1 John 1 – Summary Exposition

  1. 1 John 1.1-4. Christ always existed with God the Father and so always was and always is God. He is eternal life. Jesus Christ became true humanity and the apostles saw him, heard him speak, and touched him. He is both eternal life and true humanity; eternal son and incarnate man. Therefore any claim that Jesus was only a spirit and not a real man (gnosticism) was false.
    1. 1 John 1.1-2. Their senses interacted with Jesus. He is the living word, the expression and revelation of God. He is the eternal life—he was (imperfect active indicative of ειμι eimi to be, exist) always with God the father in eternity past and was made known to the apostles. That Jesus is both God and man (Christology and hypostatic union) is foundational to justification (gaining forgiveness and eternal life), sanctification (growing in the Christian faith into Christ-likeness), and glorification (transformed, changed into our resurrection body).
    2. 1 John 1.3-4. John announced to believers what the apostles saw and heard. He did this so that believers may have fellowship with them as they fellowship with the Father and the Son, and so we all may enjoy his same fellowship with the Father and Son, and with other believers—an intimate close friendship. This fellowship is possible, desirable, and practical. Knowing and passing on these truths to believers brings great joy to the apostle.
  2. 1 John 1.5-10. God is light (perfectly holy, righteous, and just) and to have fellowship with God a believer must walk or live in this same light which is to live a life in God’s presence. Though every believer commits sin during a normal life, God has a solution made possible by Christ Jesus’ death and resurrection—personal confession of sins to God. Spiritual growth brings more and more time walking in the light and less time walking in darkness by committing sin. A believer may claim to walk in the light when he is not doing so (1 John 1.5, 6, 8, 10).
    1. Pattern in 1 John 1.5-10: the true principle is stated followed by what a believer may claim about himself that contradicts the previous true statement. v5 true—God is light; v6 one’s life contradicts one’s statement, v7 true—walking in the light one has fellowship; v8 one denies he has a sin problem; v9 true—If one does confess his sin he is forgiven and cleansed; v10 one claims that he does not sin so there is no need to confess..
    2. When a believer confesses (`ομολογεω homolegeo) the sin, God forgives the sin and cleanses from all unrighteousness. He restores the believer to fellowship (1 John 1.9).
    3. “If” in verses 1 John 1.6, 7, 8, 9, 10 indicate 3rd class conditions (εαν ean + subjunctive mood=3rd class if=a general condition or a future probable condition). It means if one thing happens then another thing will happen. See Matthew 15.14 and John 14.3 for illustrations.
    4. Know, believe, and apply the Bible doctrines of Christology, God’s nature, hypostatic union, sin, eternal security, fellowship, and believer confession of personal sin.
    5. Therefore, live under the Bible’s instruction and God’s nature (light), and be sensitive to God convicting of sin. At the same time do not be preoccupied with sin in your life. Let God’s light deal with sin. But when you recognize that you have sinned, confess that sin to God and he forgives and cleanses you of all sin. He can do this because Jesus Christ paid for that sin by his death in the cross. Our confession is our recognition of our need for God’s forgiveness and our faith that Jesus paid for that sin.