it here.

1 John 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

For the third time in three verses, John emphasized that the apostles had seen and heard Jesus. The triple emphasis was not accidental. John spoke with power as he repeated and repeated the thought that he had been there and known Christ firsthand. Those who were doing all the contradictory talking had gotten their information secondhand and selected what information they wanted. God chose the right man, John, for this time period. His style of writing was very meaningful and powerful to combat the error. John did not just write words but wrote words with feeling. Had he read this epistle, we can be sure he would have spoken as a son of thunder, yet he was humble (Mark 3:17). Peter, a strong and bold character, was humble and soft as far as God and Jesus were concerned. These are characteristics that we, as Christians, have to develop. As the Apostle James said, we should be “swift to hear, [and] slow to speak” (James 1:19).

“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us,” that is, “that ye will have our joy.” John was saying, “You can see what has moved us all these years to be faithful to Christ. We know him, and we know the Father through him.”

“Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” Many people love to talk and hold center stage, but John was saying, “What I am telling you is real. Our fellowship was not only with Christ but also with God, and we would like to get that feeling over to you, so that you, as individuals, in your worship of the Creator, will have the same motivation, feeling, and joy that we have. That is my desire and one purpose of this epistle.”

Comment: John was privileged to be on the Mount of Transfiguration to hear God say, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matt. 17:5).

Reply: Yes, the favored three—Peter, John, and James—had that experience.

1 John 1:4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

Verse 4 is another repetition of the same theme. In His patience, God used this technique in the Old Testament. For instance, He went through the constructional detail of the Tabernacle and then repeated it. Repetition is a form of emphasis.

Comment: The King James marginal reference is John 15:9-11. “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 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. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John recorded Jesus’ words in his epistle.

Comment: John was saying, “We apostles are writing these things unto you so that you will know the full message and your joy will be full.” Those who heeded the writings of the apostles would retain their joy and not be deceived by false doctrines, which would take away the joy.

Reply: In other words, he was saying, “Concentrate on that which is constructive and helpful to you, and do not have a craving for the unknown of what others might have. You were satisfied initially when you consecrated.” John spoke on purity and the joy of fellowship and brotherly love because he did not want to depress the ones he was addressing. He pursued that slant lest their joy be diminished, and that was especially true if some of their loved ones had gotten inveigled into erroneous bypaths. How needful it was for the brethren to have a full assurance that they had the source of truth! Therefore, John was saying, “I was with Jesus.

As one of his apostles, I have seen, heard, and touched him. I know what I am saying is true. Always keep that thought in mind.”

When Jesus was with the Father originally, he loved Him so much and had so much respect for His wisdom that when he got an inkling of God’s plan for the recovery of fallen man, he was very interested. Then the Father asked Jesus if he would like to participate in that work. Jesus was glad to do so because of his love for and his knowledge of God as a result being with Him.

When Jesus came down here, he looked up to heaven and thanked God in his prayers and in connection with the miracles. For example, he was very careful to first make sure that credit would go to the Father for the tremendous miracle of the raising of Lazarus. Then he cried in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”

The Gospel of John is very different from the other Gospels, for it goes into the manner in which Jesus spoke. Jesus was so impressed with the Father that he spoke as the Father had taught him. Now John was following the same principle with regard to Christ. Just as Jesus’ intimacy with the Father led him to exhort others to believe him, so now John’s intimacy with Jesus led him to do the same thing. John copied Jesus’ style with meaning and real feeling.

John lived to be over 100 years old. As the tarrying apostle, John represented the last members of the body of Christ, a class at the very end of the age.

Comment: Jesus said, “My meat is to do the will of him [my Father] that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34).

1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

“God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” Some erroneously believed that there were two separate Gods—a lesser God, who created the world, and the supreme Deity. However, the God of creation is also the supreme God. The darkness the errorists were thinking of was a misapplication of the principles of God, which it takes a lifetime to understand. It is remarkable that Stephen made his calling and election sure in such a brief time. A firebrand, he could have been the Apostle Paul if he had lived longer, but God had something else in mind because Paul had sat at the feet of Gamaliel. It took time to know the doctrine of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and because that type of education was necessary, God chose Paul over Stephen.

Jesus’ teachings showed that “[1] God is light, and in him is [2] no darkness [3] at all.” This statement, with a triple emphasis, is an overall principle and summation, but why did John give this summation here? God is “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning,” whereas we are imperfect and inconsistent and have sinful tendencies (James 1:17). Hence we must ever keep in mind the perfect ideal and strive to do better. God is always firm, true, pure, and right. He is “light”; that is, He is pure and sinless and has moral and doctrinal purity. He dispels darkness and has no imperfection or sin. Also, he literally exudes light in his body. In short, He is “light” in every sense of the word—from the intellectual standpoint and from the character purity standpoint, as well as literally. He dwells “in the light which no man can approach unto” (1 Tim. 6:16).

