The book of 1 John was written to Christians living in Ephesus in the first century. These Christians faced significant pushback and persecution due to their beliefs and practices. This letter from the Apostle John, as well as other letters from early church leaders, was meant to prepare the church to endure and withstand two-hundred years of persecution from the Roman Empire.
If this book had a subtitle, it would be, “Holy living in light of false and divisive teaching.”
John wrote this letter with the intent of exposing false teachers and calling them out for their lack of genuine faith in Jesus. He contrasts true believers with false believers: how true faith in Jesus is lived out versus the signs of artificial faith. John intended for this book to encourage true believers of the surety of their salvation and admonish those true believers to guard against false teachings.
These admonitions and warnings continue to be needed in the church today. There is nothing new under the sun in terms of false teaching and Christians needing encouragement to persevere in a spiritually dark place.
Key reflections to consider from this book:
1. How do you know you are in Christ? Is your faith genuine? Do you delight in keeping his commandments?
2. Do you love God, or do you love the ways of the world? Which way are you naturally drawn?
3. How does God define “love”? How is this different from how you would naturally explain “love”?
4. How committed are you to following your Savior? Are you willing to forsake idols and the sins of your flesh?
Press on, Christian. In this dark culture, we must uphold God’s Word. The gospel, which God has entrusted to us, must remain pure and undefiled. Seek to guard your own heart and love others as Christ has loved us.
Brittany Proffitt lives in southern Ohio and holds a BA in Religion. She is passionate about Scripture and how God’s Word impacts individuals’ hearts and lives.