On Sunday mornings we have been discussing the difficult subject of doubt…I hope it has been helpful in your Christian walk.
This morning, while doing some preparation for this week’s study, I wanted to take a closer look at the way the Apostle John takes up this difficult matter in his writing of 1 John. Many are aware of the nature and purpose of John’s writing – to dispel doubt and to give conviction. Very often, because of our knowledge, we skip immediately into chapter 2, where the apostle begins to lay out the characteristics of a life changed by the gospel. But I wanted to take a closer look at his introductory comments…
Before John ever discusses the subjective basis of our hope (those things we can tangibly witness), he lays out a clear statement of the objective basis of faith. He writes, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life – the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us – that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete” (1 John 1:1-4). John’s purpose in writing is clear: (1) that he might declare to you that which was from the beginning and has the word of eternal life (Jesus) and (2) that your joy is complete (which only comes through a lack of doubt).
What was the message that John wanted to make abundantly clear? What was the message he wished for the people to receive? “the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1:7c-9). John wanted us to know the gospel – that Jesus (God incarnate) had come into the world and his death had paid the penalty for our sin. If we confess our need for this offering on our behalf (thereby confessing our own sin), that Jesus is faithful to forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Think on those words in italics for a moment…
Jesus is faithful…He is trustworthy, dependable, reliable, and without the human condition of unfaithfulness. Our salvation rest in Him (Christ), not in our faithfulness. My hope rests in the unchanging/objective nature of Christ…
Jesus will cleanse…wipe away, remove, and thoroughly wash. His work is full in our lives. He does more than cover. When we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ, there has been an unimaginable transaction…sin has been removed and righteousness has been implanted.
From all unrighteousness…his work is utter and complete. He does not remove only a small fraction of our sin, this in itself would be a monumental act. But He goes to the great length of removing all unrighteousness. He removes everything that has been stained by sin…our thoughts, actions, mindsets, words…the list is endless.
We hope today, beloved, because of the objective basis of our faith – the unchanging, faithful, complete work of Christ on our behalf!
Held By Grace,