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Bible Commentaries
1 John 1

Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentMahan's Commentary

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Verses 1-10

Eternal life manifested unto us

1 John 1:1-10

The author of this epistle was John son of Zebedee, the youngest of the apostles, who survived them all. It is called a ‘general epistle’ because it is not addressed to any particular church or person. It is written to Christians in general! It is written chiefly to promote brotherly love, to oppose worldly living on the part of believers, to deal with the doctrine of the Trinity, to deal with the deity and humanity of Christ, to encourage assurance and to set forth the gospel of God’s grace in Christ.

v.1. ‘That which was from the beginning’ refers to the deity and eternity of Christ. He existed from the beginning (John 1:1-2). Jesus Christ is God (John 10:30-33; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Acts 20:28; Hebrews 1:8). God appeared in the fulness of time in human flesh. We saw him, heard him, looked upon him and touched him. He is called ‘the Word of Life’ because he has life in himself; he is the author of life. He came to restore spiritual life lost in Adam (John 1:4).

v.2. ‘We announce to you and bear witness that we are eye-witnesses and ear-witnesses to the fact that the beloved Son of God, who was with the Father in all eternity, who is life itself, the fountain of eternal life, the cause, author and giver of life, was manifested in human flesh! He has come that we might have life ( Joh 10:10-11 ; 1 John 5:11-13; Galatians 4:4-5).

1 John 1:3-4. He repeats the words ‘seen and heard’ the third time, that there be no doubt of the certainty of his doctrine. ‘We declare this glorious truth to you for two reasons: that you might participate in this glorious body of Christ, united to God in acceptance, communion and fellowship, and that you might enjoy the complete and perfect happiness of eternal life in Christ.’

Being in union with Christ, we become partakers of him and of his blessings. We are brought into an intimacy and fellowship with him and with the Father as sons of God. His banner over us is love. He lives in us and we in him. This is true joy (Romans 4:7-8; Psalms 103:1-5; 1 Peter 1:8-9).

v.5. ‘This is the message, the promise, the gospel which we have heard from Christ the message that we declare unto you that God is light.’ He is light as opposed to the darkness of sin. He is pure and holy. He is righteousness and truth. He is just and exact in his judgments. In him there is ‘no darkness at all,’ no alloy, no compromise. He requires absolute perfection and can accept no less than pure holiness. Christ is our righteousness and sanctification. It is in him that we are accepted, and in him we have fellowship with God.

v.6. If any says he knows and has fellowship with God but walks in the darkness of sin, unbelief and ignorance, he lies, and does not act truthfully (John 14:6; John 12:35-36). This is also true of the man who professes to believe in Christ. We walk not only in the light of Christ as Justifier, but in the light of Christ as Lord and Master of our lives.

v.7. If we are enlightened by the Spirit with a true sight and sense of sin to know our Lord Jesus and the way of salvation through his obedience and sacrifice, and we are growing in grace and knowledge of him, then we have fellowship with God and the blood of Christ gives us complete justification, pardon and deliverance from all sin. This cleansing is perpetual and for ever!

v.8. No one is free from sin either from a sinful nature or from the sin that proceeds from the nature of evil (Romans 3:9-12; Romans 3:23). To make such a claim is to be deceived and to be filled with lies.

v.9. If we own our sins against God, confess them in sincerity and indeed seek forgiveness through the merits of Christ, God ‘is faithful’ to his promise (Romans 4:20-25) ‘and just’ (Romans 3:25-26) ‘to cleanse us from all unrighteousness!’ (Colossians 1:19-22).

v.10. He goes still further and declares that those who profess purity and freedom from sin blaspheme God, for he everywhere represents the whole race of man as guilty (Romans 3:19).

Bibliographical Information
Mahan, Henry. "Commentary on 1 John 1". Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hms/1-john-1.html. 2013.
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