1 John: A 15-Day Devotional


We should not be surprised by the hatred of the world but rather should be surprised by any lack of love within the church. Sadly, too often today this is reversed. Church members expect conflict within the church but are taken aback by opposition from the world. We desperately need John’s challenge in order to reclaim the deep loving community that can be built on the gospel and then face confidently the opposition of the world. 

The love John calls for is quite demanding. John challenges us to be willing to make the supreme sacrifice (3:16) and then keeps us from thinking merely of grand sacrifices by pointing to daily needs (3:17). Care and awareness of such needs will not arise simply from weekly attendance at the same meeting as others in need. The church envisioned here is not merely a place to go but a family to which to belong. 

John’s clear words concerning the necessity of obedience combined with his careful handling of troubled consciences (3:19–24) is rich in pastoral lessons. Too often believers choose either a firm stand for truth or a gentleness with troubled souls, as if the two were mutually exclusive. John shows us another way: the gospel makes clear, nonnegotiable claims upon us and then reminds us of the hope and power found in Christ.