1 John: A 15-Day Devotional

Devotional

Often too much energy is given to speculation about a future “antichrist” rather than dealing with current antichrists afflicting the church and turning people away to their damnation. We need, like John here, to be more concerned with protecting the flock than with predicting the future. 


First John 2:19 is an important text when dealing with those who have professed faith but later turn away and deny it. Christians debate exactly how to understand this theologically, but John seems to make clear that such people, although they appeared to us to have been converted, never were truly believers (“if they had been of us, they would have continued with us”). This is a key verse for understanding the importance of church membership, by which we help one another persevere; abandoning the church demonstrates a lack of true spiritual life. 


Once again, John is a model for pastors. While exposing error, he is careful to encourage those who have held on. It is too easy for our zeal for truth to crush tender souls without our intending to do so. “Dominical and apostolic authority are effective when administered with a shepherd’s care rather than a tyrant’s force,” as Yarbrough points out.* Verses 22–23 hold important and grave implications for interaction with other world religions. No one truly knows or worships Yahweh if he denies the Son. That is, if one does not accept Jesus as Messiah and divine Son, such a person does not worship Yahweh. Thus Jews and Muslims do not worship the same God as Christians. Of course Jews use the same name for God as believers do, but they use the proper name for a wrong conception of him.


Notes:


*Yarbrough, 1–3 John, 152