1-3 John by Douglas Sean O’Donnell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Apostle John wrote this letter so that we might know certain things about ourselves and others within the Christian community, as well as those who have left it. To him, orthodoxy, (right belief in Jesus) and orthopraxy (obedience and love) are accurate indicators of an eternal fellowship with God.
The key to this study and foundation is apostolic authority and testimony. Because of the importance of membership, the teaching of Christ, false teaching, we can have assurance of the Gospel. What I found that was most helpful was the apostolic authority and testimony which I would say is not as relevant as we may think it is. Let me say, my eyes were opened and encouraged. It is in the creeds that we have a firm foundation of the apostolic authority and testimony.
The books of I-3 John relate to the Christian and to living as a Christian. Dealing with sin but also how we are desensitized to the effects of sin. It is not moralism but it is sin that rules our lives if we are not dealing with it correctly. Living in union with Christ is dealing with our sin. Dealing with our sin, leads us to love God and others. It is the books of John that the theme of love is addressed more than 51 times. We are told in 1 John 2:15 not to love the world is our only negative. In not loving the world, it can lead to more questions. If God created the world which is good, what does this mean? It means that we must not love the world that is against the Lord. In loving the world, we are putting our hope in the things of the world that will pass. There is no future in worldliness. That needs to be tattooed to my head. We love God first, trust in the Son for our salvation and live in according to word that is our future. That will have everlasting consequences. It is by replacing our love for the world with a love for the things of God. This is daily, minute by minute, running to the cross. I loved what he says that the glory of Christ is our antidote for all that dazzles and sparkles but fades.
Some quotes that I found encouraging.
When one walks in God’s light, that light shows us who we are – sinners! As a result, the only way forward is to cling to the cross, or to follow the metaphor here, to be washing in the blood.
Almighty God, you love us, but we have not loved you. You call, but we have not listened. We walk away from our neighbors in need, wrapped in our own concerns. We condone evil, prejudice, warfare, and greed. God of grace, help us to admit our sin, so that you come to us in mercy, we may repent, turn to you and receive forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen
In John’s writing, the world has a wide range of meaning. To summarize the data: on one hand, the world was made by God through Christ and is loved by God through Christ. On the other hand, the world lies in the grip of Satan and comprises people on earth who oppose and ignore God and seek to live independent of him. It is obvious that it is this second “world” that John has in mind.
It’s loving the values and pursuits of the world that stand opposed to God. More specifically, it is to gratify and exalt oneself to the exclusion of God. It rejects God’s rule and replaces it with our own. Does outward prosperity appeal to you more than growth in godliness? Do you esteem and crave approval of those around you? Do you go to great lengths to avoid looking foolish or being rejected for your Christian faith? Do you consider present and material results more important than eternal reward? Have you departed from God and adopted idols instead?
You cannot have God as your spouse and still have the world as your mistress. You cannot be in an intimate relationship with both God and the world. You cannot love all that God is and has to offer and still love this world and all that it has to offer.
Very informative and convicting study that challenges any believer to examine their own heart and how we must respond. Is this important? Yes, I think is. In the Old Testament, you can recall in worship, the Ark of the Covenant (no one must touch it), that worship is important. We cannot worship God the way that seems right to us but in spirit and in truth. It is hard teaching but we have the righteousness of Christ that humbles our heart to His.
A Special Thank you to P & R Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the blessed opportunity to post an honest review.
View all my reviews