The Quality of Love
A Book of Contrasts
One of the distinct features of John's willing style was his habit of noting both sides of a conflict. He wrote to show the difference between real Christianity and anything else. Here are some of his favorites contrasts.
Light and darkness
The new commandment and the old commandment
Loving the Father and loving the world
Christ and Antichrist
Truth and lies
Children of God and children of the devil
Eternal life and eternal death
Love and hatred
True prophecy and false prophecy
Love and fear
Having life and hot having life
1. God is light (1:1-2:29)
2. God is love (3:1-4:21)
3. God is life (5:1-21)
John wrote about the most vital aspects of faith so that his readers would know Christian truth from error. He emphasizes the basic of faith so that we can be confident in our faith. In our dark world, God is light. In our cold world, God brings the warmth of love. In our dying world, God brings life. When we lack confidence, these truths bring us certainty.
John counters false teachings
John counters two major threads in the false teaching of the heretics in this letter.
1:6, 8, 10
They denied the reality of sin. John says that if we continue in sin, we can't claim to belong to God. If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to live according to the truth.
They denied that Jesus was the Messiah - God in the flesh. John said that if we believe that Jesus was God incarnate and trust him for our salvation, we are children of God.