In his book “The Normal Church Life,” (An Exposition of the First Epistle of John), P.G. Mathew states, the book of First John deals with four main themes: (1) orthodox doctrine (2) practical personal holiness, (3) the Christian community life of love, and (4) the assurance of Salvation.
This epistle flies in the face of today’s secular society because our secular culture hates uncompromising imperatives. Our society has an absolute commitment to moral and philosophical relativism. The surprising thing is that today’s churches have become like-minded. Few churches preach orthodox doctrine; even fewer require practical holiness. We hear very little today of sin, repentance, holiness, judgment, or hell. The prevalent view is that mere mental assent to the facts of the gospel constitutes salvation, so that one can accept Jesus as Savior yet continue to live in sin and still expect to be saved! Any call to obedience is labeled as legalism. “Carnal Christianity” has become the norm.
John writes with authority and clarity: “This is love for God: to obey His commands” (1John 5:1, 3). Unlike the “carnal Christian,” the one who is born of God will believe sound doctrine, will live to please God and the brethren, and, thus, will enjoy assurance of salvation.
To say you “know God” (1John 2:4), and have fellowship with Him (1John 1:3), yet not obey Him or grow in holiness, is patent, self-refuting nonsense. If you do not walk in the light of Jesus, you are walking in darkness. If that be the case, you are not living according to the truth (1John 1:6), you are lost because only the truth can set you free (John 8:32), and you have no fellowship at all with God because “in Him is no darkness at all” (1John 1:5). If you claim otherwise, you are deceiving yourself (1John 1:8), and accusing God of being a liar (1John 1:10), and accusing God of being a liar is to put Him under the authority of Satan (John 8:44). Do you think Jesus will save you if you call His Father a liar? Isn’t it time to go back to the BOOK. — Toby Miller
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