SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- The way we love God is by obeying his commands (verse 3). If we say, "I love God, but I'm going to do what I want anyway," that actually demonstrates a lack of love for God.
- If we are a child of God through our faith in Jesus, we overcome the world. We are overcomers and nothing will ultimately defeat us!
- In verses 6-8 John writes of Jesus being born of water, blood, and spirit. These words are most likely symbols that John is using to represent aspects of Jesus' life. Water may refer to Jesus' baptism, blood to his death on the cross, and the Spirit to the Holy Spirit who descended on Jesus.
- In verse 12 we learn that knowing Jesus is the key to having life (real life on earth and eternal life in Heaven).
- Verse 13 tells us that if we have put our faith in Jesus we can have confidence that we will have eternal life with God in Heaven. Why can we have this confidence? Because our status with God and our entry into Heaven is not based on our merits, but on those of Jesus.
- In verses 16-17 John writes of a "sin that leads to death." This would seem to be referring to the "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" Jesus spoke of in Matthew 12:31-32. This is never explained, but it's possible that it's referring to a person who has become a Christian (and therefore knows and has the Holy Spirit) and decides that he/she no longer wants God's forgiveness. They refuse to confess and repent of their sins, and therefore refuse God's forgiveness. John tells us not to pray for such a person. This may mean that we shouldn’t pray that God would forgive an unrepentant person. Rather we should pray that unrepentant people would be convicted by God so that they might confess and repent.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Would you say that obeying and living out God's commands are difficult? Verse 3 teaches us that God's commands are not burdensome. It should not feel like a burden to have to obey God, but instead an honor to get to obey God, and as something that makes us free.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- The recurring themes in the book of 1 John have been obeying God and loving people. Hopefully you were challenged to understand that if we love God, we will obey him and we will love people. If we don't obey God and love people, we don't love God like we think we do. And if we do obey God and love people, it will grow our love for God. So, thinking back on all you've read in the book of 1 John, and especially these two central themes, what do you need to do to actually live it out?