The biblical First Letter of John was addressed to a group of churches where “false prophets,” denounced as Antichrist, denied the Incarnation of Jesus. They caused a substantial secession that depleted the orthodox remnant.
Fellowship with God
The purpose of the first letter from John is to bring you into a relationship with God. John’s message from God deals with sin and maintaining the relationship.
The main point of John’s epistle is:
- Love is a central theme of John’s First Epistle.
- John emphasized that those who say they love God but do not in turn love those around them are liars (see 1 John 4:20–21).
As in the prologue to the Gospel of John, the first chapter of John’s First Epistle:
- teaches about the premortal divinity of Jesus Christ,
- emphasizes His role as the messenger of the Father,
- emphasizes that He is the only way to return to the Father,
- and highlights the impact of personal testimony in bringing others to follow Jesus Christ.
In the Beginning
In the first two verses of John’s first epistle, the beginning that John wrote of is told Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1. John tells us that in the beginning, before there was anything, all there existed was God and the “eternal life’ (Jesus) was with God. God came to earth, and John (among others) had personally experienced this eternal One. Jesus, the eternal One, has been audibly heard, physically seen, intently studied, and tangibly touched. This was real, and John tells us about it as an eyewitness.
External Existence of Jesus
The eternal existence of Jesus is also declared in Micah 5:2.
But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.
“Which was with the Father (1 John 1:2)” refers to the eternal relationship between the Father and the Son. There was an eternal relationship of love and fellowship between the Father and the Son.
The eternal relationship is clearly described in the Scriptures, but we could also understand it from simple logic. If God is love (1 John 4:8) and God is eternal (Micah 5:2), we understand that love in isolation is meaningless. Love needs an object, and since there was a time before anything was created, there was a time when the only love in the universe was between the members of the triune Godhead, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Jesus referred to this eternal relationship in John 17:24: “for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” The word “with” indicates that this being, who is eternal, and is eternal life Himself, is distinct from the Father. John builds the New Testament understanding of the Trinity – that one God exists as three Persons, equal and one, yet distinct in their person.
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In conclusion, consider what the Daily Bread email message sent on 12/28/2022 says,
1 John 1:1, 2 – What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life — and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us (NASB)
Verse 1 of First John chapter 1 establishes that the universe had a beginning, contrary to the idea that it is eternal. It also states that God has existed (at least) from that beginning. Later verses will show that God, in fact, created all that exists.
There was an eternal relationship of love and fellowship between the Father and the Son. And the purpose of the first letter from John is to bring you into a relationship with God, who created all things.
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