This study features notes from Enduring Word.
1. How does the opening sentence of v1 link to the end of chapter 1? Why is John addressing this?
John has made it clear that sin is a fact of Christian life and there is always forgiveness. Christians should also be concerned about sin. John addresses this because of the issue of relationship with God and how sin can break that.
2. What’s the encouragement in v1b-2?
We have an advocate – Jesus Christ himself. He is righteous – fully qualified to serve as our advocate.
3. Why does John add ‘not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world?’ [Why does this mean the whole world isn’t saved?]
Though Jesus made his propitiation for the whole world, the whole world isn’t saved. Atonement doesn’t equal forgiveness. The OT Day of Atonement demonstrates this (Leviticus 16:34), when the sin of all Israel was atoned for, yet not all of Israel was saved. God has taken care of the sin problem. Sin need not be a barrier between God and man, if man will receive the propitiation God has provided in Jesus.
4. What’s the evidence of someone knowing God?
They keep his commandments. Simple, loving obedience.
5. What’s the difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus?
We can know about lots of people and not know them. You can’t be saved by knowing about Jesus. The only saving knowledge is to know him and to trust him.
6. What does it mean for God’s love to be made complete in us?
A perfected love for God will show itself in obedience and the presence of this obedience and love gives us assurance that we are in Jesus.
7. How are we to live as Jesus did? What is John calling us to do?
We are called to imitate Jesus’ everyday walk with God the Father. The spiritual power evident in the life of Jesus flowed from a faithful, regular, disciplined life of fellowship and obedience.
8. How is the commandment to love one another both old and new?
It was old in the sense that it was preached to the brethren their whole Christian lives (Leviticus 19:18). It’s always been part of the Christian message. It’s new in the sense that it was called the new commandment by Jesus in John 13:34. Jesus displayed a kind of love never seen before.
9. How can our relationship with God be measured by our love for other Christians?
If we can’t love each other, we have no way to claim a real love for God. On one hand, God is merciful in requiring this because we’re not measured by how we love non-Christians, but it is difficult, as we expect more from our Christian friends.
10. What’s the danger in losing love?
If we lose love, we lose everything. You can do all the right things, believe the right truths but if you don’t love other Christians, all is lost.
11. How might we show hatred?
Avoidance, bitterness, conflict, gossip.
John addresses his readers according to their measure of spiritual maturity.
12. What does he say to little children, or young Christians?
Forgiveness is the special joy of God’s little children because God’s forgiveness does not come by degrees. Even the youngest Christian is completely forgiven.
In the first stage of spiritual growth, we sink our roots deep in the care and love of God. We know him as our caring Father, and see ourselves as his dependent children.
13. What does John say to fathers, or people who have been Christians for a very long time?
Spiritual maturity has its roots in knowing Jesus. The depths of fellowship and relationship we have with him. John repeats this as it should be emphasised. The relationship people have is true and deep.
14. What does John say to young men, or those who aren’t children and aren’t yet fathers?
They are engaged in battle with the wicked one. The repetition indicates emphasis. Not only have the young men overcome the wicked one, they have done it through the strength that comes to them through the word of God.
15. How is John linking to what he’s already said and encouraging his readers?
Although they’re sinners, they’re forgiven. When they know Jesus, they know God. They are on the side that’s already won.
16. How can our faith in Jesus make a difference to our everyday lives? How can we love each other in the way John has commanded?
Know God personally. Walk in the light, not in darkness.