How can I be sure?

An EasyEnglish Bible Version and Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on the Book of 1 John

www.easyenglish.info

Ian Mackervoy

This commentary has been through Advanced Checking.

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.

 

About this letter

1. The Writer

The letter does not tell us who wrote it. The tradition is that John is the author. John was an *apostle. He was one of the 12 men that Jesus first called to follow him.

John was the writer of the fourth *Gospel, which we know as the *Gospel of John. The thought and style of this letter are similar to that of the *Gospel. It is clear that the same person wrote them both. Some of the passages that show this are:

 

1 John

The *Gospel of John

1 John 1:1

John 1:1, John 1:4, John 1:14

1 John 2:5

John 14:23

1 John 2:6

John 15:4

1 John 2:8; 1 John 3:11

John 13:34

1 John 2:8, 1 John 2:10

John 1:5, John 1:9; John 11:10

1 John 2:13-14

John 17:3

1 John 3:1

John 1:12

1 John 3:2

John 17:24

1 John 3:8

John 8:44

1 John 3:13

John 15:20

1 John 4:9

John 3:16

1 John 4:12

John 1:18

1 John 5:13

John 20:31

1 John 5:14

John 14:14

1 John 5:20

John 17:2

 

2. The time and place

John was an old man. He was writing 50 or 60 years after the death of Christ. Perhaps John was the youngest *apostle. And perhaps he was the last *apostle who was still alive. He had made his home in the city called Ephesus.

3. The people who received Johnís letter

John was in Ephesus when he wrote this letter. He sent it to the churches in that region. He wrote to the Christians in those churches. He knew them well and he loved them. He thought of them as his own family. So he spoke to them as if he was speaking to his own children.

4. The reasons why John wrote this letter

Some people in these churches believed wrong things. The people who had taught them these wrong things had been members of the church. However, they had moved away from the *faith and they had left the church (1 John 2:19). So John intended to correct these wrong ideas in his letter.

One wrong idea was that Christ was not really a man. He seemed to be a man but was not a real man. John taught quite clearly that the Son of God came as a real man. He lived his life here on earth as a man. The Christ actually died as a man. The man, Christ Jesus, rose again from the dead.

Some people taught that Jesus was merely a man. They taught that he was not really God. They did not believe that God could die. They said that the *Christ came upon Jesus. Then the *Christ left him again before he died. John answered this. He showed that Jesus is one with God. He is the *Christ, who gave his life for us. No mere man could take away our *sins as the *Lord Jesus Christ has done.

These people taught other wrong things. This is what they argued:

∑†††† The body is bad, but the spirit is good. True life is in the spirit. What we do in the body does not affect the spirit. So it does not matter how we live in the body.

These people thought that their evil actions did not matter. They said that they loved God. However, they lived for themselves. John shows that such ideas are false. If we love God, our lives must be good. We must not continue to *sin. We must live as Jesus lived. We must live right and good lives because God is good.

5. The purpose of the letter

John wrote this letter to encourage the Christians. He wanted them to know the truth. Then they would recognise false ideas. The letter shows that Christians are children of God. They know God as Father. If God is their Father, then they are all *brothers and sisters. John shows them the kind of life that the children of God should live. They all share the life that the *Lord Jesus gives to them. This is *eternal life, which has no end. John wants all Christians to know that they have this life. He wants them to be sure about this.

John wrote about the truth. This is how we know the truth. We know it because we have met Jesus. We know Jesus, so we know the truth.

This is what the letter says to the Christians.

1. They can be sure about Christ (1 John 5:20).

∑†††† They know what is true about God and Christ. 1 John 2:21; 5:7, 16, 20

∑†††† They know that the Son (Jesus Christ) has come. 1 John 5:20

∑†††† They know that Jesus came to take away their *sin. 1 John 3:16

2. They can be sure about *eternal life with Jesus (1 John 3:3; 1 John 5:13).

∑†††† They know Jesus Christ. 1 John 2:3, 13

∑†††† They know that they are his. 1 John 2:5; 3:10, 18-19

∑†††† They know that they are children of God. 1 John 5:19

∑†††† They know that they have passed from death to life. They have a new life. 1 John 3:14

∑†††† They know that they live. This is because Jesus lives in them. 1 John 3:24; 4:13

3. They should show that they are Christians by their good lives.

∑†††† They must love God. They must do what God says. They should love each other. 1 John 2:29; 1 John 3:6, 10; 5:2

6. The shape of the letter

1.

The Word of life

1 John 1:1-4

2.

God is *light and we should walk in the *light

1 John 1:5-10

3.

Christ speaks for us and we should obey God

1 John 2:1-6

4.

A new command from Christ

1 John 2:7-17

5.

John warns about false *Christs

1 John 2:18-29

6.

The children of God do the right things

1 John 3:1-10

7.

Love each other and believe in Christ

1 John 3:11-24

8.

Test the *spirits to see if they are true

1 John 4:1-6

9.

God is love. He loves us and we should love him

1 John 4:7-21

10.

*Faith overcomes the *world

1 John 5:1-5

11.

God tells us the truth about his Son

1 John 5:6-12

12.

We know God by Christ

1 John 5:13-21

Chapter One

The Word of life (1 John 1:1-4)

v1 We declare this to you about the Word of life. The Word existed before the world began. This is what we have heard. We have seen it with our eyes. We watched it. We touched it with our hands. This is about the Word of life. v2 The person who gives life came. He showed this life to us. We saw it and we are witnesses to it. We declare to you that this is *eternal life. It was with the *Father. It has now appeared to us. v3 This is what we saw. This is what we heard. We declare it to you also. We want you to share in this life together with us. It really has united us with the *Father and with his son Jesus Christ. v4 We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

Verse 1

John wrote this letter about Jesus, who is the Word of life

The ĎWord of lifeí is the *Lord Jesus. And the ĎWord of lifeí also means the message of the *gospel. John wrote about the *Lord Jesus. And he wrote about the life that Jesus gives. This life is for those who believe. The Word produces life. This is about the good news of Jesus Christ who is the life.

The Word, that is the *Lord Jesus, always existed. He was alive before time and the world began. Christ and the message of life came from God. This was Godís purpose from before *creation. The *Lord Jesus came into the world to achieve this purpose.

John and those who were with him knew the *Lord Jesus. They had heard what he said. They had listened to what he taught. They were with him. They actually saw him. They watched him. They saw all that he did. They lived with him for 3 years. They knew that Jesus was a real human person.

Some people denied that God really came as a human person. But he did come. He is Jesus Christ. John says that they have had a real experience of him. Jesus Christ was God with them here on earth.

Verse 2

Jesus came from God to show us real life

The *Lord Jesus came from God. He became a real man. He showed us what real life is. Real life is life in the spirit. He has that life and he came to give it to us. This is *eternal life. God gives it to those who believe in his Son.

John was a witness to this life. The life was with the *Father. Jesus showed that life to us. John and those who believed in the *Lord Jesus saw this real life. They had received it. They proved that the message is true.

What they saw was *eternal life. God gives this life. John knew that he had this life now. And this life will never end. John wants to share this life with the readers of his letter. This life is in the *Lord Jesus. Those who know Jesus have this life.

The *Lord Jesus, who is life, was with God the Father. But he came to us and he showed us this life. These witnesses have received this life from God. *Eternal life comes from God the Father.

Verse 3

When we believe Godís message, we join Godís family

Those who first believed spoke. They described what they had seen. They repeated what they had heard. The Word of life (that is, Jesus) appeared to them. And we need to believe in him. They heard what he said. We too need to hear what he says. And we need to believe it. The message of life in the *Lord Jesus was not only for them. John declares it to those who read his letter. All people can now see and hear Godís truth in Jesus. To know Jesus is to receive the life that God gives by him.

The message of the *gospel is that people may believe in Jesus. Those who believe will receive *eternal life. That life comes from God. They will share the same life that John and his friends had. They will know that they have a new life with God. They also can become good friends by having the same life. They will join with John and his friends in the family of God.

This life unites Christians with God who is the Father. It unites them with Jesus the Son of the *Father. Jesus is one with the *Father. Therefore, he also is God as the Father is God. There is one God but three persons. The third person is the Spirit of God.

Verse 4

John wrote this letter as if he were an agent for all those other witnesses. ĎThese thingsí are all that is in the letter. He writes so that both he and the readers may have much joy. It would give them all much joy if they believed the message of the *gospel. The purpose of the letter is that the readers would share the same life as John and his friends. God gives this *eternal life to those who believe in his Son.

God is *light and we should walk in the *light (1 John 1:5-10)

v5 This is the message that we have heard from him. And we declare it to you. God is *light. There is no *darkness at all in him. v6 We may say that we share this life with God. But if we walk in *darkness, we are telling a lie. We would not be doing what is right and true. v7 Instead, we should live in the *light, as God is in the *light. Then we share in life with each other. And the blood of Godís Son, Jesus, washes all our *sins away.

v8 We may say that we have no *sin. If we say this, we lie to ourselves. There is no truth in us. v9 We must confess our *sins to God. If we do, he will be kind to us. He will forgive us all our *sins. And he is right to do so. He will make us *clean from all the wrong things that we have done. This is what he has promised to do. v10 We may say that we have not *sinned. But such words suggest that God has lied. Anybody who says this has not believed his word at all.

Verse 5

God is perfect. So people who know God must not do evil deeds.

John did not invent the message. He says that he received it from the *Lord Jesus. The *Lord Jesus taught those who were with him. He showed them how to know God. He then sent them to teach this to other people. In this way, these people may know God as well. This is the message that John heard from the *Lord. He declared that God is *light.

God is *light by nature. As light shines, so God shows himself. All light comes from God. God created it. John uses the word *light to mean all that is good, *holy and right. This message shows something about Godís character. God is good. He is always right, and *holy. God, who is *light, sees all things. We can hide nothing from him. John uses the word *darkness to mean evil acts, *sin and error. There can be nothing bad in God. He is perfect and he can do nothing wrong.

