I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and you know that no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; everyone who confesses the Son has the Father also.
John is aware of the struggle to remember the truth in the midst of so many other voices that want to add, change, or take away from it. The truth his readers need to hear and remember is that Jesus is the Christ, God made flesh, the only one who can and does save.
When we hold fast to this truth, we can develop lenses to see the world as God does – worthy of God’s sacrificial love.
Where do you look for truth?
How does your conviction about who Jesus is express itself in your relationship with God? With others?
How does your understanding of God’s love for the world impact the way you walk in the world?
Gracious God, thank you for the reminder of the deep mystery of you becoming flesh in order to reconcile us to you. Purify our understanding of and commitment to the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the One who saves, so that we might live as beloved children in a world that is hurting. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.
Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he has promised us, eternal life.
John repeats the invitation to return to what they first heard. He uses the word, abide, a reminder of Jesus’ invitation to his followers to abide. His promise of eternal life isn’t just a future promise, but the present experience of our relationship with God as we abide in Him.
How are you cultivating this invitation to abide?
Are there things about your faith that you have forgotten that you are, perhaps, being invited to remember?
How are you experiencing eternal life right now?
Gracious God, thank you for your invitation to abide in communion with the Trinity. Help us to return to a place where you first drew us to you, where we can rest in the reality of your love for us, and live out of that place of abiding in you, bearing fruit that reflects you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I write these things to you concerning those who would deceive you. As for you, the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, abide in him.
John reminds the readers, the church, that they have received the anointing, or as we call it, the Holy Spirit, who continues to teach us and empower us to abide in God. As an oracle way back wrote, Bidden or not bidden, God is present. Our invitation as the church and as individuals is to cultivate space in our lives to lean in to the Spirit and humbly receive his nurture and teaching.
What practices do you have that cultivate an awareness of the Spirit?
What are you learning from the Spirit right now?
What would you like to ask of or say to the Spirit?
Gracious Trinity, thank you that we participate in your ongoing life on this earth as your image bearers and carriers of your Spirit. Draw us into you and teach us your way that we might discern truth and walk in a way that honors you and blesses others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he is revealed we may have confidence and not be put to shame before him at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who does right has been born of him.
John uses the word, abide, throughout the last few verses of this. For him, this is central to the experience of the follower of Christ.
When we abide in God, we draw all we need to walk in confidence of his grace and to discern and affirm his righteousness in every nook and cranny of the world.
How easy is it for you to walk in confidence and free of shame? What voices poke holes in your sense of confidence?
Where do you see God at work through others, making things right?
How are you participating in God’s mission of righteousness in the world?
Gracious God, your first invitation is to abide, before we work for you or go out and do anything for you. Help us to set up space in our lives where we can be with you, free of distractions and experience your unconditional love as your beloved children. May all we do flow out of our confidence in your unfailing love for us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
John reminds us that God calls us his beloved children, even if the resemblance isn’t seen by the world. There is a transformation that takes place in our lives as we live in the confidence that 1) nothing can shake our identity as God’s children; and 2) when we see Him face to face, we will be full transformed into his likeness. This confidence and hope inspires us to continue to seek to be formed to the image of Christ now.
How does it feel for you to be the beloved child of a perfect Father?
How does your identity as a beloved child of God instill confidence and hope in your life?
Where do you need to see God more clearly?
Gracious God, perfect Father, we belong to you as your beloved children. Thank you for the characteristics that are already growing in us as you work in us continues. Help us to trust in your perfect revelation that will transform us into a perfect reflection of you. Give us patience with ourselves as we seek to be formed into the image of Christ throughout our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.