THE NEW TESTAMENT
Chapter One hundred-twenty-five
The First Epistle from John
BACK TO FALSE TEACHERS
There are TWO themes that run throughout the three epistles
of John. One concerns what the nature of a true child of God is,
what manifests itself in daily living, and that of course is
having the very nature and love on God coming into the person
through the Holy Spirit, which is then really the very persons of
the Father and of the Son Christ Jesus coming into and living
within that individual (see what Jesus said in the Gospel of
John, chapter 14:23. The other concern for John, living as he did
until the end of the first century A.D. was the profuse "false
prophets" or teachers that had come along. First they were in the
Church of God, then they went out of it, and started their own
religion of MYSTERY BABYLON the great as the book of Revelation
calls it. Those false teachers called it "Christianity" - it
outwardly looked like the true religion of God, even with "nice
sounding theology" and spiritual words, but it was all really a
sham. It was Babylon Mystery Religion, dressed up in Christian
terms and platitudes.
Part of this false Christian religion is the untrue teaching
that Jesus Christ cannot really come and live His life over again
inside you, and that this new body of Christ, that is not the
body of Christ, can change doctrines, add doctrines, change
certain commandments of God, under the banner of "the grace of
God" for the New Testament age.
So it is that John, in chapter four, moves back to the
subject of "false prophets" or teachers. He tells his readers to
NOT BELIEVE every "spiritual" Christian sounding doctrine that
comes along. He tells them and so us today, we are to TRY the
spirits, to see if they really are from God, because MANY, not
the few, but MANY false prophets are out there.
How do we TRY or test the "spirit" - the "teaching" - the
"theology" - well the Bereans knew how to do it, when the apostle
Paul came teaching among them (Acts 17) - they went to the Word
of God, and searched the Scriptures DAILY, to see if what was
being said, stacked up to and was in agreement with God's Word.
It takes time and effort to do that. Most people will just not be
willing to take the time and effort to study the Scriptures, say
with a Bible Concordance, like Strong's Concordance, and of
course by reading the Bible from cover to cover, putting verse
with verse. All that does take time, and most people just ain't
got the time, so they believe, and they have been taught that it
does not really matter anyway. They have been taught that you
choose the "church of your choice" and as long as you have "nice"
thoughts about God, you'll get to heaven.
Some have thought from verses 2 and 3 of this chapter that a
great false teaching was going around in the last part of John's
live, that Jesus did not really come in the flesh. Now, there may
have been such a teaching by some to that effect. But as I'll
show you, this is not the false idea that John was speaking
against. There would have been FAR TOO MANY people STILL ALIVE,
with John, who had LITERALLY SEEN AND HEARD Jesus speak, seen and
heard about His miracles. From 30 A.D. when Jesus was crucified
to near the end of the century, was only 60 to 70 years, as John
was writing this epistle. There would have certainly been MANY
children at Christ's day, who would have seen and heard and
remembered the astonishing things that this man called Jesus
Christ did. I doubt at John's time, the teaching that Jesus had
never lived as a physical flesh person, would have gained much
support. The large amount of evidence from various people alive
at Christ's time and alive at John's time, would have deadened
such a "theological" teaching in the world of Jewish or Christian
No, that was not the insidious false teaching coming from
these false prophets. The Greek tense for "is come" in both verse
2 and 3, is the Greek "perfect" tense. Now the perfect tense in
Greek means: "The perfect conveys the DOUBLE notion of an action
terminated in the past time, and of its effect existing in the
present..." (The Analytical Greek Lexicon, 1977).
Jesus Christ HAD COME in the past, completed action, but the
effects of His coming was still present. Or put it this way, as
Jesus Himself put it. He came from the Father, lived and taught
according to the words the Father gave Him, lived a sinless life,
and died on the cross as mankind's at-one-ment sacrifice. That He
would rise from the dead, return to the Father, and send the Holy
Spirit to come and dwell WITHIN the saints of God. As mentioned
above, this means that BOTH the Father and the Son are living
inside the child of God (ref.John 14:23).
It is exactly as Paul said in Galatians 2:20; "I an
crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ
lives in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by
the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for
Allowing God the Father and Christ, through the Holy Spirit
to live IN you, is allowing them to live THEIR LIVES in you. It
is conforming to their will, their desires, their standards,
their "theology" you might say. It is as Jesus taught, living by
every word of God. Not the words of men, not the ideas of men,
not the "theology" of men, not the teachings of men, but LIVING
BY THE WORDS OF GOD!
Anyone who does not teach this basic truth of the New
Testament, that Christ lives over again inside of His followers,
which then includes obeying God's commandments, is a false
prophet, a false teacher. We have already seen John makes it very
plain and simple to understand, if you call yourself a Christian,
you will walk after Christ.
So, here is what John was saying to his readers, "Hereby
know you the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that
Jesus Christ DID COME and the EFFECT of that is to continue
COMING into (the Greek "en" can and often does mean "into") the
flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesses NOT that Jesus
Christ HAS COME and the effect of that is to CONTINUE to come in
the flesh, is NOT of God: and this is that spirit of anti-christ,
whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already
is it in the world."