Some people may turn from the *light. They love *darkness more than the *light. This is because their actions are evil (John 3:19-21). There can be no *darkness in God. Those people who do evil acts cannot share life with God. Those who believe God must live in the *light.

Verse 6

People who do evil things do not share Godís life

John now shows how this message should affect our lives. In the next five verses, there are three false things that some people say (verses 6, 8 and 10). After each of these false things, John shows us what the truth is (1:7, 9; 2:1). The effect of what they say is that *sin does not affect them. So, it does not matter what we do. They say that they are united with God. But they continue to *sin.

The *Lord Jesus gives a new life to those who believe. This life is from God. This life is unity with God. But there can be no unity between *light and *darkness.

A person may say that he lives with God. But if that person does evil acts, then he lies. His actions are not right. Those actions are *darkness and not *light. That person is like someone who walks in *darkness. *Darkness and *light cannot be in unity. That person does not share the life from God.

The false teachers said that they walked in the *light. However, what they did were works of *darkness.

They did not do what was right. They did not obey the truth. John believes that the test of truth is not just belief. Truth is not only in what we say. Our belief will affect what we do. We show our belief in God by good and right acts.

Verse 7

God has provided a remedy for our *sins

There is a contrast here. The person who does the wrong things lives in *darkness. But the person who does the right things lives in *light. This is how God wants us to live. He wants us to believe the *gospel. And we should live to please him. God is *holy. He always does what is right. God is in the *light because he is *light. To live in the *light is to be true to God. This is to live in the same manner as God lives.

Real Christians live in the *light. They believe in the *Lord Jesus Christ. They all share the same life. This unity among Christians shows that they belong to God. They are united with each other. They are united with God. John desires that the readers will come into that same unity.

The word Ďbloodí here means the death of Jesus. The *Old Testament says that the life is in the blood. Jesus gave his life for us. By his death, Jesus has taken away our *sins. He removes all *sin from us. But we must believe in him. Nobody can be perfect while he is here on earth. But God forgives those who believe. He makes them *clean from all *sin.

God has made the remedy for our *sin. By this, he can make us *clean from all *sins. So, we can keep our unity with him. This remedy is the blood of his Son Jesus Christ.

Some people taught that the human Jesus was not the Son of God. They taught that the human Jesus died. However, they said that God the Son did not die. John makes it plain that Jesus as God the Son did die for our *sins.

Verse 8

People who deny their *sin are lying to themselves

Some people said that they did not need the *Lord to remove their *sin. They thought that they did not have any *sin. This is not true and is itself a *sin.

We may say that there is no *sin in us. That would be false. It would be to say that we are already perfect.

Those who say this have chosen to forget their *sin. They refuse to agree that all people have *sinned. It is human to *sin. They do not live by the truth that God has shown us. They deny the basic fact of their *sin. Truth as a principle of life is not in them. They do not share in the reality of God. Jesus showed us that God is the truth. The truth of God is not in these persons.

Verse 9

God forgives us when we confess our *sins

In contrast to them are those people who say that they have *sinned. *Sin is something that affects all our lives. But *sin does not have to spoil our unity with God. We should say that we have *sinned. We should confess our *sins to God. When we do so, God will forgive us.

God has promised to forgive us and he will keep his promise. He cannot just forget our *sin as if it was not there. He is good and *holy. *Sin cannot remain with him. He had to remove it from his people.

God achieved this by putting all our *sin on the *Lord Jesus. The *Lord Jesus took the punishment for our *sin. He died for this purpose. Now God can forgive those who confess their *sins.

God forgives our *sins and he makes us *clean as well.

We must confess all the *sins that we know about. Then God will forgive us. He makes us completely *clean. He takes from us all the wrong things that we do not yet know about. Those things that we do not know will not damage our unity with God.

Verse 10

People who deny their *sin do not believe Godís word

Some people say that they have not done anything wrong. They say that they have not *sinned. But God says that all have *sinned. This is the reason that Jesus had to come. He came to die for the *sins of all people. If we had not sinned, Jesus would not have died. What God has said would not be true.

Those who say that they have not *sinned cut themselves off from God. They have not believed the word of God. They do not know the *Lord Jesus. They have not believed the truth of the *gospel. They cannot have the new life that the *Lord Jesus gives. He gives this life to those who trust in him.

Chapter Two

Christ speaks for us and we should obey God (1 John 2:1-6)

v1 My *children, I write these things to you so that you will not *sin. But if you do *sin, we have a friend who speaks to the *Father. Jesus Christ speaks on our behalf. He is good and his actions are always right. v2 He died and he suffered the punishment for our *sins. He did not die only for our *sins. He died for the *sins of all people.

v3 We can be sure that we know him. We know this if we obey his commands. v4 A person may say, ĎI know God.í However, this is a lie if he does not obey Godís commands. The truth is not in that person. v5 But the love of God is complete in those who obey his commands. By this, we know that we have life with God. v6 We may say that we remain in unity with God. If so, our lives should show it. We ought to live in the same manner as Jesus Christ did.

Verse 1

Jesus speaks to God the Father on our behalf

Some people may think that *sin is a normal part of the Christian life. They agree that we will continue to *sin. They may even think that it does not matter. God will forgive us when we *sin. But *sin does matter. Christians ought not to continue to *sin. They should not *sin. *Sin is an enemy that will move us from the *light. (In other words, it will move us away from everything that is good, *holy, and right.) *Sin will get between God and us. It spoils the joy that Christians should share.

John writes as a father. He writes to his *children whom he loves. He tells them that they should not *sin. He wrote the letter to help them not to *sin.

We should not *sin but we are human and weak. If we *sin, we have to confess it to God. We must decide that we will not do that *sin again. If possible we should put right what we have done wrong. And we must ask the *Lord to forgive us our *sin.

If anyone does *sin, God has the remedy for it. Someone is ready to help us. He comes to our rescue. This person is able to speak to God the Father. He is the agent for the person who *sinned. Jesus Christ is this person. He has never *sinned. He has always done what was right. He is the perfect man and he is God the Son. He understands us and he is God. So, he can speak with God the Father. He can ask God to forgive our *sins.

Verse 2

Jesus died for our *sin

Jesus is able to do this because he died for our *sin. He took all our *sin to himself. God has to punish *sin and he did so in Jesus. Jesus does not say to the *Father that we are innocent. If we *sin, we are guilty. But he has suffered and died on our behalf. He offered himself as the *sacrifice for our *sin. And by his death, Jesus satisfied Godís law. God accepted what Jesus Christ had done. He proved this when he raised Jesus from death to life. Therefore, Jesus Christ is able to ask God to forgive us and God will do it.

We cannot do anything to persuade God to forgive us. But God himself planned the way of escape for us. He sent his only Son Jesus for this purpose. He used up all his anger against *sin on the *Lord Jesus. So, when we believe in the *Lord Jesus, God will forgive us because of him.

John wrote to those who believed. He says that Christ did not die only for them. Jesus died for the *sins of all people. His death is sufficient for all the people who live in the world. This does not mean that God will forgive everyone. Each person must believe in the *Lord Jesus Christ. They must accept what he has done for them. Then they will receive the benefits of Christís death.

The false teachers taught that Jesus did not die for everyone. Jesus only died for those who accepted their message. In this verse, John explains clearly that this idea was wrong.

Verse 3

The person who knows God obeys his commands

John now changes the subject. This is how we know God. To know God is to walk in the *light. To walk in the *light means to live as God demands. We must obey the commands of God. Then we can be sure that we know him. We can have an experience of God. We can know the unity with God that John spoke about in 1:4.

We can only know God if we obey him. But we do not know God by what we do. We know him by believing in Jesus Christ. If we know God, we will want to obey his word. We may not manage to do all that God says. However, we will desire to do it.

Verse 4

The person who does not obey Godís command does not know him

The person who does not obey Godís commands does not know him. That person may say that he knows God. But it is a lie. What he says is false. He does not know God. He has not known the truth that God gives. If he had understood the truth, he would obey God.

Verse 5

The person who obeys God really loves him

The person who obeys Godís word does know him. What God has said is more than his commands. God still guides his people. They must do what he says.

The person who obeys God really loves him. That love has grown and it is complete. As that person continues to please God, his love for God will increase. Godís love for that person has achieved its purpose.

True love for God is not just to say words. Because of our love for God, we should also do what God wants. The proof of that love is when we are loyal to God and to his word. We can know that we are alive in unity with God. We know this because we want to obey him. We can be certain of this if we live like Jesus.

Verse 6

We should behave like Jesus

When Jesus lived on earth, he pleased the *Father. He did all that the *Father asked him to do. The devil did all that he could to tempt Jesus. But Jesus did not *sin at all.

We may say that we live with God. If so, we ought to live as Jesus did. We must live as God directs. We should not *sin. The life of Jesus is the pattern that we must follow. John does not say that we can achieve the same standard as Jesus. But that is how we ought to live.

A new command from Christ (1 John 2:7-17)

v7 My dear friends, I am not writing a new command to you. It is the old command. You have had it from the beginning. This old command is the message that you heard. v8 But the command that I now write to you is new. The life of Christ shows it to be true. You also show it to be true. That is because the *darkness gets less. And the true *light already shines.

v9 Some people say that they are in the *light. But if they hate a *brother or sister, they are still in *darkness. v10 Whoever loves other Christians lives in the *light. There is nothing in it that would cause him to *sin. v11 But the person who hates other Christians is in the *darkness. He is like someone who walks about in the dark. He does not know where he is going. The *darkness has made him blind.

v12 I write to you, dear *children, because God forgave all your *sins. He did this because of the name of Christ.

v13 I write to you, fathers, because you know the *Lord. He is from before time began.

I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil person (the devil).

I write to you, young *children, because you have known the *Father.

v14 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him (Jesus). He is from before time began.

I write to you, young men, because you are strong. The word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil person (the devil).

v15 Do not love the *world or the things in the *world. If anyone loves the *world, he does not love the *Father. v16 That is because all these things in the *world, come from the *world. They do not come from the *Father. They are the desires of the *flesh. They are the desires of the eyes. They are the pride of life. v17 The *world and all its desires are coming to an end. But the person who obeys God will live. He will never die.

