Introduction: This epistle was written by the apostle “John,” the same John which wrote the Gospel of John. We don’t know exactly when it was written though. Was it before or after the destruction of Jerusalem? John just makes note of the last hour, so that could mean any number of times.
This Epistle seems to not have been written to a particular church, but rather a certain character in the churches with dangerous opinions.
John’s first letter seems to address some in the local church, that had departed fellowship, apparently because their doctrine, ethics, devotion, or some combination of these were in conflict with the church. He emphasized that belief should match action.
A personal relationship with Christ is the foundation of the Christian life and out from this grows obedience to divine commands.
Verse 1 – That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life –
Verse 2 – the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us –
John was one of the 12 disciples who had a personal relationship with Jesus. He was eye-witness to all these things. His qualification for being able to write this letter are from the Master Himself.
Verse 3 – that which we have seen you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
John wanted all his readers to have the same views of the Savior which he had, and partake of the same hope and joy – fellowship.
Verse 4 – And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
Verse 5 – This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
Darkness had crept in among some of John’s readers. “Light” in Scripture, is the emblem of purity, truth, knowledge, prosperity, and happiness – as darkness is the opposite. In God there is no darkness.
Verse 6 – If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
We can’t claim to walk with God while living a life of sin – darkness. It’s a life of lies.
Verse 7 – But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Meaning – born-again; walking according to God’s word; standards set by God’s truth; and living that transformed life of obedience and self-control, not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.
Verse 8 – If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
Here John was attacking the claim of the false teachers that people had no natural tendency toward sin. These false teachers, as some do today, saw no need to repent. I can’t remember the last time I heard a message on repenting and then having an opportunity for the congregation to do so. That’s one reason why it’s hard to tell the Christians from the lost. People think confessing their sin is old fashion.
Verse 9 – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The forgiveness of sins is mercy on God’s part. If we can’t admit to being a sinner, then one cannot be born-again. After being a Christian, we know when we have sinned and know good and well when we have wronged another person. A humble spirit will cause us to repent and, “Make it right!” Everyone sins and everyone messes up, own up to it.
Verse 10 – If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
Do you know who cannot be saved? Those who refuse to admit they are a sinner! Too many compare themselves to others instead of comparing themselves to God’s standards. They think, “Well, at least I’m not as bad as so and so.” Everyone will answer for themselves one day.