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1 John chapter 1

What does 1 John chapter 1 mean?

Chapter 1 consists of three parts. First, verses 1–4 offer an introduction describing the author's eyewitness experiences with Jesus. Jesus already existed in the beginning, emphasizing His eternality (1 John 1:1). The apostle John heard, saw, and touched Jesus (1 John 1:1). John testifies about Jesus and the eternal life He brings (1 John 1:2). This message had already been accepted by this letter's recipients (1 John 1:3). From the start, John emphasizes fellowship with both the Father and the Son. Both are "from the beginning" and are inseparable. John wrote this letter to make their mutual joy complete, or full (1 John 1:4).

Verses 5–10 focus on the theme of walking in the light. Those who claim to have fellowship with God must live as if that claim is true (1 John 1:5–6). Those who do are continually cleansed from sin (1 John 1:7). However, those who claim to have no sin are deceived and do not have the truth in them (1 John 1:8).

The theme of light and darkness is strongly communicated in this opening chapter. This connects both to the creation account in Genesis chapters 1 and 2 as well as to the Gospel of John chapter 1. Those who know Christ "walk in the light." Those who do not, "walk in darkness." God "is light, and in him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). The believer's goal is to "walk" in the light, as God is in the light, in order to have fellowship with Him (1 John 1:6).

Verse 8 notes that those who claim to have no sin at all are lacking in truth. Instead, such people are fooling themselves. In later chapters, John will address deception from false teachers. In this chapter, he focuses on walking with God to avoid being deceived.

According to John, confession to God brings forgiveness. And, it brings the work of God to remove that stain from our lives (1 John 1:9). God offers forgiveness to those who seek it. However, those who claim to be without sin directly contradict God, and do not know Him (1 John 1:10).

What is the Gospel?
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