Verse 7

The command to love has always existed

Love is the subject in this section. John loves the people that he is writing to. Therefore, he calls them his dear friends.

Here he refers to the command that the *Lord Jesus gave (John 13:34). Jesus said, ĎI give you a new command. You must love each other.í We should love even as he loves us. It is not now a new command. It was always part of the *gospel. We should love both God and other people. This is how Jesus lived.

The command to love is an old command. Jesus gave it to those who followed him. It is old because the command to love is in the *Old Testament. Jesus spoke about the 10 commands as love for God and love for other people. (See Exodus chapter 20 and Matthew 22:37-40.)

The people who received Johnís letter already knew about this command. These people knew that they should love God and each other. This was part of the *gospel of Christ. The command is old to the readers. They have known it since they first believed in Jesus. They heard it from their teachers when they first became Christians. Love is an essential part of the *gospel message.

Verse 8

The command to love is also a new command

On the one hand the command is not new but old. On the other hand, it is new. The law of love was old. However, there is a difference now, which makes it new. It is new because God has shown his love for us. He sent Jesus to die for us. It is new because Jesus obeyed all the law. Love completes the law. So the command to love is new because of Jesus. He makes it possible for us to have a new life with God. Jesus loves us so much that he gave himself to die for us.

Those who do not know God cannot obey this command. But now those who know God can do it. They can love both God and other people. The command to love is new because there is a higher standard. Christians should love as Christ loved. Jesus called this the new command. John calls it the new command too.

This command to love is new. The *Lord Jesus showed us what love means. His love was so much more than the love of normal people. It was a different kind of love. He gives the same kind of love to those who know him. They too begin to know what love really means. So, the love that Jesus has is also in Christians. They are able to love God and each other with this new kind of love. They love as Christ loved.

They can see the effect of the new command. They can see it in themselves. The *darkness is getting less. The true *light shines stronger in them. By *darkness, John means *sin and error. As they love God and each other, the true *light grows in them. This true *light refers to changes that happen in the Christians. As they love the *Lord more so they grow to be more like Jesus. That process of love has begun in them.

Verse 9

A real Christian loves other Christians

Some people said that they had special knowledge of God. They had the *light and knew God. But their lives showed that they were wrong. They did not live as Jesus did. They did not love either him or other Christians, as they should. They did not really know God at all.

To John a person either loves or hates. To walk in the *light is to love each other. The love of God in them will express itself in actions. Therefore, hate is the lack of this love. A person who does not love a *brother or a sister hates them. John is here talking about the love that Christians ought to have for each other. Other Christians are the *brothers and sisters. Someone who hates a *brother or sister is still in the *darkness.

It may be that there was a problem in the church. But those who love the *Lord should love other people. They should love people whether those people believe in Christ or not.

There are some people who hate other people. These people may think that they are in the *light. But they are still in *darkness. Their hate shows that they are in *darkness, not *light. They are doing wrong and they are in error.

Verse 10

The Christian who loves other Christians will be in the *light. Where there is *light there can be no *darkness. In the *light, one can see. In the *light, there is nothing to cause *sin or error.

Verse 11

But, for the Christian who hates another Christian, there is no *light. He is wrong when he hates another Christian. He does not obey the command and he is in error. He is like someone in the dark. A person who wanders in the dark has lost his way. He does not know where he is. He does not know where he is going. If he is in the dark for too long, he may become blind. His eyes can no longer see the *light.

The person who hates other people is like someone who walks in darkness. It is as if hate makes this personís eyes blind. What he does is wrong. And he cannot see where he is going. This person will lose the sense of unity with the *Lord. He can no longer find his way back to God.

Verse 12

God forgave us so that we could know him. He makes us strong so that we can overcome the devil.

In the next three verses, John writes to children, fathers and young people. Probably he uses the word Ďchildrení for the whole group. Some members of that group he calls the fathers and other members he calls the young men. The fathers are those, both men and women, who are more mature in their Christian lives. This is not a distinction because of age.

He writes first to all those people who have come to know the *Lord. He reminds them that God forgave their *sins. This is a fact that they should know. They can be confident that this is true. In this knowledge, they can be strong Christians. God has forgiven them. And they share in the life that he gives.

ĎThe nameí means the person. Christ is the person. So, God forgave them because of Christ. He is the reason why God forgave their *sins. It was because of who the *Lord Jesus is. God forgives because of what the *Lord Jesus has done. He died for their *sins. He rose up from the dead to *save them. He rescued them from *sin. They now belong to the *Lord Jesus. They are now his people.

Verse 13

The person who existed even before time is the *Lord Jesus. He was with God. He was God before the world existed. These whom John calls Ďfathersí know the *Lord Jesus. All Christians know him and God the Father. But these people whom John calls Ďfathersí have a deeper knowledge of the *Lord. They are mature Christians who really know the *Lord.

The young people are not as mature in *faith as the fathers. But they know what they believe. They have refused to believe the false teachers. They obey the word of God, and they depend on his power. So they are able to defeat the devil when he tries to make them *sin.

Verse 14

All who believe in the *Lord Jesus become the children of God. God is their father and they have come to know him. The young children need to grow up to be mature. But they do have a real relationship with God.

The fathers have known Jesus who was before all things. They need to continue to grow in the knowledge of Christ.

The young people are strong in the fight against evil things. They need courage and strength in the struggle. They are strong because the word of God is in them. They know what God has said. And they obey him. They know the *scriptures. They use the *scriptures as they fight the devil. By the word of God, they win the battle.

Verse 15

Do not love evil things

Here, the *world does not mean the earth that God made. He made the earth to be good and beautiful. Here, the *world does not mean the people in the world. God loves all those people who live in the world. ĎThe *worldí here means all that opposes God. It is all that the devil controls. This includes many things that the people in the world do.

Christians are in the world. But they do not belong to the *world. They have moved from that *world. Their home is with God. Their home is no longer in this *world. So, Christians are different from those who do not know God.

The false teachers taught that there need not be that difference. But the aim of the Christians must be to please God. They have to turn away from all that opposes God. It is not possible to love both God and the *world. Some Christians still desired the things of the *world. John taught that this is wrong.

Love of the *world is a selfish desire for what the *world offers. This is a bad attitude. It values the *world higher than love for God. Those who love the *world see their security in the *world. They depend on their possessions. They do not depend on God alone.

If anyone loves the *world, he does not love the *Father. That person has refused the love of God. Love for the *world works against the *Fatherís love. It drives Godís love from that person. We cannot love the *world and the *Father at the same time.

Verse 16

Wrong attitudes cause us to *sin

The things of the *world come from the *world. The devil has control over these things. They may seem to be good but they do not come from God. John gives three examples of these things. It is not so much the things that are bad. The problem is a personís attitudes to these things.

∑†††† There are desires that come from the *flesh. These are from the human nature. Desires need not always be bad. But here John means those things that would cause one to *sin. The desire of the *flesh is all wrong desire. That which is not good appears to be very attractive. The person wants to have the things which would satisfy the *flesh. This opposes what God wants for his people.

∑†††† Then there is the desire of the eyes. What people see can often cause wrong desires to rise in them. They want to have what they see. This is often wrong and leads to *sin. The desire of the *flesh can be internal to the person. But the desire of the eyes is from outside the person.

∑†††† The pride of life has its purpose as life itself. People become proud because of many things. They might be proud because of their strength or health. They might be proud because of their rank or skill. They might be proud because of their power, wealth or possessions. This attitude is *sin. All life depends on God. There can be no reason to be proud.

Verse 17

Things which are of God will never end

We should not love the *world, because it will end. That end has already begun. One day that end will be complete. The world will be no more. The *world and its desires are not permanent. All that the people try to get for themselves will vanish.

In contrast, the things that are of God will never end. The *world will end. But those people who obey God will continue to live. They will never die but they will always live with God. For them *eternal life has begun now. In the future, they will enjoy a complete life with God.

John warns about false *Christs (1 John 2:18-29)

v18 *Children, this is the last time. You have heard that the false *Christ is coming. Even now many false *Christs have come. From this we know that it is the last time. v19 They went out from us. But they were not really united with us. If they had been, they would have remained with us. None of them really belonged with us. We know this because they left us.

v20 But you have received from God the gift of his *Holy Spirit, and you all know the truth. v21 I am not writing to you because you do not know the truth. I write because you do know it. You know that nothing false comes from the truth. v22 Who is it that speaks lies? The person who says that Jesus is not the *Christ. That person is the false *Christ. He denies both the *Father and the Son. v23 All those who deny the Son do not have the *Father. All who accept the Son have the *Father also.

v24 What you heard from the start, let it remain in you. If it remains in you, you also will remain in the Son. And you will remain in the *Father. v25 God has promised to give us *eternal life.

v26 I have written these things to you about those people. They are trying to lead you away from the truth. v27 But you received from God the gift of his Spirit. That gift remains in you. So you do not need anyone else to teach you. You know what is true. Godís Spirit in you shows you all things. Godís Spirit is true. Godís Spirit never teaches what is false. As Godís Spirit has taught you, remain in him.

v28 Now, *children, continue to live in him. Then, when he appears we will have confidence. When he comes, we will not turn from him. We will not be ashamed.

v29 You know that he is *righteous. You know this as well. All those people who do the right things are born of him.

Verse 18

John writes to all his readers as his *children. He calls them this to show that he loves them. He loves them as a father loves his children. He feels that he is responsible for them. He cares as parents care for their children. He is eager to warn them about the dangers that are coming.

John calls the time when they were living Ďthe last timeí. By this, he means the final time before the return of Christ. Then the end of the world will come. This time began with the start of the church. It will end after Christ has come back to the earth. We too are living in that last time.

Jesus called the present age an evil age. He looked forward to the age that is to come. That age has already come in part. The true *light has come (verse 17). The present age is the *darkness and it is ending. The age to come will be completely here when the *Lord Jesus rules the earth.

