1 John–Lesson 3
The Son of God became flesh, spent time on earth, and willingly shed His blood on the cross to purify us from all sin. Every believer may now walk in the light, the holy sphere of God Himself–in His very presence. Only in the light, as we walk moment-by-moment in obedience to the Word of God, will believers experience fellowship and intimacy with God and one another.
But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.
In 1 John 1:9, John assures believers that we can receive complete forgiveness for our sins through confession, for it is God “who has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.” (2 Tim. 1:9)
John intended that the opportunity of complete cleansing of sin, for restoration to fellowship with God, would be an encouragement to continue in the light, not a license to sin. The first two verses in the second chapter of 1 John are a continuation of John’s thoughts and teaching in chapter one. His tone changes here. Although he addresses his flock with loving, tender, affection, calling them “dear” or “little children,” he is very serious about his exhortation.
1. Read 1 John 2:1-2. According to verse 1a, why did John write the first chapter of this letter?
2. Since John knew that sin would occur, how does he encourage his readers?
3. What qualifies Jesus Christ to be our defender?
4. When Christ pleads our case, what plea do you think He brings before the Father–the righteous Judge? On what grounds? (Note: “Atonement” means payment.)
5. Though Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, not all are saved. Why not? Read John 3:36 to help with your answer. How does Rev. 22:17 express that salvation is a matter of choice?
First John 1:1 – 2:2 was written to affirm believers’ salvation and to encourage their fellowship with God. In the next section, John teaches his followers the basic principles of knowing God. A progressive “knowing” of God naturally flows from walking in the light and enjoying fellowship with Him.
6. Read 1 John 2:3-11. From 1 John 2:3-4, how can a believer know that they “know God”? (Note: We can assume that John is addressing believers in verse 3 by his use of the words “we know.” Since these believers have already met God, they know Him in that sense (John 17:3). In 1 John 2:3, knowing God means an ever deepening, progressive, intimacy with God.)
7. According to 1 John 2:4, what is true for a person who is continually disobedient to the commands of the Word? What does this person need to do in order to grow to know God? (Note: “In such a person, the truth is not a dynamic, controlling influence. He is seriously out of touch with spiritual reality.”1)
8. Are you out of touch with spiritual reality? Believer, do you “know” God? Has your life become so busy and out-of-control that you have lost touch with a moment-by-moment life lived in the light, a life that is characterized by an ever deepening intimacy with your Lord? If so, confession would allow you a fresh start. Begin anew!
9. What is promised to those who are obedient in 1 John 2: 5-6? What condition must be met to receive this promise? The KJV and the NASB use the word “perfected.” The word “made” indicates process.
10. According to verse 5, what does a growing love for God or a continually deeper understanding of God’s love for you indicate?
11. The phrase “live in Him” means “remain in” or “continue in” or “abide in.” “Abiding is habitual obedience.”2 According to verse 6, what is characteristic of a believer who abides in Christ?
12. As you think about what John is teaching in this letter, what qualities of Jesus is the author identifying? How can we imitate Him?
13. Share your experience with spiritual growth in the area of love–your love for God or His love for you. If you are growing to know God more and more intimately, how has your growth progressed in your love for others?
14. Read John 14:21. What special promise is made to the believer who is obedient to God’s commands (abides in Christ)? How is God’s promise necessary for a growing, deepening relationship with Him?
15. Have you experienced progress in your love relationship with God? Do you need to make changes in your moment-by-moment habits? List at least three “intentional” steps can you take to spend more time communing with God.
16. Review 1 John 2:7-11. The command to love one another was an old command. See Lev. 19:18. What makes this command new? (Note: The love referred to in this verse is “phileo,” a Greek word meaning friendship. This love is characterized by a fondness that seeks the highest good of the other person. This love is only possible through fellowship with God and may require a choice of obedience from our will, rather than depending on our feelings.)
17. Christ displayed the love of God, and His disciples reflected God’s love. Read 1 John 2:8, Rom. 5:5, and 1 John 4:13. How are believers empowered to obey the new command?
18. According to 1 John 2:9-11, what is true of a believer who walks in the light? Describe the consequences of walking in the darkness. (Note: In this context, “brother” refers to a fellow believer, but elsewhere in scripture it is stated that God loved all the people of the world. John 3:16)
19. Review 1 John 2:1-11. List four ways that believers can know they are walking in the light with God (fellowship). Note the four references.
20. Read John 13:34-35 and John 17:21. Why is God’s love important to your witness for Christ?
“To live without loving one’s brother is, for the author, to live in total meaninglessness, denying oneself the presence of God and the reality of fellowship with the brothers.”
—Glenn W. Barker
Journal your thoughts and insights.
1 The Bible Knowledge Commentary by Walvoord & Zuck
2 Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary by Earl Radmacher, Ronald B. Allen, H. Wayne House
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