Thursday 27 December 2012

Bible Book:
1 John

"By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says, 'I abide in him', ought to walk just as he walked." (vv. 5b-6)

1 John 2:3-11 Thursday 27 December 2012


The first letter of John is usually agreed to be written by thesame John who wrote the Gospel, who is generally known as one ofthe closest disciples to Jesus. The writing style and themes in theletter (light and darkness, love and hate) are very similar tothose found in the Gospel.

In this passage John is determined to express how vitalobedience is as a sign of belonging to Christ. He also communicatesthat obedience, although a sign of discipleship, is to be motivatedby love rather than obligation. It is easy to misunderstand thisand believe that it is the obedience that matters most, whereasfaith in Christ requires relationship at its core. As John wrotethis, he probably thought of the words of Christ he had recorded inhis Gospel, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (John14:15) and "Abide in me as I abide in you" (John15:4). John holds this key theme - of the importance of'abiding' in Christ - making our home in him, and allowing him toestablish residence in us. Christ must become our lodging place,our foundation, our journey and as vital as our breathing. As weunderstand this we begin to see that obedience is not only theevidence of us belonging to Christ; it is the motive and theempowering force in all we are to do in his name.

The implications are very real for John, and he hopes to makethem so for his readers. It is simply not possible, he argues, fora believer to be full of hate for a fellow Christian and to claimthat they are in a relationship with Christ. There is anincompatibility of lifestyle which cannot coexist.

The passage ends with another one of John's images - that ofdarkness and light (verses 8-11). He points out that living in lovewith those around us causes us to walk in the light, whereas tohate is to stumble in the darkness.

To Ponder

  • Do you walk as Christ walked? In what ways?
  • Is love or obligation your motive for obeying Christ?
  • What will it mean this week for you to abide in Christ?
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