Hey y'all! Hope you're planning a Happy 4th...it's raining down here :) But rainy days are a great chance to read. Now, I've read 1 John lots of times, 'cause I enjoy the book. The writer soothes us with the knowledge and the eye witness account that God loves us (for real!), and He wants us to have joyful fellowship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. We are encouraged to keep the channels of communication open between us and the Lord by confessing our sins, which He will freely forgive, and then give us that added bonus of grace--cleansing from all unrighteousness. (Chapter 1) And if that doesn't leave you shouting, he goes on to tell us in Chapter 2 that we don't have to do it the world's way, especially since the world is passing away anyhow. When we live in Christ, we know the truth, we're taught the truth, for He is The Truth. We need but to abide in Him. Then Chapter 3 drives home how much we're loved by the Father that He would send such love into the world in the Person of His Son to show us how to love others. And then it gets even better than that. Chapter 4:16 says, "And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him." And verse 17b goes on to say, "...as He is, so are we in this world." WOW! When we believe in Jesus, we live in God and God lives in us, and we are as He is in this world! The key, however, is when we 'believe'. Because Chapter 5:4 declares, "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
So having read these chapters again on this quiet, somber, rainy day, something dawned on me that has puzzled me for some time. After all this Good News, why does the writer end the Book of 1 John with a verse that seemingly pops up out of nowhere: "Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen." (5:21) What? Why on earth are you saying this now. How does this tie into all the previous promises and sweet caresses of truth? It's like drinking a dose of vinegar after a slice of sweet potato pie. What? Well, today I got why John saved this warning until the end--for impact. Because he knew it is so-o important that we do not put anything or anybody between us and the Lord--no idols--not our children, or our spouses, not even our most cherished desire. Idols fail. And when they fail, it will short circuit our 'belief' that God loves us completely. (...'cause how could He let this happen?) And if our faith slips, we will cease to abide in His love, and when that happens our love will cease to be "...made perfect that we may have boldness...." (4:17a) For the very next verse (4:18) tells us, this lack of uninterrupted faith in God's love will cause us to have fear and bring on torment. (Makes you think of Adam & Eve, huh?) God wants His love relationship with us, through our Lord Jesus Christ, to be perfectly sealed and airtight. Idols...weaken the bond. Idols...get in the way. Get it? I finally did. Be Blessed!! :jb