1 John 1: The Word


This is quite a short chapter so I will start off with a “reading” of all 1- verses;

We write to you about the Word of life, which has existed from the very beginning. We have heard it, and we have seen it with our eyes; yes, we have seen it, and our hands have touched it.
2 When this life became visible, we saw it; so we speak of it and tell you about the eternal life which was with the Father and was made known to us.
3 What we have seen and heard we announce to you also, so that you will join with us in the fellowship that we have with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
4 We write this in order that our joy may be complete.
5 Now the message that we have heard from his Son and announce is this: God is light, and there is no darkness at all in him.
6 If, then, we say that we have fellowship with him, yet at the same time live in the darkness, we are lying both in our words and in our actions.
7 But if we live in the light – just as he is in the light – then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from every sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us.
9 But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make a liar out of God, and his word is not in us.
John speaks from personal experience;
  • we have heard
  • we have seen
  • we have looked at
  • we have touched
  • we proclaim
  • we testify

He uses the same name at the start of this letter to the beginning of his Gospel by referring to The Word;

In the beginning the Word already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  From the very beginning the Word was with God.  Through him God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him.  The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to humanity.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out (John 1 v 1-5)

He again refers to the Word being the light in verses 5 – 7 and encourages us to live in that light.  We cannot live in both at the same time, we are either in the light or in the darkness.  Darkness cannot put out the light, if you take a small light into a dark room, the light will always take over.

The speaker at our church meeting yesterday morning spoke of how he had realised one day as he was walking away from a very brightly lit building that all he could see in front of him was darkness and his shadow – the shadow he realised represented the things of his past – he had his back to the light.  When he turned around and faced the light and walked towards it, he could no longer see his shadow, it was behind him.  If we are walking in God’s light and following him – our shadows are behind us.

I noticed a short while ago that the Psalmist David in Psalm 23 must have been experiencing some of this when he speaks of walking through the Valley of the Shadow of death.  It is a fact that if there is a shadow, then there has to be some light somewhere.  Our darkness at night is simply because the earth has spun round and we effectively have our backs to the sun.  Clouds come and sometimes dim that light, but it is still there.  Even when we think things are dark, we know that God is still there, we need to position ourselves so that we are in the light again and look to Him.  If we are following Christ, we are not in his shadow as he is the light.  His light shines on us.

John wanted to share this good news and for others to join him in the light.  Most of us enjoy some time sitting in the sunshine and feeling it’s warmth but we can choose whether to walk in the shade or the light.  John says that if we walk in the light of God we can enjoy fellowship with him  as he is in the light.

The next few verses are possibly among the most well known of the Bible, certainly if you have received Christ as your Saviour and accepted His forgiveness you will probably have been taught these.  These verses give us the confidence to understand that our faith is not based purely on feelings.  We may not always feel “saved” but we know from this that if we confess our sin in repentance, God has promised to forgive us and cleanse us – bring us into his light and shine on us.  God’s word is faithful and true – he keeps his promises.

Wake up, sleeper, and rise from death, and Christ will shine on you (Ephesians 5 v 14)

We have to be honest and acknowledge our failings.  We deceive no one but ourselves by thinking that we are without sin.

Everyone has sinned and is far away from God’s saving presence (Romans 3 v 23)

In the rest of his letter John gives his advice on how to avoid sin and stay in God’s light once we have been cleansed so we will look at that over the next few days


Quotes from the Good News Bible




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