The *Lord Jesus had warned that false *Christs would come (Matthew 2:24). The teachers in the churches would have taught about these false *Christs. They would have told about the last and most dangerous of these. They called him the *Antichrist. He will be the enemy of Christ. He will be an evil man who will try to destroy the church. He will gain power over all the earth. Then the *Lord Jesus Christ will come and defeat him.

But before the *Antichrist comes, there will be many false *Christs. Some had already come in the time when John was writing. There have been many since then. Some are at work in the world today. They are people who oppose Christ. They try to destroy all that Christ has done. They are the enemies of the church and of Christians. The false *Christs have the same evil purpose as we will see in the *Antichrist. They hate the *Lord Jesus Christ. They hate all those who belong to him.

Many false *Christs have come. This shows that we live in the last time. Those who oppose Christ are increasing. This shows that the end is near. We live in the last period before the *Lord Jesus comes again. But we do not know how long this period will be.

Verse 19

The many false *Christs when John wrote had been in the church. Among these were the false teachers. They had caused problems in the church. They had then left the church with their group. They were no longer part of it. In fact, they had never really belonged in the church. By their actions, they showed that they were not true Christians at all.

If they had been true Christians, they would not have left the church. In those days, there would have been just one church in each place. We now have many churches. But all those who believe the word of God, are part of the one true church.

The false teachers and those who followed them had left. They went away to show that they did not believe. So they made it clear that they did not belong in the church.

Verse 20

The Holy Spirit teaches the truth to all Christians

In contrast to the false teachers, the Christians know the truth. The false teachers said that they had secret knowledge. This special knowledge was only for those who followed their ideas. John shows that true knowledge comes from the *Lord alone. This true knowledge is not just for a special few. It is for all who belong to Christ.

The Spirit of God comes upon those who believe. He teaches them what is true. This was the promise of Christ. He said, ĎThe Spirit of truth will come. When he comes, he will guide you into all truthí (John 16:13). So, they know the difference between the true and the false. They know God. They know that Jesus is the *Christ.

Verse 21

John does not write because he doubts their knowledge. But he writes to encourage them. He wants them to act on what they know. Because they know the truth, he is able to teach them more of the truth. They know the truth. They can recognise what is false. They know that no lie comes from the truth. The truth comes from God. God cannot cause error. The false teachers do not come from God because God always teaches the truth.

Verse 22

False *Christs oppose the truth about Jesus

This verse shows what the false teachers had taught. They said that Jesus is not the *Christ They separated the man Jesus from the *Christ who is God. They taught that Jesus was not in himself both God and man. This is a most evil and wicked lie. It opposes the most important principle of the *gospel. The *Lord Jesus Christ is both God and man. He had to be both God and man to be able to take away our *sins.

This lie says that the *Christ was not in the baby Jesus. It means also that the *Christ did not die in the death of Jesus. If that were so then Jesus was not the Son of God. The death of a mere man could not *save us. That death would not be enough to take away the *sins of anyone else. The person who tells such a lie is the false *Christ. This does not refer to the *Antichrist. He has not yet come (see 1 John 2:18 above). But the same *Antichrist attitude is in those who are now false *Christs.

The false teachers probably did not realise that they denied God the Father. They thought that they believed in God. But if Jesus is not the Son of God then God is not the Father. Without the Son, there is no Father. The *Father and Jesus Christ the Son are a unity in the one God. So to deny one is to deny the other one as well.

Verse 23

Some people said that they knew God. But they denied the Son. Therefore, they have neither the *Father nor the Son. We know God only by the *Lord Jesus Christ. If we do not accept Jesus as the Son of God, we cannot know God the Father.

Real Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God. They know the Son, so they know the *Father also. By the Son, they relate to God as his children. God is their father.

Verse 24

Do not accept any message that tries to change the *gospel

The readers of this letter need to guard the truth. They first learned the truth when they heard the *gospel. The *gospel is the truth because it is about Jesus Christ. He is the truth. What the *gospel teaches came from Christ himself. Johnís readers heard the *gospel from the *apostles. So Johnís readers heard the *gospel from those who had first believed it.

They knew the truth about the *Father and the Son. They believed that Jesus is the *Christ. When they believed these things, their Christian lives began. They must be sure that they do not lose that truth.

It is not enough merely to hear the *gospel. The truth must be present and active in our lives. What we believe must affect our lives.

As we believe the truth, we will be united with the *Lord. We will live with the Son and with the *Father. The truth is in us. We are in the Son and in the *Father.

John mentions the Son first. This shows how we can know the *Father. We can know the *Father only by the Son.

Verse 25

To remain in the Son and in the *Father is to have *eternal life. This is the new life in the spirit.

This life will never end. The *Lord Jesus has promised this life to all believers. He gives life to his people now. They will always live with God.

This *eternal life has begun in all those people who trust in Christ. We have this life now. But this is nothing compared to what will come. The full experience of this life will be ours in the future. This will happen when the *Lord Jesus takes us from this earth. Then we shall live with him in heaven.

Verse 26

John writes about the false teachers. He warns his readers about them. These false teachers tried to lead people away from the truth. John was eager to correct the errors that they taught. He wants to be sure that none of his readers follow their lies.

Verse 27

The Holy Spirit always teaches us the truth

These false teachers try to lead Christians away from the truth. But the Christians have Godís Spirit in them. The *Lord Jesus sends Godís Spirit to live in his people. Godís Spirit will lead us into the truth. If we listen to him, we will know the truth. He will show us what is false.

Christians do not need anyone else to decide for them what is right or wrong. They know what is right or wrong by Godís Spirit in them. We do need teachers. But Christians have to test what their teachers teach. This is what Godís Spirit does for the Christian. He teaches the Christian what to believe. And he teaches him or her what to refuse.

Godís Spirit is real and he always teaches the truth. He can never teach what is false. So, his people can always trust him. As the Spirit of God has taught them, so they must remain in Christ.

Verse 28

We can have confidence when Jesus returns

ĎNowí recognises that this is the last time (see 2:18). When this period ends, the *Lord Jesus will come again. So, John tells them to continue to live in unity with Christ. They must not allow anything to take them away from the *Lord.

We remain in him. Then we will be confident when he comes. We will not be afraid of him. We have this confidence since he will come as a friend. We do not know when this will be. But we can be certain that he will come. And when he does, we want to be ready for him.

When Christ comes, he will come as the judge. All people will have to answer to him. They will answer for their actions. If we turn away from the *Lord, we will be ashamed.

Verse 29

Christ is *righteous. There is no doubt about that. Those who do what is right are born of God. It is in the character of God that he is *righteous. So, his children will show some of that same character.

A person is not born of God by means of that personís good deeds. But those who are born of God will do the right things.

Chapter Three

The children of God do the right things (1 John 3:1-10)

v1 See what great love the *Father has given to us! He has called us children of God. That is what we are. This is the reason that the *world does not know us. It did not know him. v2 My dear friends, we are children of God now. We do not yet know what we shall become in the future. However, we do know this. When Christ comes again, we will be like him. We will see him as he is. That is why we will be like him. v3 All who have this hope in him, make themselves *clean. They want to be as *clean as he is.

v4 All who *sin are guilty. They have failed to do what the law demands. We *sin when we fail to obey the law. v5 You know that Jesus came. He came to take away our *sins. There is no *sin in him. v6 Those who live in Christ do not continue to *sin. Those who do continue to *sin have not seen him. And they have not known him.

v7 Dear *children, do not let anyone lead you to believe what is wrong. The person who does what is right is *righteous. As Christ is *righteous, so is that person. v8 The person who *sins belongs to the devil. The devil has been *sinning since the beginning. The Son of God came for this reason. He came to destroy all the things that the devil has done. v9 Nobody who is born of God continues to *sin. This is because he has the life from God. He cannot *sin, because he has been born of God.

v10 We know who the children of God are. And we know who the children of the devil are. Anyone who does not do the right things is not a child of God. And if a person does not love his *brother, that person is not a child of God.

Verse 1

God loves us and makes us his children

John now continues with two subjects:

∑†††† Christians are born of God.

∑†††† The return of Christ.

John tells us how great the *Fatherís love is for us. Those who believe are his children. So, he is the father of all Christians. They have been born again of God.

The *Father loves each one of us with a great love. His love is so much more than any other love. We know this love because he sent his Son Jesus to die for our *sins. We can be Godís children because of this love.

John is astonished at the love of God. It is a love that is strange to us. It is so much better than any other love. John wonders at such love. It makes us children of God. See how great this love is! The *Father has given this love to us.

See how great the gift of this love really is! It is so great that God calls us his children. By his love, he has made us his children. We had nothing to do with this birth. It all comes from Godís love for us.

All people who are real Christians have been born again. They have become part of Godís own family.

They are the children of God now. They are his children not just by name. They are also his children in fact.

The people of the world do not know God. They did not recognise Jesus when he was on the earth. Because the people of the world do not know God, they cannot know his children. The *world does not understand that Christians are Godís children. Christians do not really belong in the *world. They are like strangers whose home is elsewhere.

Verse 2

When Jesus returns, we shall be like him

We are Godís children now. But he has not shown us what we shall be like in the future. We know that God will change us. We will not always live as we live now. The future will be much better.

We do not yet know all the future benefits for Godís children. But one fact is certain. We shall be like Christ, the Son of God.

One day the *Lord Jesus will come back to take his people to heaven. Then we shall see Jesus Christ as he is. When we see him, we shall change. All his people will change to be like him. But nobody can ever be equal to him. We will not become God as he is. But we will be similar to him in character. We will live with God the Father and with the *Lord Jesus. We will never die. We will be *clean from *sin and there will be no more *sin. As Jesus is *holy, so he will make us *holy.

Verse 3

We want to be like Jesus now

The word Ďhopeí does not mean that there is any doubt. The hope is that we will be like Christ. We will see him as he really is. God has promised this and he will do it. It will happen but it is in the future.

