Today we are going into a new study of 1 John. When I look into a new study like this, I want to first read through the letter. And as I read through, it is interesting that the things relevant to the readers then is very relevant now.  John speaks to us that if we are going to walk with God, we need to know how God has revealed himself.

Imagine that you are walking around in the dark and someone hands you a flashlight, what do you do first?  After turning it on, you then shine it to the path in front of you.  You want to know where you are and where you are going.  John talks about how God is handing us the flashlight.

In John’s writing, he is going to show us two things.  First, God is close.  There is an old saying that if God feels distant, it wasn’t God that moved.  Secondly, God is love.  The ultimate showing of love was that he gave his only son as a sacrifice to bridge the gap between God himself and us.

Scholars estimate that John wrote this book around 80 or 90 AD.  As an eyewitness of Jesus’ life, he is writing this letter some 50 years after Jesus died, rose, and ascended, but John’s message does not differ.  As I have read through 1 John, I began to see a new theme that I had not seen before.  John speaks of eternal life several times.

The interesting thing that John says here is that eternal life isn’t just a part of our relationship, but that Jesus is the definition of eternal life.  Eternal life is defined in Jesus.  Here is the nuanced news of the Gospel.  The exclusivity of the Gospel is that salvation is through Jesus alone.  The moment that someone raises some hoop to jump through apart from Jesus, they in that moment move away from the salvation provided by Jesus alone.

John is confirming what God has said is true.  That when God hands you a flashlight, anywhere you point that flashlight points to Jesus.  If you look at the books of John, he speaks over and over and over of the importance of eternal life.  He wrote more on eternal life more than all the other New Testament writers combined.

Imagine someone walks up and tells you that they have created a trust fund for you with $8 million dollars in it.  How useful would it be to turn to the person next to you and ask, “Is this true?”  They might respond, “I don’t know.  I’ve never seen that happen before, and I would guess that it probably isn’t.”  To know for sure, we have to ask a source who will know.  Jesus spoke over and over in his life that eternal life was found in Him.  And John who was there for Jesus’ whole life is now telling us, “It’s true!”

the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— (ESV)

11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (ESV)

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. (ESV)