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Bible Commentaries
1 John 1

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

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Verses 1-10

1 John 1:1 . That which was from the beginning. We have before observed that the neuter gender is often preferred by the Greeks, and with great propriety, when speaking of the Divinity. L’ETRE Suprême, pere de tout ce qui existe, sera du genre masculin, cependent comme cette idée est relative à celle de feminin, et qu’en Dieu il n’ y a nul raport pareil, quelque peuples feront la Divinite du genre qui n’ annonce ni masculin, ni feminin, afin d’en donner une idée plus sublime. Gram, univ. par Gebelin, p. 74. Paris, 1781.

Thus the Messiah is called the Holy One of Israel, and the Holy One of God. Luke 1:35. Ο αγιος , the Holy that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. The Word of Jehovah, by whom the heavens were made. The wisdom of God, whom the Father possessed in his bosom. Proverbs 8:22. The Son, who has life in himself, who was from the beginning the rock and the hope of all the ancient church. Our hands have handled the eternal life, revealed in the flesh, and our eyes have contemplated with unutterable delight, his glory as the only-begotten of the Father. And this mystery of godliness, the eternal life manifested in the flesh, we publish abroad to illuminate the world, and call sinners back to communion with God.

1 John 1:3 . Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. This communion is built on all the divine illumination declared above, on all the sweet attractions of grace, followed by a full consent of the will, by which the Father and the Son, the whole deity, comes into our heart, and makes his abode with us. Then we participate in all his communicable perfections, in knowledge, in righteousness, and eternal life. The precise idea of this fellowship, is that of the members of the body with the head, or the living branches with the living vine. In this view, as the father of the family, Christ will sup with us, and we shall sup with him. He will be poor in our poverty, and weep in our tears. This is an ever- subsisting communion in a daily walk with God, and in all the exercises of devotion.

1 John 1:5 . God is light; a Being of infinite knowledge, wisdom and purity; and in him is no darkness at all. Neither darkness of error, ignorance, falsehood, or impurity of sin, can be found in him, or be pleasing to him. The reason why this is introduced here with so much ceremony, is to give it the greater force against the gnostics, who allowed and practised all manner of impurities, living in a sink of uncleanness; yet nevertheless called themselves perfect and knowing men, beyond all others, and said they had not sinned. See the notes on John 1:9; John 7:12; John 9:5; John 12:35.

1 John 1:7 . The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. That is, if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have a conscious ness of the full remission of all our sins; and this remission, connected with the cleansing from all unrighteousness, is founded on the merits of the Son of God, as the Redeemer of the world. The glory of his person confers availing efficacy on his passion. It cleansed David’s house, it washed Jerusalem’s scarlet stains, and purged the foul offenders of Corinth, and all the gentile multitudes, who are now before the throne. 1 Corinthians 6:11. Revelation 1:5; Revelation 7:14.


Oh what glory is here unfolded in the person of Christ. The eternal, the everliving Lord the Lord of life and glory. The Lord revealed in the flesh, with every mark and assurance that he is the true God, and eternal life.

And this glory is not terrific and repulsive, as on Sinai. It is the Son of God, full of grace and truth, inviting us to communion and fellowship with himself, in all the promised grace of the new covenant. It is a fellowship of certainty; those who saw his glory when risen from the tomb, and felt his hands and his side, testify to us the words of truth. How gracious then are the aspects of Christ towards sinners, inviting all the contrite who confess their faults, and forsake their sins, to participate in the highest felicity of man, communion with the Father, and with the Son in all the grace and glory of the human redemption.

But let no man deceive himself here because he has been baptized, and professes the faith of Christ; for if he walk in darkness, live in the sins of the carnal world, and still indulging hopes of salvation, he is a liar, and the truth of Christ is not in him. Our God is a consuming fire: his cloud has a bright side to the believing Hebrews, and a dark side to the infidel Egyptians. On the contrary, God will not only pardon the contrite, but will cleanse them from all unrighteousness, and adorn them with all the glory of sanctifying grace.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 John 1". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/1-john-1.html. 1835.
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