There is no doubt that we will share in that life. The *Lord has already given it to us. We shall live with him and that life will never end.

We know that one day the *Lord will change us. This should have an effect on us now. Each person who has this hope will turn from *sin. All who have this hope in Christ will want to be more like him now. As he is *clean and *holy, so they will want to be like him. How Jesus lived is how we should live. Those who hope in him want to live like this.

Verse 4

We are all weak. We all sometimes fail and do wrong things. Those who have the hope will not continue to live with *sin. *Sin by its very nature is against the law of God.

Some people did not consider that all *sins are bad. To them some *sins were of no importance. But John makes it clear that all *sins are wrong and bad.

Some people continue to live with *sin. They choose to do what is wrong. They do not try to obey the law of God. And they do not live as he wants them to live.

Verse 5

Jesus came to take away our *sin

We know that Jesus came. That is part of the *gospel message that we received. We know that he is God. And we know that he was born as a man. We know that he lived on earth. He came to take away our *sins. God punished Jesus for all our *sins. He took them all from us.

Jesus had no *sin of his own. There was no *sin in his nature as God or man. He did not do anything that was wrong. He always did what God wanted. He was perfect and so he was able to take our *sins to himself.

Verse 6

We should not continue to *sin

There is no *sin in Christ. Therefore, those who live with him should have no *sin. They do not continue to *sin. Our *sin was the reason why Jesus died.

This verse does not mean that Christians cannot *sin. They can *sin and sometimes they do *sin. But they should not *sin. The *Lord has given them the strength to refuse *sin. So for them *sin cannot be the way that they usually live.

Those who continue to *sin have not seen Jesus. They have not understood what he has done. They have not believed the *gospel. They do not belong to him.

Verse 7

A *righteous person does the right things

Some people may say that they are *righteous. But they still do what is not good. What they say then is a lie. We should not believe them. A *righteous person will do what is good and right. The person who does the right things is *righteous.

Christians should be *righteous like Christ. He is the pattern for us to follow. He also helps us to do what is right.

Verse 8

The devil wants people to *sin

The devil is the origin of the *sin nature. The person whose pattern of life is to do *sin has that nature. The person who continues to *sin is like a child of the devil. He shows the same nature as the devil. The devil is the origin of that personís manner of life.

Those who *sin are of the devil. The devil is the origin of *sin. He has been doing what is wrong since the start of time. He brought *sin into the world when he tempted Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). He encouraged them not to obey the voice of God. He is still trying to stop people from trusting in the *Lord Jesus.

The Son of God (Jesus) was there before God made the world. However, he came to this earth, born as a baby. He came to destroy all that the devil had done. Jesus lived a perfect life here. He did not *sin at all. Then he died for the *sin of all people.

The acts of the devil are to make people *sin and die. Jesus destroyed those acts. He has taken away our *sin and he has given us life. The *Lord Jesus has defeated the devil. He has set us free from the power of *sin.

Verse 9

When we become Christians, God gives a new life to us

When we believe the truth of the *gospel, God gives us a new life. This new life is like a birth. We become new persons who are born of God. The life that God gives cannot *sin. That is because this life is from God. And it is of his nature. Godís nature is opposed to *sin. That is why the person born of God will not continue to *sin.

It is not that true Christians are perfect. It is still possible for them to *sin. But *sin will not be the normal pattern of their lives. They are not able to continue to *sin. They have been born of God.

Verse 10

We love other Christians because we are Godís children

We should be able to tell who are Christians. The test is how they live. Those who are born of God will do the right things. They will also love the Christians. Those who are of the devil will continue to *sin. They do not love the Christians.

A child of God will do what is right. So that person will love other Christians. The person who does not love Christians is not born of God. That is because God is love. Those who live with God will love his children. If we do not love Christians, we are not children of God.

Love each other and believe in Christ (1 John 3:11-24)

v11 This is the message that you heard from the beginning. We should love each other. v12 Do not be like Cain. He belonged to the evil person (the devil). Cain murdered his own brother. Because Cainís deeds were evil, he killed his brother. But his brother did what was right. v13 Do not be surprised, my *brothers, if the people of this world hate you. v14 We have passed from death to life. We know this. We know it because we love other Christians. Those who do not love are still under the power of death. v15 A person who hates his *brother is like a murderer. Those who murder do not have *eternal life. You know that.

v16 This is how we know what love is. Christ gave his own life and he died for us. Therefore, we ought to give our lives for our *brothers and sisters. v17 Suppose that a person has plenty. He has all that he needs for this life. He sees his *brother who needs help. But that person does not help his *brother. The love of God cannot be in that person. v18 *Children, let us not love in words or talk only. Let us have real love that causes us to do good things. v19 We belong to the truth. And this is how we know it. We can come to God with confidence. v20 When our consciences blame us, God is greater than our consciences. And he knows all things.

v21 Dear friends, if our consciences do not blame us, we have confidence with God. v22 And we will receive from him all that we ask. He does this because we obey him. We do what pleases him. v23 This is the command that God gives us. We must believe in Jesus Christ his Son. And his command is that we should love each other. v24 Those who obey God live in him. He also lives in them. We know that he lives in us. We know because he has given us his Spirit.

Verse 11

We should love each other

The message is that we should love each other. This refers to the command that Christ gave us (John 13:34). The readers of this letter heard this command when they first heard the good news. That is, when they believed in the *Lord Jesus. It is an important part of the *gospel that we should love each other. Our love for other Christians shows that we believe. It is evidence that we are children of God.

Verse 12

Cain murdered his brother because Cain was evil

Cain took his origin from the devil rather than from God. So, he did not love his brother, called Abel. We, who believe in God, must not be like Cain. Cain should have loved his brother. But instead, Cain hated his brother. In contrast to Cain, we should grow in our love for other Christians.

Those who hate do not belong to God. The devil has control in their lives. Cain did not become a child of the devil because he killed his brother. Cain was first a child of the devil. And then, because of this, he did what was evil. This led him to kill his own brother.

Cain and Abel were sons of Adam (Genesis 4:1-8). Abel did as God had asked. He offered a sheep to God, and God accepted it. But Cain did not do what God wanted. He offered his crops to God instead of a sheep and God did not accept this. Abel did what was right. Cain did what was evil. That is why Cain hated Abel. They walked in the fields and Cain murdered Abel.

Abel did what was right. That is why Cain murdered him. Cain did what was wrong. And he was jealous of Abel. The devil and his children hate those who do good things.

Verse 13

People who are not Christians often hate Christians

Christians are to the people of the world as Abel was to Cain. If we do good things, some people will hate us for it. This should not surprise us. It is in the nature of wicked people. They hate those who do good things.

John does not say that the *world always hates Christians. The people did not always hate Jesus. But Christians, like Abel, should do good works. Their good works will show how bad the evil works are. Then the people of the *world may hate them.

Verse 14

Our love shows that we are real Christians

All those people who trust in the *Lord Jesus belong to him. They know that they have a new life. People of the *world may hate them. But they are safe with the *Lord.

Death is in contrast to the new life. Death is the state of all who do not know the *Lord. We Christians know that we are no longer dead. We have come into a new life. Once we belonged to death but now we do not. The *Lord has transferred us from death to life. Now we belong to him. We know that this is true. Our love for each other shows that it is true.

We know that we have life. We know this because we love other Christians. Such love shows that we are Godís children. We do not become Christians by our love. But love shows that we have become Christians.

Those who do not love do not have this life. They remain in death. This is the opposite of life with God. Love is the evidence of life. But hate is the evidence of death.

Verse 15

Hate is like murder

The *Lord Jesus taught that anger with no cause is the same as murder (Matthew 5:21-22). So here, John says that hate is the same in its effects as murder. Hate is often the first step to murder. Those who hate could go on to kill. That is what Cain did. Even if they do not kill, the attitude of mind is the same.

Someone who murders does not have life with God. Those who hate have the same attitude in their mind. They do not have *eternal life.

Verse 16

A person who loves is not selfish

We can know what true love is like. We have the pattern of true love in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, ĎNobody has greater love than the person who dies for his friendsí (John 15:13). Because he loved us, that is what he did. He died for us. He chose to die so that we might have *eternal life. In this, he shows us what love really means.

We should follow what Christ has done. We should act from that same kind of love. This love is never selfish. It always does what is best for other people. So, we should be willing to give ourselves for other Christians. This means that we should die for them if necessary.

Such love is not natural to us. But when we are born of God, he gives us this love. We can love because he loved us.

Verse 17

A person who refuses to help his *brother does not show true love

Here is an example of someone who does not show this love. He has many possessions, more than enough for himself. He sees a Christian *brother who does not have enough to live on. This *brother really needs help. Love does not require this person to die for his *brother. It only requires him to give a little of what he has. He could afford to give the help that his *brother needs. But this person does not give it. He does not really love.

God loves us. It is that quality of love that God gives. God has given this love to all who belong to him. But this person does not love as God does. The love of God certainly does not remain in him. If it did, he would have helped his *brother. If we are not willing to help our *brother, the love of God is not in us.

Verse 18

We should show our love by our actions

We should not merely say that we love. Our love must show itself in what we do. We Christians should love each other. We should be active in our love. We should work for the benefit of other people. Let us do things rather than just talk about our love. Love that is not active is not real love.

Verse 19

When God forgives us, we can have a good conscience

When we love each other, we belong to the truth. We know this because of the love that we have. If we belong to the truth, we can have a good conscience. This will give us confidence to come to God.

The truth refers to God. Those who belong to the truth are Godís people. They are of God. They are the children of God.

When we come to God, he will accept us. We can come to him without fear. Thoughts about fear or thoughts about our faults may upset us. But we can be confident that God will forgive us.

Verse 20

Our own consciences may blame us when we *sin. But we can comfort our consciences. We know that God is greater than our consciences. God knows the worst that is in us. And he still loves us. He knows what we have done. We should confess our *sins to God. And he is always ready to forgive us.