The world became imperfect because of man’s disobedience, but God deals with our freewill moral agency. The New Creation will be the greatest work of all, whereby God will elevate a class of nobodies to the divine nature through the power of His Word and the tutorship of Jesus, the apostles, and the Old Testament prophets.

1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

If we say that we have fellowship with God, but our life contradicts our claim because we walk in darkness, doing whatever we will, then we lie and are not doing the truth. Some indulged the flesh, saying that the flesh was just the human body and nature and that the spirit, the inner man, was the real thing. They felt that the outer man could be forgiven, but the Apostle Paul said, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid” (Rom. 6:1,2).

A class back in John’s day was actually saying, “We have fellowship with Christ,” but they were walking in darkness. In addressing issues that were confronting the true Church, John used a different frame of reference than Paul. Apparently, John did not have Paul’s capability of reasoning and logic. Hence he could not rebut the enemies of Christ in the same way that Paul did with his background and training. However, John’s reasoning was more effective because the average Christian is not intellectual. Therefore, John was the right man for the job under the circumstance.

The development started incipiently, like a mystery of iniquity, but it began to grow and ferment. At first, the only way to combat this highly intellectual argument was to do so on intellectual terms, but now the doctrine had developed further, so that it was becoming a practice. Wrong character development was being manifested by this class, who said they had fellowship with Christ, but their deportment was glaringly bad. The evil they were doing was very obvious, so it was better to use a rational practical argument. Accordingly, John reasoned, “How can you say that you have fellowship with Christ when you are walking with immoral practices?”

In addition, this class had an attitude of superiority and felt that pity, sympathy, tenderness, and compassion were all evidences of weakness. This was Gnostic thinking, and the word  “Gnostic” has to do with being “know-it-alls.” (Today the “g” is a “k.”) Gnostics liked to debatealong their lines, and in the final analysis, they rejected the Gospel of John and only partially accepted the Gospel of Luke; that is, they took what they liked from “Paul’s Gospel.” Not only did they feel that Paul was more authentic, but they looked down on John. Consequently, they did not visit true Christians who were imprisoned. Instead of seeing imprisonment as a sign of faithfulness to the truth, they felt it was the opposite. John’s words about darkness are nebulous to us, but the class back there understood what he was saying. Without background information, we would ask, “What kind of darkness—mental, theoretical, or what?” But in John’s day, the walking in darkness was glaringly apparent, and the only way to answer it was to call the individuals liars. Although Paul gave the same type of reasoning along another line in one situation, his implication was delicate, whereas John used strong language. If we said today that Bro. So-and-So was a liar, others would respond, “That is a terrible statement—you cannot judge the heart.” However, if a person’s conduct today were the same as in John’s day, we could say he is a liar. When outward conduct is glaringly wrong, we can talk tough.

As a son of thunder, John was addressing the situation as if to say, “Common sense should teach you that such conduct is wrong. We know Christ—what he did, what he taught, and what he said to us—whereas these others are two and three generations removed from Jesus’ ministry. They are now taking up the Gospel and giving it their twist. John approached the error from the standpoint that the New Testament was not available to the Christian in those days. (At best, only fragments were available, and the Book of Revelation had not even been written yet.) John was saying, “We do have something that is clear—the life of Jesus Christ. His miracles and sermons are available. He is our example.”

Some have great difficulty giving up certain habits when they come into the truth. Perhaps smoking is a problem, and for a real addict, the smoke is in his system. What can help the individual to renounce the habit would be to ask, “What would Jesus do?” The person would think, “For Jesus to smoke a cigarette and give a sermon would be incongruous. I would not have respect for him.” Thus, while nothing in Scripture says a Christian should not smoke, that is no argument.

These Gnostics liked certain statements of the Apostle Paul because they felt those statements fit in with their theory. In other words, they were predisposed to think along a certain line, so they looked for Scriptures to justify their thinking. However, to understand a subject, we need to follow the principle of here a little, there a little, line upon line, precept upon precept (Isa. 28:10). All Scriptures on a topic have to be considered, not one statement, as these errorists were doing with Paul’s writings. A half truth is dangerous because the other half is error. As we proceed, we will try to point out some of Paul’s statements they were improperly using.

Walking in darkness and being liars were self-evident truths. Today if we knew an unmarried consecrated brother was living in sin, we could speak strongly, as John was doing here. Surely we would not reason softly with such a one.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Lines were being drawn by this other class. With their knowledge, these individuals thought of other brethren as immature babes. That type of thinking is dangerous. This other group disassociated themselves from the brethren at large. As John said subsequently, “They went out from us” (1 John 2:19). In other words, they were a formerly consecrated, dedicated class, but they deviated; they were the ones in error.

