Bible-In-A-Year Day 357: 1 John 1-5

62 1 john

1 John 1 (NIV)

The Incarnation of the Word of Life

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our[a] joy complete.

Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

1 John 2 (NIV)

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Love and Hatred for Fellow Believers

We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God[a] is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister[b] is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister[c] lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.

Reasons for Writing

12 I am writing to you, dear children,
    because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
13 I am writing to you, fathers,
    because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
    because you have overcome the evil one.

14 I write to you, dear children,
    because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
    because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
    because you are strong,
    and the word of God lives in you,
    and you have overcome the evil one.

On Not Loving the World

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[d] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

Warnings Against Denying the Son

18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.[e] 21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

24 As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life.

26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

God’s Children and Sin

28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.

29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.

1 John 3 (NIV)

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[a] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

More on Love and Hatred

11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters,[b] if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

1 John 4 (NIV)

On Denying the Incarnation

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

God’s Love and Ours

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

1 John 5 (NIV)

Faith in the Incarnate Son of God

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the[a] Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Concluding Affirmations

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.

18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. 19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.

(text courtesy of biblegateway.com)

Download the reading plan schedule as a pdf here.

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That day is not today

Abusive relationships . . . when most people think of them they immediately think of domestic violence.  But that is not always the definition of an abusive relationship.

One year ago I sat on my couch and wrote a letter.  I placed the letter in a stamped and addressed envelope.  That envelope went into the mailbox, and a few days letter found its way into the hands of the addressee.  That letter told the recipient that in no uncertain terms was she ever welcome to contact me again.  She is my husband’s ex-wife.

She and I had been friends.  Then she started taking advantage of me, and of things I would do for her and her children.  She is a narcissist.  She suffers from a severe sense of entitlement, and feels she is always the victim.  I wanted to help her.  All I did was enable her behavior.  She also has an explosive temper that would put Mt. Vesuvius to shame.  People like her will take and take and take.  Eventually the more they take the more they want, the more they expect.  There were times when I was unable to do whatever it was she claimed to need.  That’s when I became like the village of Pompeii buried, unexpectedly, under ash and suffocated by toxic fumes.  Later she would cool off and come begging for forgiveness.  She would tell me how important I was to her, and that she valued our friendship so much, that she didn’t deserve a friend like me, and that I was such a blessing to her.

It was the cycle of abuse.  I experienced the exact same thing with my former step-father when I was a child.  He was an abusive alcoholic.  The worst event ended with his offering me a new, pretty pair of socks as a peace offering.

This friendship had me in knots.  I couldn’t express my frustration with her because to do so would ignite her temper.  So I took my anger and frustration out on the closest person . . . my husband.  A year ago my marriage was on the verge of falling apart.  I was miserable.  My husband was miserable.  I blamed her for making me so unhappy.  I blamed him for allowing her to control so much of our life.  I blamed myself for allowing the friendship to dissolve into what it had become.  But I thought, “if I do enough for her, if I help her enough, then she will see that there is good in the world and she will turn around.  It is my duty as a Christian to help those around me, and the Lord put her in my life for that reason.  She never means what she says.  She always apologizes.  She isn’t really a mean person.  She just needs me to fix her, if I can care about her enough.”

Eventually she threw some extremely ludicrous accusations at my husband and then got angry at me for taking his side.  In her anger she threw the same accusations at me.  She screamed.  She yelled.  She made threats.  She called and texted to the point where I had to block her on Facebook, and through my phone provider.  I also had to block every member of her family because I knew that she would use their phones or Facebook pages to try to contact me.  She contacted my friends, and even my pastor, and plied them for information or tried to fill them with the perceived awful things I said or did to her.  When confronted by all those people I told my side of the story and showed them her text messages.

A few months later, under the mentality of forgive and forget, I made up with her.  I can look back now though and see that the truth was that I was weak and didn’t know how to function without that dynamic in my life, as twisted as that my sound.  I told myself that it would be different.  People can change.  A few months should have given us both time to see the errors of our ways.

I set a line in the sand and expressed to her my limits for our continued friendship.  Red flags should have started going up in my head at that moment.  You should not have to say to a friend, “alright, here are the rules if we are going to be friends.”  That is what I had to do though.  Things were peachy for a few weeks, but over the following four months things eventually went back to where they had been, ending with the night she called my husband demanding that I unblock her from Facebook and my cell phone (which I had never gotten around to doing, because my gut told me it was a bad idea . . . should have been yet another red flag!).  That was the night I sat down and wrote the letter to her.  It was a year ago, almost exactly one year ago to the day.

That was an abusive relationship.  It was mentally and verbally abusive.  She ran me down to make herself feel better.  She berated me when she didn’t get her way.  She made terrible accusations when she had no other ammunition.  And then her skies would clear, the hurricane of her anger would roll out, and she would come crawling back, begging for forgiveness.  And the cycle would go on.  Yes, I enabled her behavior.  I needed to do it.  I thought I was doing a good thing for her.  I thought I was helping her.  What I was really doing was looking for validation.  If she told me that I was a good person then that meant I must be a good person.  If she told me that I was a selfish bitch who cared about nobody and nothing, then she must be right about that, too.  So I did whatever I had to do to keep her happy and thinking I was good.  It was safer than the alternative.

I have spent the last year in Celebrate Recovery, predominantly because of her.  I have not spoken to her in a year.  I have forgiven myself for my behavior during that period of my life.  My husband has also forgiven me for the way I treated him during that period.  Our marriage is doing much better, but I am still working on letting go of the anger and resentment I have toward her.  I wear it like a shield, and shield that I want to get rid of, but I am so afraid to.  I am still afraid of her.

Tonight she texted my husband.  She does that occasionally because the have a daughter together from their marriage.  In her text she said that she would like to talk to me so that she can apologize.  My heart immediately began to race.  The thought of facing her still clenches ever muscle in my body.  I told my husband to not even acknowledge that portion of her text, because I know what will happen.  She will apologize and I will tell her that I appreciate the apology but still wish to not continue our friendship and then she will flip her lid.  OR the worst case scenario . . . she will apologize, and the cycle will start all over again.  Because that is how abusers operate.

I have enjoyed this year of my life free of her drama and toxicity, and I don’t want to go back to where I was.  I am still working on healing from what I allowed her to do to me, and I can not compromise myself for her.  She will have to find from another source the forgiveness she seeks.  One day I hope to be able to look at the past and say that I forgive her, but that day is not today.

So, see?  Abusive relationships can happen between anyone . . . even friends.  One beats the other down so much that the weaker one is incapable of walking away.  Like an abused dog always going back to it’s abusive master.  “Maybe tomorrow will be different, because I know they really do care about me.”

Until next time . . .