Verse 21

When God forgives us, he *cleans us from all *sin. Then our consciences should not continue to blame us. When our consciences do not blame us, we can have confidence to come to God.

We have confidence that we can know God. We can live with him now. And we trust him for our future. We know that we can come to him. We can talk with him in prayer.

Verse 22

God answers our prayers because we please him

If our consciences do not accuse us, then we have confidence to come to God. We can come to God and pray to him. We receive what we ask for. God will give it because we obey him. We please him when we obey him. It is not that we earn the right to receive from him. He gives to us because he wants to.

Verse 23

Godís command is that we should love each other

This is Godís command to us. We must believe in Jesus Christ and we must love each other. These are two parts of the same command that we must obey. But the *Lord Jesus also gave us as a new command, that we should love each other (John 13:34).

We must have trust and confidence in Jesus Christ. We must agree that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Some of the false teachers tried to separate Jesus from the *Christ. They did not agree that Jesus the man was the Son of God.

The false teachers did not love as God demands. They could not because they did not have the love of God. They had not really believed in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. They failed to believe that Jesus Christ died for our *sins.

Verse 24

God has given us his Spirit

Those who live in God will obey him. Those who obey God live in him. But we do not earn this unity with God. We do not receive it because of what we do. We live in God. And God lives in us. We know that this is true. We know it because God has sent his Spirit to be in us. Godís Spirit in us is the proof. We know that we remain in God. Godís Spirit helps us to obey God. His Spirit makes us able to believe and to love.

Chapter Four

Test the *spirits to see if they are true (1 John 4:1-6)

v1 My friends, do not believe every *spirit. First, make sure where they are from. See if they are from God. There are many false *prophets who have gone into the world. v2 This is how you can recognise the Spirit of God. The Spirit from God says that Jesus Christ has come. He came as a human being. v3 *Spirits may not agree with this truth about Jesus. Those *spirits are not from God. This is the spirit of the false *Christ. You have heard that the spirit of the false *Christ is coming. Even now, it is already in the world.

v4 You, dear *children, are from God. And you have overcome the false *prophets. The person in you is greater than the person in the *world. v5 These false *prophets are from the *world. Therefore, they speak about things of the *world. Those who belong to this *world listen to them. v6 We belong to God. Everyone who knows God will listen to us. Whoever does not belong to God will not listen. This is how we know the Spirit of truth. And this is how we know the false *spirits.

Verse 1

We should test whether a personís message comes from God

There are other *spirits, which are active in the world. These speak by people such as the false teachers. Many of those had been part of the church but they had left it. There are people today who speak from *spirits. They may or may not be in the church. We need to know the origin of what people say. We should not just believe what a person says. We need to know if it is from God or not. If it is from God, we should believe the message. If it is not from God, we must not believe that message.

We must test what a person says. His words may be from Godís Spirit or from some other *spirit. Even if the words seem to be right, we still need to know the origin. The origin is either the Spirit of truth or a *spirit of error.

Many people say that they are teaching Godís message. However, they may not be speaking the truth. We need to test what they say. They may or may not be false *prophets. There are many false *prophets in the world. They teach what is not right. And they speak from the evil *spirits. They teach what is false. They may pretend to have Godís Spirit when in fact they have an evil *spirit.

Verse 2

The Holy Spirit teaches the truth about Jesus

This is how we can recognise Godís Spirit. The test is what a *spirit says about Christ. The Spirit from God teaches that Jesus Christ came. He came in a human body. This means that Jesus is the Son of God. He was the Son before he came to this earth. Jesus was the *Christ all through his life and his death. He is still the *Lord Jesus Christ.

The false *prophets may well have believed that *Christ came from God. But they probably said that Jesus was not the *Christ. They denied that the *Christ had come as a human person. They would not agree that the *Christ died. We can know the origin of the teaching by this test. It shows whether a person is speaking by Godís Spirit.

Verse 3

Evil *spirits oppose the *gospel message

Jesus Christ came as a man. A *spirit that does not agree with this cannot be from God. The false *spirit does not agree that Jesus is the *Christ. This *spirit will work by the false *Christ who will come in the future (1 John 2:18). This *spirit is already here in the world. It is working by those who oppose the *gospel.

Verse 4

God lives in you by his Spirit. And God is greater than the devil.

John puts Ďyouí first in the sentence. This is to impress them with the contrast. You, not the false teachers or those of the *world, are the ones who have overcome. You are from God.

Those who believe in the *Lord overcame the false *prophets. They refused to believe what the false *prophets taught. They refused to do what was not good. They did not join the group that left the church. Instead, they continued to believe what was true.

They were able to defeat the false teachers. The reason for this was that God was working by his people. God is in his people. And he is greater than the person who is in the *world. The person who is in the *world is the devil. The *world is all that opposes God.

God lives in us by his Holy Spirit. God has given the Spirit to be in us. The devil lives in those of the *world. So the *spirit of the false *Christ comes from the devil.

Verse 5

Christians belong to God, not to the *world

Those of the *world speak false things about the *Lord. The devil works in them to oppose the truth about Christ. They are from the *world. Therefore, they speak from the *world. Their ideas come from the *world and from the devil. For this reason those of the *world will listen to them.

Verse 6

In contrast to the false teachers, we belong to God. ĎWeí includes all those people who speak the truth about the *Lord Jesus Christ. Those people will listen to the truth. Those who do not belong to God will not believe the truth. We can know the origin of what people say. We know whether it is from God or from evil *spirits. All we need to do is to notice who listens to the message. The Spirit of God is in his people. He will cause them to know what is true.

The true Spirit is Godís Holy Spirit. He lives in Godís people. Those who have this kind of *spirit speak the truth.

There is a false *spirit that comes from the devil. There are also the spirits of people who do not have Godís Spirit. What these say cannot be the true message of God. They teach what is false and they lead people away from the truth.

God is love. He loves us and we should love him (1 John 4:7-21)

v7 Dear friends let us love each other, because love comes from God. All who love have been born of God. They know God. v8 Whoever does not love does not know God. This is because God is love. v9 This is how God showed his love among us. God sent his one and only Son into the world. He came so that we might live by him. v10 This is what love is. It is not that we have loved God. It is that he loved us. God sent his son as the *sacrifice to die for us. He died to take away our *sins. v11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love each other. v12 No person has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us. By this, his love is complete in us.

v13 God has given us his Spirit. Therefore, we know that we live in him. We also know that he lives in us. v14 We have seen that the *Father has sent his Son. We are witnesses that it is true. The *Father sent Jesus to rescue the people of the world. v15 Jesus is the Son of God. God lives in those people who believe this. Those people also live in God. v16 We know the love that God has for us. And we believe it.

God is love. Those who love like him live in God. God also lives in them. v17 This is how love has become perfect among us. We can be confident in that day when God will be the judge. Because as he is, so also are we in this world. v18 There is no fear in love but perfect love removes fear. It is the thought of punishment that causes fear. So, the person who is afraid does not have this perfect love.

v19 We love because God first loved us. v20 Some people may say that they love God. But if they hate their *brothers or sisters, they are lying. They do not love their *brothers and sisters whom they can see. Therefore, they cannot love God whom they have not seen. v21 God has given us this command. Those who love God must love their *brothers and sisters also.

Verse 7

Christians should love each other

We should obey the command and love each other. Love is part of the character of a Christian. The Christian is a child of God. The child of God receives this love from the *Father.

We should love other Christians because love comes from God. God is the origin of this love. God makes us able to love each other although by nature we may not do so.

All those who have this love are born of God. This love is not just an attitude of love. It is a love that acts. Those people who are born of God will love each other. Love proves whether we are born of God. Those who love know God.

Verse 8

Love is the test of whether a person knows God. If we know God, we will love other Christians. If we do not love the Christians then we do not know God. The reason for this is that God is love.

Love is not a description of God. He is so much more than love. But it is part of his nature and character. All that God does, he does in love.

Verse 9

God loved us. He sent Jesus.

God showed his love for us and for all people. He sent his only Son, whom he loves, into the world. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived among us. He showed us the love of God.

Jesus is God the Son. He became a man and he lived on earth. God sent him for this purpose, that by Christ we might live. He died for us and for our *sins. God raised him up from death. And God now gives *eternal life with Jesus.

Verse 10

This love is not the same as any other kind of love. In the *Greek language, John used a different word for this love. It is not the normal human love. It is a love that comes from God. God is the only origin of such love. God loves us although we did nothing to deserve his love. Our love is merely a reaction to his love. This is opposite to what the false teachers may have taught.

Love is this: that God loved us. Godís love shows what true love is. We know true love by what God has done for us. He loved us before we loved him. We cannot love him unless he gives us his love.

This is what God did because of his love for us. He sent his Son to die for our *sins. When Jesus died, he removed our *sins from us. But Jesus rose up from death to life again. So by the *Lord Jesus, we can have life and we are able to love God.

Verse 11

Christians should love each other because God loves us

As God loved us so much, we ought to love each other. He showed his love when he sent his Son to die for us. We should love in the same manner as God does. We should be ready in love to give ourselves for each other.

Verse 12

The false teachers said that they had seen God. They said that they had special knowledge about God. This cannot be true, because no person has ever seen God. What they said was false.

John tells us to love those people that we can see. We do not see God with our eyes. But we do know him when we love each other. And, as we love each other, we love God. Our love is the evidence that God lives in us.

God does not live in us because we love each other. Rather we love each other because God lives in us. But we do know him when we love each other.

When we love like this, Godís love has achieved its purpose in us. He has created love in us that is like his love. The love that God has produced in us is good and complete. We all share the same love with God and with each other.

Verse 13

We know that God lives in us

We cannot see God but we do know him. We know that we remain in him. We know that he lives in us. We can know this because God has given his Spirit to us.

Verse 14

We know that God sent Jesus to rescue us

Nobody has seen God. But we have seen that the *Father sent Jesus. John and his friends were there when Jesus lived among them. They saw the Christ with their own eyes. They knew that he was the Son of God. They knew that the *Father had sent him. All who believe can know this truth. We do not see it with our eyes. But we know it by *faith. We know that the *Father sent his Son Jesus to this world.

