Keep Walking in Light and Love
Highlights From First John
Light, love, and other matters are discussed in the apostle John’s first inspired letter, likely penned in or near Ephesus about 98 C.E. A major reason for writing it was to safeguard Christians from apostasy and help them to keep on walking in the light. Since we face challenges to our love, faith, and integrity to truth, consideration of this letter will surely benefit us.
‘Walk in the Light’
John made it clear that faithful Christians must walk in spiritual light. (1Jo 1:1–2:29) He said: “God is light and there is no darkness at all [nothing evil, immoral, untrue, or unholy] in union with him.” Because spirit-anointed Christians ‘walk in the light,’ they have “a sharing” with God, Christ, and one another. They have also been cleansed from sin by Jesus’ blood.
Whether we are anointed Christians with a heavenly hope or we are looking forward to eternal life on earth, we will continue to benefit from Jesus’ sacrifice only if we love our brothers but not the world. We must also avoid being influenced by apostates, such as the “antichrist,” who denies both the Father and the Son. And let us never forget that life everlasting will be enjoyed only by those clinging to the truth and practicing righteousness.
Children of God Display Love
John next identified the children of God. (3:1–4:21) For one thing, they do what is righteous. They also obey Jehovah God’s commandment ‘that they have faith in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another.’
An individual having “the knowledge of God” knows about Jehovah’s purposes and how His love is expressed. This should help the person to display love. Actually, “he that does not love has not come to know God, because God is love.” Divine love was shown when God “sent forth his Son as a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins.” If Jehovah loved us to that extent, we are obligated to love one another. Yes, anyone claiming to love God must also be loving his spiritual brother.
Faith ‘Conquers the World’
Love moves God’s children to observe his commandments, but it is through faith that they ‘conquer the world.’ (5:1-21) Our faith in God, his Word, and his Son enables us to ‘conquer the world’ by rejecting its wrong thinking and ways and by keeping Jehovah’s commandments. God has given ‘world conquerors’ the hope of eternal life and hears their prayers that harmonize with his will. Because anyone “born from God” does not practice sin, Satan does not fasten his hold on such a person. But both anointed ones and Jehovah’s servants with earthly hopes should remember that ‘the whole world is lying in the power of that wicked one.’
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A Propitiatory Sacrifice: Jesus “is a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins [those of his anointed followers], yet not for ours only but also for the whole world’s,” the rest of mankind. (1 John 2:2) His death was a “propitiation” (Greek, hi·la·smosʹ, signifying a “means of appeasing,” an “atonement”) but not in the sense of soothing hurt feelings on God’s part. Rather, the sacrifice of Jesus appeased, or satisfied, the demands of perfect divine justice. How? By providing the righteous and just basis for pardoning sin, so that God “might be righteous even when declaring righteous the [inherently sinful] man that has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-26; 5:12) By furnishing the means for making complete satisfaction for man’s sins, Jesus’ sacrifice made it propitious, or favorable, for man to seek and receive restoration to right relations with Jehovah. (Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 2:17) How thankful all of us should be for this!