Comment: Paul said, “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth” (1 Cor. 8:1).

Reply: Yes, Paul took a little different approach, whereas John spoke out strongly because that

which had started as an incipient seed of error was now beginning to surface.

Q: Does the pronoun “he” refer to God, not Jesus?

A: We do not think so, for John’s main point was that Christians know about God through Scripture and the ministry of Christ. As God’s representative, Jesus manifested who the Father was and His character and plan. In the final analysis, the true Christian has fellowship with both God and Jesus, and both are “in the light” (1 John 1:3). We have fellowship with God, but since He is invisible, it is through the life and behavior of Jesus Christ that we know what God is like.

Jesus spoke the words the Father gave him. In Jesus’ light, we see the Father’s light. Stated another way, the Father’s light shines, or is reflected, in the face of Jesus.

John was using strong talk. Today such talk does not fit, and that is why many misunderstand John’s writings and think he was speaking gently. With John’s identification of Diotrephes by name in the third epistle, the strength of his letters becomes more apparent (3 John 9). He was speaking of a specific situation that needed drastic action. Diotrephes actually thought and taught that he was superior to John, who was an apostle.

1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

The other class said, “We have no sin,” and they liked the Apostle Paul, for they felt he justified this reasoning by speaking of the new creature and the old creature. The Gnostics considered the new and old creatures almost as two separate entities. It is true that the new creature is in an old-creature body, but they are together. The behavior of the body is a reflection of the new creature, the inner man. The Gnostics felt Paul was saying that the new creature is not guilty, for the will, the intent, is what matters. A certain measure of truth makes this statement palatable because we can will to be perfect, even though we are imperfect, but that is not the whole story. As an illustration, arsenic can be made a sweetener, but too much results in a corpse.

The errorists were saying that God forgives the outward behavior of the old creature, for it is a  practicing machine through which the new creature gets experience. They reasoned furtherthat we get experience by delving into sin. Moreover, they felt that the new creature and the Holy Spirit were separate. In contradistinction, John said that the new creature is responsible for the conduct of the old man. The inner man cannot be seen, but the outer man, as an indication of the condition of the inner man, can be seen walking in darkness. John was saying in strong language, “If you teach that we do not sin, you are a liar.”

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

John revealed two different things: (1) the glaring condition and (2) hope. In other words, one might get involved with this other group and become indoctrinated with their grievous teaching, but if his eyes were subsequently opened to the true nature of this situation, there was a way of escape. However, one had to act in order to be extricated. Thus John gave both positive and negative vibes.

On the one hand, “If we [the Gnostic class] say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” On the other hand, “If we [that same class] confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.“ Usually we read verse 8 as if that is what others are saying and verse 9 as if it applies to us. It is true that, as Christians, we get forgiveness of sins by confessing them, but John was talking about the class that had become infected. With them, there was the possibility of extrication. John was saying that to teach we can walk in darkness yet have no sin was an utter contradiction of the doctrine

of Christ. In fact, it was actually blasphemy. The blood of Jesus cleanses us, but this other group did not believe in his blood. They taught, as we do, that the new creature came to Jesus at his baptism at Jordan. However, they erred in saying that the new creature left him at the Crucifixion and that the one who died on the Cross was a man named Jesus but not Christ Jesus. Doesn’t the Roman Catholic Church teach the same thing—that Jesus was half God and half man? How could Jesus die if he were inextricably both God and man? The Catholic teaching does not make sense, yet that religion stipulates that a person must believe Jesus was divine or he is a heretic.

1 John 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

John repeatedly used the word “liar” in his epistles: 1 John 1:10; 2:4,22; 4:20; 5:10. In summary, John was talking about former brethren he was familiar with, who were living in the same region, but they had gone out and were teaching dangerous doctrines. Thus John was pointing out error, plain and simple. To countenance love toward them was wrong, for theirs was the spirit of “antichrist” (1 John 2:22; 4:3). Incidentally, John was the only apostle to use the term “antichrist” to identify individuals. Erroneous Catholic doctrine that has come down through the centuries is God Incarnate, meaning God in the flesh (half God, half man). In addition, some Adventists in the past taught that when we give our heart to the Lord, all of our previous sins are forgiven but that from the moment of consecration on, we do not sin. Accordingly, they felt that they were righteous and that they were justified by the works of the Law. The subject of failures among the consecrated was not in their vocabulary. To make their calling and election sure, such individuals would have had to change their thinking, for it completely negated the gospel of Christ. Similarly, Paul combated the doctrine of the Galatians, which taught justification by works according to the flesh plus ceremonial works.

(1997 Study with Excerpts from 1982-1983 Study)

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave Comment