The reason that God sent Jesus was to save people from *sin and death. By Jesus, people can be free and receive a new life with God.

All the people of the world have *sinned. Their *sins have separated them all from God. Jesus Christ died for the *sins of all people. What he has done is sufficient to *save each one of them. But to benefit from what Jesus has done we must accept it. We must trust in him.

Verse 15

Real Christians believe that Jesus is Godís son

God lives in those who believe. They agree that Jesus is the Son of God. They believe the truth that God sent Jesus. Jesus came to *save the people of the world. If they believe in the *Lord Jesus, they will receive a new life. This life is in God.

Verse 16

We can depend on Godís love

Christians can be sure that the love of God is real. They can depend on it. They know that God loves them. His love can never fail. God loves all people but not just in general. God loves each person and each one is precious to him.

The writer says again that God is love (1 John 4:8). Godís nature is to love and to act in love. His love comes from his own character. The cause of his love is not the person whom he loves. He loves because he is love.

A person who has this love lives in God. And God lives in him. The love that God gives will reach out to other people.

Verse 17

We love God and we Christians love each other. We live in God. God lives in us. This gives us confidence for that future day when God is the judge.

Love is complete in us when we love God. This is the confidence that we have in him.

As we love God and each other, love achieves its purpose. It will develop in us. And we will be more mature in love. This is what God intended it to do for us.

The day is coming when God will be the judge of all people. That day will be the end of the world, as we know it. We can be confident that God will decide for us. This is not because of what we have done. It is because we have the life of Christ. He has taken away all our *sins because he loves us.

We have confidence because we are like Christ. As Christ lives in God, so by him we also live in God. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. By him, we are children of God. As God loves the Son, so he also loves us. Jesus lived here on earth in the *Fatherís love. And we live in the *Fatherís love too.

We are on this earth. Christ is not on this earth now. We are here to be his agents and to bring other people to God.

Verse 18

We are not afraid, because of Godís love

Fear is in contrast to the confidence that love brings. There can be no fear in perfect love. Love gives confidence in God. So as love grows in a person, the fears will disappear.

Perfect love is the love that God has for us. It is the love between God and the Christian. Because we love, we do not fear. Because God loves us, we have nothing to fear. Love is perfect when it is complete and mature.

Fear has to do with the future and the unknown. (The Ďunknowní means future events that we do not expect.) There is the fear of death. The love of Christ overcomes this fear. Christ brings us the promise of new life. There is the fear of punishment for all that we have done wrong. But Christ has taken all the punishment for our *sins. His perfect love takes away all that would make us afraid. In love, we can be certain about the future. The unknown is in the control of God, who loves us.

Those who do not love God are right to be afraid. The day is coming when God will be their judge.

Verse 19

We love other people because God loved us first

We Christians love God and we love each other. But our love is a grateful reaction to Godís love. We love because he loved us first. We could not love if God had not loved us first. He has given us his love. So, we are able to love. He has provided us with the power to love by his love.

The love with which we love is not our own. We do not create it, nor do we have the power to express it.

It is always the love of God. It is his love in us. We live in the *Father. And we live in Jesus the Son. So this love also becomes our own love. With this love, we can love God. We also love each other with the same love.

Verse 20

Someone who hates other people does not love God

Some people said that they loved God. But they did not really love the Christians. What they said was false. They were not telling the truth. If we love God, we will love other people. If we do not love our Christian *brothers and sisters, we do not love God. Our love for other Christians shows that we love God.

We love because God loves us. Godís love in us makes us able to love each other. This is the test of our love for God. We may say that we love God. However, if we fail to love each other, we do not really love God. We can see each other but we cannot see God. It is easier to love those whom we can see. It is not so easy to love God whom we have not seen. If we fail to love each other, we have failed to love God.

To John, either we love or we hate. To hate here means anything less than pure love. And love will always show itself in actions.

Verse 21

The first command is that we should love God. But to love God is to love our Christian *brothers and sisters. We cannot separate the two loves. They are one. If we love God, we will obey him. And his command is that we love each other.

Chapter Five

*Faith overcomes the *world (1 John 5:1-5)

v1 Jesus is the *Christ. Everyone who believes this has been born of God. Everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. v2 We love God and we obey his commands. So we know that we also love Godís children. v3 We show our love for God if we obey his commands. And his commands are not too hard for us to obey. v4 All who are born of God overcome the *world. By our *faith, we win the fight and we defeat the *world. v5 I will tell you who wins this fight with the *world. Jesus is the Son of God. Those who believe this will win.

Verse 1

We must believe that Jesus is the *Christ

The false teachers tried to divide Jesus from the *Christ. In their opinion, *Christ was God but Jesus was only a man. They taught that God could not die. Therefore the *Christ did not die. Those who think like this are not born of God.

To be born of God we must believe that Jesus is the *Christ. We must believe that he came to earth. He was both God and man. We must believe that Jesus the *Christ died for us. But death was not the end. Jesus Christ rose from death to life. He had achieved what he came to do. He rose from death to prove it.

We must believe that Jesus is the *Christ. This is more than just to agree with the mind. We must trust in him. We must accept what he has done for us. As we trust in him, he will change us. God gives us a new life. This is the new birth, when we are born of God.

If we love parents, we will love their children. If we love our own parents, we would also love our *brothers and sisters. A child will usually love its own father. Because of this, the child will also love its *brothers and sisters. If we are born of God then God is our Father. We then love the *Father. Therefore, if we love God we should also love his children. All Christians are the children of God.

Verse 2

We can know that we love Godís children. We do so when we obey God. God has given this command to us. We must love both him and his children. If we love God then we must love other Christians as well. We cannot love God if we do not love his children. It is not possible really to love his children if we do not love God.

Verse 3

We obey Godís commands because we love God

Love for God is this, that we obey his commands. This is how we express our love for God. If we love God, we will obey his commands. This is the essential result of our love for God.

His commands are not too difficult for us. They are not too hard because God makes us able to do them. We love him, so we desire to do them. The Christian likes to do whatever God wants.

Verse 4

Our *faith helps us to overcome everything that opposes us

We can obey God because we have overcome the *world. We trust in Jesus. This gives us success in the struggle. We overcome because we are born of God. Because of the birth from God, we overcome the *world. This new birth is the event that frees us from the *world. This new birth takes us away from the rule of the devil. This new birth makes us children of God.

The *world means all that opposes God, the church and Christians. This may be *persecution of the Christians. Or the world might try to tempt Christians to do wrong things. Many things try to destroy their trust in the *Lord Jesus. But in all these things, God gives the strength to overcome.

We overcome the *world when we first trust in Christ. He has already fought the battle for us and he has won. We are born into the success that Jesus has won. We now have to go on in that success. By trusting in him, we can overcome the *world in our lives.

It is our *faith that wins. *Faith is our trust in Christ and what we believe. We believe that Jesus is the *Christ. And we believe that he is the Son of God. We trust him to *save us and to keep us from all evil. We expect him to do all that God has promised. This belief and trust leads to the defeat of the *world. By our *faith we overcome the *world.

Verse 5

Only those people who trust in Christ overcome the *world. To win in this fight we have to believe in Jesus Christ. We believe that he is the Son of God. He is God and he became a man. As God and man, he overcame the *world. Nobody else can give us the power to win in this struggle. We trust in Jesus. Then we share in what he has done. So, he makes us able to overcome.

God tells us the truth about his Son (1 John 5:6-12)

v6 This man, Jesus Christ, came by water and blood. He did not come by water only. He came by water and blood. The Spirit shows us that these things are true. The Spirit is the truth. v7 These three tell us that this is true. v8 The three are the Spirit, the water and the blood. They all agree. v9 We believe what men say. But what God says is much more important. And God has spoken and told us about his Son. v10 Jesus is the Son of God. The person who believes this knows it to be true. He is sure about it. Unbelievers behave as if God tells lies. God has told us about his Son. But they have not believed him. v11 This is what God has said. He has given to us *eternal life and this life is in his Son. v12 The person who has the Son has this life. But the person who does not have the Son does not have this life.

Verse 6

The evidence that Jesus is Godís son

The water and the blood refer to the *baptism and death of Jesus. Jesus the Son of God came by the water of *baptism. That is, he went through *baptism to start his work. Jesus the Son of God came by the blood of his death. That is, he finished his work here on earth by his death. He went through death and rose again from the dead.

Jesus did not come by water alone. That is by *baptism. But he came by water and blood. This shows that Jesus the *Christ actually died. Jesus and the *Christ are one person. The false teachers said that the *Christ left Jesus before death. They thought that the *Christ, as God, could not die. But Jesus Christ is both God and man and he died for us.

The Spirit of God adds to the evidence of the water and the blood. He shows the truth to those who believe. He tells us that Jesus is the *Christ in both his *baptism and his death. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The Spirit of God reminds us about how Jesus lived. He tells us what Jesus did.

We can trust all that the Spirit of God shows us. He is the truth. He is the origin of truth. His nature is truth. He always speaks what is true. He never says anything that is false.

Verses 7-8

Three witnesses that Jesus is the *Christ, the Son of God

Under the old law there had to be two or three witnesses to prove a matter (Deuteronomy 19:15). The Spirit of God tells us the same as the water and the blood. We can depend on the evidence of these three witnesses. This evidence shows that Jesus is the *Christ, the Son of God.

The water and the blood are facts of history. The Spirit of God was there and he is now a witness to these facts.

Verse 9

Godís words are more important than peopleís words

It is normal for us to believe what people say. We usually believe people who are witnesses to an event. They may not be telling the truth. But God always tells the truth. We believe what people say. We should be more ready to believe what God says. God speaks what he knows. Nobody else can speak with such authority.

God knew his Son before he made the world. The *Father, the Son and Godís Spirit are one God. God the Father has said about Jesus Christ, ďThis is my Son.Ē (Matthew 3:17; 17:5.) He loves the Son.

