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Wednesday, June 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
1 John 1

Godbey's Commentary on the New TestamentGodbey's NT Commentary

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Verses 1-5



1. Here John’s personal testimony to the literal, actual and unmistakable incarnation of Christ.

2. Life is original with none but God. Hence the presence of God is the inalienable condition of life. Where there is no probation involved, in case of all vegetables and animals, the abiding presence of God, bestowing and perpetuating life, is the normal and invariable condition. In case of intelligent probationers, the divine presence is determined by the volition. So long as Adam’s will was true to God, He abode with him, sustaining and perpetuating his spiritual life. When Adam deflected from God under Satan’s influence He departed from him, spiritual life simultaneously evanescing, leaving him a dead soul, still retaining animal life. The incarnation of Christ was absolutely necessary to the clear, ostensible and unmistakable manifestation of the life principle to the world.

3. This is the solution of Christian fellowship, i. e., the innate congeniality and universal brotherhood of all beings, human and angelic, possessing spiritual life; the same spiritual fellowship reaching up and appropriating the divine Fatherhood and brotherhood.

4. “Truly we write these things in order that our joy may be complete.” The man who does not freely, fully and heroically proclaim by speech or pen the whole truth as it is in Jesus, cuts down his own reward and plucks the stars from his own crown. I know millions will regret in heaven that they were not as bold, clear, and outspoken in the proclamation of God’s truth as they might have been. Good Lord, help us all to be candid as martyrs and true as angels.

Verses 5-10



5. “That God is light, and there is no darkness in Him.” From this beautiful scripture we see that light, like life, is original only in God, and imparted pursuant to His sovereign will. The light of the material world, illuminating irresponsible beings, both animate and inanimate, is a fixture of the divine administration. Meanwhile, with all responsible probationary intelligences, as in case of life, it is dependent on the divine presence, and determined by the free and untrammeled volition of the recipient.

6. Pursuant to these great cardinal facts of life and light, John here gives us a grand and convincing antithetical argument; 1 John 1:6; 1 John 1:8; 1 John 1:10 revealing the sin side of the antithesis, while 1 John 1:7 and 1 John 1:9 set forth the grace side, the two standing out in vivid contrast, sin and darkness, light and salvation being inseparable concomitants.

7. Of course all who are in the light are the children of God, having been truly regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and saved not only from condemnation, but from the commission of sin. Now if such will walk in all the light God gives them, revealing their inbred sin, pursuant to their humble, doubtless faith, the blood cleanseth them from all original sin, surviving justification. This is a glorious latitudinous truth, extending to every human being in heathendom as well as Christendom, promising not only pardon but purity to every human being walking in all the light God gives.

8. “If we may say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” This verse, with the sixth and tenth, has been appropriated by many foolish people as an apology for sin, to their own destruction; whereas it simply reveals the sin side of the antithesis, to the magnification of the grace side. You see this verse forever sweeps Zinzendorfianism from the field, anathematizing the man who says he has no remaining sin to be

removed by the cleansing blood after conversion, as a “liar,” deceiving himself and destitute of truth.

9. Here we have the whole plan of salvation focalized in a nutshell, the Holy Ghost promising us pardon and purity on the isolated condition of a full confession of our sins, actual and original. Such a confession involves repentance, faith, prevailing prayer and obedience.

10. This verse drops back on the sin side of the antithesis, convicting every human being who has reached responsibility unregenerated, and anathematizing all gainsayers as “liars,” destitute of God’s Word.

Bibliographical Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on 1 John 1". "Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ges/1-john-1.html.
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