The whole immediate and afterwards context of John's writing
is to repeat over and over again that Christians are to live,
walk, think, act, as God the Father and Christ Jesus, think and
act. MANY it was foretold would come (ref. Mat.24:24 to deceive
even the elect if possible) and in John's end time of life, HAD
come, who were teaching that it did not matter that much if they
did not live like Christ lived, in all points. By the end of the
first century A.D. there was a movement in so-called "Christian"
circles to observe the FIRST day of the week, and not the
SEVENTH, as Jesus did. There was by John's latter life, a
movement to depart from observing the Passover and move towards
Easter observance. So important was this that in the first half
of the second century, POLYCRATES of Asia Minor went all the way
to Rome to DEBATE this issue with the bishop of Rome, saying to
him that he received his observance from no other than the
apostle John himself. By the way this act of Polycrates shows the
Church of God had not YET completely split away from the church
It's all in the history books of Christian literature. Such
false teachers may not have, in so many words said to people,
"Well Jesus is not, cannot, live inside you." But the teaching
they held and taught to others, was in final bottom line reality,
saying that very thing. Most teachers of the "Christian" religion
sure are not going to put it like that to you in those plain
words, but the way they live, the things they observe, the
teachings they put forth, "speak VOLUMES" as the saying goes.
The deception by saying "That's only for the Jews" or
"That's Jewish, we don't have to follow that" is indeed the
deception of teaching that John is addressing here in these first
verses of chapter four.
Jesus was A JEW, but He was first the Son of God, who did
the Father's will and commandments. If anyone says that Jesus
cannot live inside you and still do the Father's will and
commandments, they are anti-christ as John bluntly called it.
He gives his readers a positive in verse 4. He tells them he
knows they are of God, and have overcome the false teachers,
because for one important reason, greater is He that is in them,
than he that is in the world .... greater is God the Father than
Satan the Devil in other words. But the world on a whole follows
false teachings, and people like it that way, so the false
minister teach and preach what the general world likes to hear.
But those of God, those who are in tune with God, those who know
the Father's word, they will recognize who speaks the Father's
word. Hence the spirit of error and truth is made manifest to
them (verses 4-6). As Jesus said, though false prophets would
abound in the last days, the elect cannot be deceived.
GOD IS LOVE
And as He is, it is imperative that Christians love one
another, it is a standard that is part of being a true child of
God (verse 7).
God is LOVE (verse 8), but let's ask the question, can we
find a Bible definition of "love" in simple terms? Paul expounded
in true love in 1 Corinthians 13, but for a simple definition we
just need to keep reading and we'll come to it in John's epistle.
Chapter 5:3! There it is, back we go again to what John also puts
emphasis on in these three epistles - THE LOVE OF GOD IS THE
KEEPING OF HIS COMMANDMENTS!
John reiterates in the next few verses, ONE specifiC of
God's love. The sending of His only begotten Son to die for sins
and to make eternal life possible for mankind. It was God who
FIRST loved us, not the other way around. God makes the first
step in love, not us. He sent His Son to be the at-one-ment for
our sins (the propitiation) - the atoning sacrifice that takes
away our sins.
With that in mind, as it always should be, then it becomes
much easier for us to love others, or at least it should be
easier. If you truly have the Spirit of God, then it is
relatively easy to love others (verses 7-11).
Verse 12 is an eye opener. John says NO MAN HAS SEEN GOD AT
ANY TIME! Putting verse with verse, we know it is written that
Moses DID SEE the hindpart of God (Exodus 33). So, without going
into all the other verses in the Bible (the one in Exodus 33 is
enough), the "God" that some people DID SEE at times throughout
history, was the ONE BEING of the Godhead that BECAME the person
of Jesus the Christ. It is a truth that I have covered in depth
on many other studies on this Website. I will ask the reader to
NOT ONE human person from the time of Adam, has EVER seen
God the FATHER. God the Father has never appeared to or spoken
with any human person. That will all change as we are told in
Revelation chapter 21. When all the plan of salvation for mankind
is completed, when the new earth and new heaven are established,
then God the Father will come, together with the heavenly
Jerusalem, to the new earth, and GOD THE FATHER shall be with all
of His children. Then we shall meet Him, see Him, talk to Him, as
Father to son. Oh, what a breath-taking day that will be. Until
then, we shall have to be patient, and as Jesus said to His
disciples, "If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father." But,
you bet, it sure will be great to see the Father in person!
Part of being in God, being a son of God, is to confess,
admit, recognize, that Jesus the Christ, is the very SON of God,
and the Father sent Him to be the Savior of the world. There are
MILLIONS today and yesterday, who will not admit this fact. The
Jews at large, the Islamic people at large. One day they will
come to see and admit that Jesus is the very Son of God.
God is LOVE, and he that dwells in love, dwells in God, and
God in him. John puts it in a simple short sentence, but in that
sentence is the whole book and words of John, and of course the
whole New Testament. Love is as we shall come to (as we have seen
already) KEEPING the COMMANDMENTS of God. And so, if doing, if in
that mind-set to obey the Father, we can have boldness in the day
of judgment. [And the people of God are having judgment NOW as
they live (1 Peter 4:17)]. So as is God, so we live, we desire to
follow in the steps of Christ. And that attitude CASTS OUT fear,
the fear that brings torment (see Hebrews 10:26-31). If we have
that wrong fear, it is because we have turned our back of God's
way of life, and that type of fear cannot make perfection in love
- no spiritual growth can come about, no moving towards spiritual
maturity can be accomplished in and under that tent of fear
John finishes his thoughts in this chapter by stressing once
more, God is love, we love Him because He fist loved us. and if
any one say he loves God and hates his fellow man, he is just a
plain liar: for he that loves not his brother, whom he can see,
how can he possibly love God whom he has not seen?
It is one of God's commandments: That he who loves God must
love his brother also! (verses 19-21).
If all the people in the world who claim to worship "God"
would just obey this ONE commandment, what a different world we
would have today. The news on TV every day from various parts of
the world, would not contain all the killing and violence people
commit against each other under the name of God's "religion."
So we continue to pray, "Thy Kingdom come" when all people
will walk in the LOVE of God!
Written October 2007