1 John is one of the two most intimate books of the Bible. The Song of Solomon being the other intimate book of love and affection. The Song of Solomon deals with the relationship between two who are deeply and intimately in love, portraying the affections that should exist between the believer (the feminine part) and Bible doctrine (the masculine part), and 1 John, deals with a parent who cares deeply for his children.
That parent is God the Father of course, and the child is the believer in Christ.
Our pathway to the Father is across the threshold of His home, which is the Cross, and Jesus Christ is our advocate before the Father, having paid the penalty for all sin, and now that sin is vanquished in history, there is the question of how to deal with the sins of the believer as he lives his life in time.
The Cross solved the problem of sin. Jesus Christ went to the Cross and paid the price in our behalf, to satisfy the Father for the punishment of sin. However, when we are saved, we are not immediately made perfect and sin free. Our life continues and we sin from time to time. Some folks more often than others.
So what to do about the bad behavior of people when they commit sins?
That answer lies in the policy of forgiveness, which God has provided for us, just as He provided salvation for us.
This book of 1 John, was written for the purpose of dealing with sin in the spiritual life. That is to say, how do we deal with our sins once we are saved? John portrays the believer as the child, and that sin is an infraction against the Father. It is a family matter and dealt with within the family.
Unbelievers are not family. They have not believed in Christ and therefore do not enter into this discussion. God deals with unbelievers in a different way, until they either believe in Christ and therefore enter into the family of God, or until they die as unbelievers and thus are condemned forever to be separated from God and life.
John leads us across Gods threshold and makes us at home in Gods presence, or at least he teaches us how we can accomplish this objective.
The outline of 1 John is as follows.
A. The Person. 1:1,2.
B. The purpose. 1:3,4.
I. Fellowship’s conditions. 1:5-10.
A. Conformity to a standard. 1:5-7.
B. Confession of sin. 1:8-10.
1. Confession of the principle of sin. 1:8.
2. Confession of particular sins. 1:9.
3. Confession of personal sins. 1:10.
II. Fellowship’s conduct. 2:1-29.
A. The character of our conduct: imitation. 2:1-11.
1. The principle of imitation. 2:1,2.
2. The pattern for imitation. 2:3-6.
3. The proof of our imitation. 2:7-11.
B. The commandment for our conduct: separation. 2:12-17.
1. The address of the commandment. 2:12-14.
2. The appeal of the commandment. 2:15-17.
C. The creed for our conduct: affirmation. 2:18-29.
1. The necessity for a creed. 2:18-21.
2. The nature of the creed. 2:22-29.
III. Fellowship’s characteristics. 3:1-24.
A. In relation to our prospect-purity. 3:1-3.
1. The reasons for purity. 3:1-3 a..
2. The meaning of purity. 3:3 b.
B. In relation to our position-righteousness and love. 3:4-18.
1. Righteousness. 3:4-9.
2. Love. 3:10-18.
C. In relation to our prayer-answers. 3:19-24.
1. Dependent on confidence. 3:19-21.
2. Dependent on obedience. 3:22-24.
IV. Fellowship’s cautions. 4:1-21.
A. A caution concerning lying spirits: false prophets. 4:1-6.
1. The existence of lying spirits. 4:1.
2. The examination of lying spirits. 4:2-6.
B. A caution concerning a loving spirit: false profession. 4:7-21.
1. The ground of love. 4:7-10.
2. The glories of love. 4:11-21.
V. Fellowship’s cause. 5:1-21.
A. Faith in Christ proved by the conduct we exhibit. 5:1-5.
B. Faith in Christ proved by the credential we exhibit. 5:6-12.
1. The evidence of the credentials. 5:6-8.
2. The effect of the credentials. 5:9-12.
C. Faith in Christ proved by the confidence we exhibit. 5:13-21.
1. Confidence in prayer. 5:13-17.
2. Confidence in knowledge. 5:18-21.