1 John 1
There is nothing quite as sweet as confidence. Will you take a long trip if you don’t have confidence in your car? Will you leave your children at school if you don’t have confidence in the teachers? Will you eat a meal if you don’t trust the cook?
When it comes to Christ and Christianity, we certainly want to have confidence in the promises of God—eternity is at stake. John’s Gospel is written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ (John 20:31). John’s first epistle is written that Christians may have confidence in their Christ and the salvation He offers (1 John 5:13).
CONFIDENCE IN THE HOLINESS OF CHRIST–1 John 1:1-4.
Some false teachers had arisen in certain areas, and John sought to correct their teaching. The false doctrine concerned the very character of Christ. John reiterates what he had already written in the Gospel (John 1:1-14) that Jesus is eternal (1 Jn. 1:1a), that Jesus had a physical body (1 Jn. 1:1b), and that Jesus was God incarnate (1 Jn. 1:2). The urgency of the doctrine is seen in the implications of the doctrine. Since Jesus is eternal, equal with God the Father but not the Father, and he was willing to take on human form to die on the cross, then Christians may have full joy through him.
Let us respect the character of Christ. You have probably heard of the professor who made his students to write the name of Jesus on a paper only to have them throw it on the floor and step on it. That is no way to treat the name of our Savior. Many today teach error concerning the character of Jesus. Some teach that the Father, Son, and Spirit are all one, but we see all three in Matthew 3:13-17 and Matthew 28:19-20. Some teach that Jesus is the arch angel Michael, but he is not a created angel as is demonstrated by Hebrews 1 and 2. Some teach that Jesus is a glorified man, but the Bible teaches that he is eternally divine but took on humanity in order to save those who believe in Philippians 2:5-11.
CONFIDENCE IN THE HOLINESS OF CHRISTIANS–1 John 1:5-10.
John begins with the perfection of God (1 Jn. 1:5). How could anyone live up to the perfection of God? How could anyone stand in his presence? Psalm 130:3 asks, “If You, LORD should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You. That You may be feared.” Although God is perfect in every way, He allows sinful people to walk with Him through His grace.
In order to walk with God by grace, we must live as though we are dead to the world and alive toward God–1 John 1:6 (cf. Romans 6:1-5; Galatians 5:16-26). We must walk in the light with Christ in order to have fellowship with the church and be cleansed from sin when we stumble–1 John 5:7. We must acknowledge that we have sin in our lives–1 John 1:8. We must confess those sins in order to be cleansed from them, this is sometimes called “the second law of pardon”–1 John 1:9.
Like Peter walking on the water, our confidence is not in our performance but on the powerful word of Jesus which bids us to come and follow Him. Obedience is necessary to salvation (Hebrews 5:9; Acts 5:32; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; Matthew 25:31-46), but our confidence is in Christ rather than our imperfect attempts at obedience and righteousness (Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:3-5; 2 Timothy 2:9).
LIFE APPLICATION QUESTIONS
Can I place my trust in Christ based upon his character?
Can I have confidence that Christ is both willing and able to forgive my sins?
Do I trust God’s will to the degree that I am willing to follow His revealed pattern?