In the past, God spoke by the evidence of the water and the blood. God still speaks to us today.

Verse 10

People who deny Jesus have not believed Godís words

Our belief is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. We agree that this is the truth. We know in ourselves that it is true. Godís Spirit is in us. He is the witness to us of the truth. We have an inner certainty that Jesus is the Son of God. We believe what God has said about him. We know that it is right to believe in Jesus.

God has said that Jesus is the *Christ. He also said that Jesus is the Son of God. Some people do not believe this. They deny that Jesus is the Son of God. They do not agree that he is the *Christ. So they behave as if God tells lies. They act as if Godís words are untrue. They have refused to believe in God and in Christ.

To receive the Son is to receive the *Father. To deny the Son is to deny the *Father. Nobody can both accept God and deny his Son.

Verse 11

God gives us *eternal life, because of Jesus

This is the effect of what God has said. Jesus has *eternal life. This life is in the *Lord Jesus. He has shown it to us. As we receive Jesus Christ, God gives us this *eternal life. It is the gift of God by his Son Jesus. *Eternal life is life now with God and this life will never end. Those who have *eternal life will live with God always. They may die a normal death but, in their spirit, they will never die.

Christ came so that we would have this *eternal life. We receive it when we trust in him. This is the new birth. We are born of God when we become Christians.

Verse 12

When we trust Jesus, we receive *eternal life

To have the Son is to be in a living unity with him. Where such unity exists, this life exists. Those who believe in the Son have *eternal life.

Those who do not have this unity do not have the life. Only in Christ can we find *eternal life. Those who do not have the Son of God cannot receive that life.

We know God by Christ (1 John 5:13-21)

v13 I have written these things to you. You believe in the name of Jesus. You believe that he is the Son of God. You have *eternal life. I write so that you may know this. v14 We have this confidence in God. We can ask him for anything that pleases him. When we do so, he hears us. v15 We are sure that he hears us. And he will give us what we ask from him.

v16 Suppose that you see a *brother or sister *sin. Perhaps this *sin is not one that leads to death. You should pray to God for that person. Then God will answer you. He will give life to that person. However, there is *sin which leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that *sin. v17 All evil deeds are *sin. But there is *sin that does not lead to death.

v18 Those who are born of God do not continue to *sin. The Son of God keeps them safe. The evil person (the devil) cannot touch them v19 We know that we belong to God. But the whole world is in the power of the evil person. v20 We know also that the Son of God has come. He has helped us to understand. So we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true. We are in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God. He is *eternal life.

v21 *Children, keep *yourselves safe from false gods.

Verse 13

We can be confident that we have *eternal life

John is coming to the end of his letter. He gives his purpose for all that he has written so far. He wants all the Christians to be sure about life. They have the true life in Christ. He feels that they lack confidence about this. He wants them to know that they do have *eternal life. He wants to increase their trust and confidence in Christ.

*Eternal life is not just a future life that has no end. It is life of a better quality, which we can live now. We are sharing in the life of Christ.

To believe in the name means to trust the person. They trust Jesus who is the Son of God.

Verse 14

We can be confident that God hears our prayers

We know that we have *eternal life. So, we can be confident to come to God. We are able to approach God in prayer. We can be sure that God will hear our prayers.

Verse 15

God answers prayer

We can ask God for anything that he wants. Then we know that God hears us. He listens to our prayers. We can be certain about this. If God hears us, he will answer our prayers. He may not answer at once. But we can be sure that the answer will come.

We need to know what agrees with Godís plan. Then we can ask for it. We must believe that God will answer us. Jesus said, ĎWhatever you ask in prayer, believe. Believe that you have received it. And it will be yoursí (Mark 11:24).

Verse 16

We should pray when another Christian *sins

Christians are not perfect and they do *sin. When we see a Christian *sin, we should pray about it. We have a duty in love to look after such a person. It should be our natural reaction to pray. This is for *sins that do not cause death.

The promise is that God will answer the prayer. He will give life to the person who has *sinned. He will forgive the *sin. There is a part of death in all *sin. *Sin in a Christian breaks the unity with the *Lord. That person needs God to forgive the *sin. Then the unity with the *Lord will return.

Death and life here refer to the spirit of the person. There is a *sin, which brings death to the human spirit. This *sin refuses to agree that Jesus is the *Christ, the Son of God. The person who does this *sin does not trust in Christ. He does not receive life from Christ. Such a person refuses to believe what the person knows to be true. To continue in this *sin will lead to death. John does not advise us to pray for those who do this *sin. He doubts that such prayer will have good results. He does not forbid such prayers. But he does think that they are a waste of time.

Verse 17

All wrong thoughts and actions are *sin

John has made a distinction between *sins. Some lead to death and some do not lead to death. This does not mean that some sins are worse than other sins. The false teachers may have taught that not all wrong actions are *sin. But all wrong thoughts and actions are *sin. All *sins are serious. We must not think that any are not bad.

Verse 18

God will help Christians not to *sin

Those who have been born of God are Christians. Those who become Christians must stop *sinning. They will not continue to *sin as they did in the past. This is the test of the truth in them. They hate *sin and they try to please God. It is not that they never fail. But they will not *sin as a manner of life.

Jesus the Son of God looks after his children. He will keep us safe and protect us from the devil. He will not allow *Satan to damage us. He will not let *Satan gain control over us. He will not let *Satan lead us back into *sin.

Verse 19

God will protect us from the devil

God is the origin of the new life that we have. We were born of God when we first trusted Jesus Christ. We know that we belong to him. We are now the children of God.

The whole *world is under the control of the devil. The *world includes all those people who do not know God. The *world means everything that opposes God. And the *world includes all Godís enemies. *Satan has power in this *world.

Verse 20

God has taught us the truth about Jesus

We know that Jesus the Son of God has come to this earth. He came from God and he became a man. He came in the past but he is still present. He lives with and in his people.

The Son of God has made us able to understand the truth. We can know God when we trust in Jesus. We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Now we can know God by experience because he is the true God. He is the genuine God, unlike all false gods. Our God is the only real God.

We live in unity with God the Father. We live in God because we belong to his Son Jesus Christ. The *Lord Jesus Christ, with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, is the true God. To know him is to have *eternal life. That life is in him. Jesus said, Ďthis is *eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God. And that they may know Jesus Christ whom you have sentí (John 17:3).

Verse 21

We must guard ourselves from false gods

Anything that takes the place of God is a false god. Christians must guard themselves from such false gods. So many things would tempt us away from the real God. The false teachers tried to do this by their wrong ideas about the *Christ. We need to be careful that we remain in the *Lord.

Word List

Antichrist ~ instead of Christ; the man that *Satan wants people to exchange for Christ; the last and most dangerous false *Christ.

apostle ~ someone whom God sends; especially one of the 12 men that Jesus chose to be his helpers.

baptism ~ a ceremony where a person washes with water as a sign that he or she wants to obey God.

brother ~ John uses the word Ďbrotherí to describe other Christians. Other Christians are like our relatives, because all Christians are children of God.

children ~ John was an old man when he wrote this letter. He knew well the Christians who would receive his letter. He thought about them as his own family. So, he called them Ďchildrení.

Christ ~ Jesus is the Christ. The word ĎChristí means that God appointed Jesus to *save us from our *sins. And the word ĎChristí reminds us that, even in this world, Jesus was full of Godís Holy Spirit. Jesus is the Son of God. But some people taught that Jesus was only an ordinary man. They said that he was not always the Christ. In this letter (1 John), John explains why these people were wrong. John also writes in 1 John about Ďfalse Christsí. These false Christs are ordinary men. The devil, not God, appointed them. False Christs also speak by *spirits. But they do not speak by Godís Holy Spirit. The *spirits that control false Christs come from the devil.

clean ~ perfect, without *sin.

creation ~ the act of God when he created the world and everything that there is; everything that God has made.

darkness ~ John uses the word Ďdarknessí to mean *sin, error, and evil acts.

eternal ~ without end.

faith ~ to trust someone or something; belief and trust in God and in Jesus his Son; belief that the Bible is true.

Father ~ God the Father.

flesh ~ the nature of human persons without God.

gospel ~ the good news about Jesus; or, one of the first 4 books in the *New Testament.

Greek ~ the language in which the authors wrote the *New Testament.

holy ~ perfect, without *sin.

Jews ~ people who were born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.

light ~ John uses the word Ďlightí to mean everything that is good, *holy and right.

Lord ~ name for God in the Bible; name that we use for Jesus when we obey him; a title for Jesus, to show that he is over all.

New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus.

Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible, which the writers wrote before the life of Jesus.

persecution ~ when enemies of God hurt people who believe in Jesus.

prophets ~ those who say that they are speaking on behalf of God. There are false prophets as well as true ones.

righteous(ness) ~ to be right with God; people that God sees as *clean and not his enemies; people who do what is right.

sacrifice ~ a gift to God to ask him to forgive *sins; or to thank him for something. Jesus gave himself to die as a *sacrifice for our *sins.

Satan ~ Godís chief enemy; the Devil.

save ~ rescue from the influence and result of *sin.

scriptures ~ the books of the Bible.

sin ~ to *sin is to do wrong, bad or evil things; not to obey God. *Sins are the wrong things that we do.

spirit ~ spirits are alive, but we cannot see them. There are good spirits usually called angels. Bad spirits (also called evil spirits, or demons) live in the air round us. *Satan is their leader.

world ~ all that opposes God, the church, and Christians.

yourselves ~ more than one Ďyourselfí.

Book List

Glen W Barker ~ The Expositorís Bible Commentary

Stephen S Smalley ~ World Biblical Commentary

J R W Stott ~ The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries

R J Drummond and Leon Morris ~ The New Bible Commentary (IVF)

Exegetical Summaries ~ SIL

W E Vine ~ Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

Bibles:

NIV, RSV, NRSV, KJV, MKJV, ASV, TEV, CEV

A Marshall ~ The Interlinear Greek New Testament

 

© 1997-2005, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).

April 2005

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