SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- The chapter starts out by letting us know that Jesus is our advocate (he represents us to God) and our atoning sacrifice (through his death he can take our sins away).
- John writes that anyone who claims to follow Jesus must live as Jesus did. The idea is that we live in obedience to God and his commands (verses 3-5), and truly love others (verses 9-11).
- John says that we are not to love the world (verse 15). This does not mean the people in the world, but the "things" of this world. The things that we often "lust" after and take "pride" in (verse 16), but will pass away and we will someday realize were meaningless.
- John uses the word "antichrist" and defines it in verse 22 as those who deny that Jesus is the Christ (the Savior). (This term is not used in any other book of the Bible but is commonly thought to be connected with the “man of lawlessness” mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2 and the "beast" of Revelation 13, though the Bible itself does not make that connection.) It's possible that John writes this because of the issues presented by the false teachings of Gnosticism. The Gnostics were claiming to be "pro-Christ" but were teaching that Jesus wasn't actually the Savior, so in actuality they were "anti-Christ."
- In verse 28 John gives another reason not to sin: we don't want to be embarrassed when Jesus returns (or our lives end) and we have to appear before him.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- A lot of people think they can love God and then do whatever they want. But the Bible makes it clear, including here, that loving God means that we obey God. The way we love God is by obeying him, and by loving people (who were created in his image and are loved by him).
- When we fall short of obeying God, the good news it that Jesus' death "atones for" our sin, and he is our advocate - speaking to the Father in our defense.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Do you think it's okay to love God and still do whatever you want, even if you realize it's disobedient to God? Do you think it's okay to love God but not love certain people? Does today's reading help you see that you can't make that disconnect? Does it make sense to you that loving God and obeying God need to go together? Take a moment to share your thoughts with God, and ask for his help for you to understand this and live it out.