2011-11-30 - 1 John
The Epistles of John ~ Part 8~ Theological Orthodoxy
Verse 4: The letter, then, is not intended to be an evangelistic statement, as much as a call to stand for theological orthodoxy. False teachings can bring about disruption in the life of the body and the individual believer. False teaching can steal the joy of believers.
For example, the false teaching that a believer can lose salvation steals the joy that comes with the confidence that one day I will spend eternity with the Lord. The false teaching that Christ will only return after the church has ushered in the millennium can steal the joy that comes from the comfort that the Lord will return at any moment, to take us to be with Him.
Even out-of-balance teachings can bring disharmony and unhappiness to the body and to the individual believer. Legalism leads to dependency on rules and not the Lord. A judgmental spirit leads to disruption instead of a desire for restoration and comfort. Can you give any examples you have observed?
Orthodoxy of theology and balance of walk are a must for the maturing of both the believer and the body. These must be in place, if we are to demonstrate the love of God. And God's love must be demonstrated, if we are to be effectively used by the Lord in the giving out of the Gospel.
John then desires that the life of the believer be one of joy - because of the truths underlying our salvation. I pray that as we go through this study, that we will find the joy of our salvation. May you pray so as well.
Let me close with Matthew Henry's introduction to these epistles.
"This epistle is a discourse upon the principles of Christianity, in doctrine and practice. The design appears to be, to refute and guard against erroneous and unholy tenets, principles, and practices, especially such as would lower the Godhead of Christ, and the reality and power of his sufferings and death, as an atoning sacrifice; and against the assertion that believers being saved by grace, are not required to obey the commandments. This epistle also stirs up all who profess to know God, to have communion with him, and to believe in him, and that they walk in holiness, not in sin, showing that a mere outward profession is nothing, without the evidence of a holy life and conduct. It also helps forward and excites real Christians to communion with God and the Lord Jesus Christ, to constancy in the true faith, and to purity of life." 1
With our lips let us sing one confession,
To be continued.