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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
1 John 1

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-3

1 John 1:1. That which was from, the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the Word of life;

The fact that Christ was really in the flesh, that he was no phantom, no shadow mocking the eyes that looked upon him, is exceedingly important, and hence John (whose style, by the way, in this Epistle is precisely like the style which he uses in his Gospel) — John begins by declaring that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who in his eternity was from the beginning, was really a substantial man, for he says, “We have heard him” — hearing is good evidence; “Which we have seen with our eyes” — eyesight is good, clear evidence certainly; “Which we have locked upon” — this is better still, for this imports a deliberate, careful, circumspect gaze; but better still, “Which our hands have handled” — for John had leaned his head on Jesus Christ’s bosom, and his hands had often met the real flesh and blood of the living Saviour. We need have no doubt about the reality of Christ’s incarnation when we have these open eyes and hands to give us evidence.

1 John 1:2. For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you, that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;

That same eternal Being who is Very God of Very God, and is worthy to be called essentially Life, was made flesh and, dwelt among us, and the apostles could say, “We beheld his glory.”

1 John 1:3. That which we have sees and heard declare we unto you,

See how he does hammer this nail as if he will drive it fast! How he rings this bell that it may toll the death-knell of every doubt!

1 John 1:3. That ye also may have fellowship with us:

But John, what is the value of fellowship with you, you and your brethren, a parcel of poor fishermen; who warts fellows with you — hooted, despised, mocked, and persecuted in every city — who wants fellowship with you?

1 John 1:3. And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

What a leap from the fisherman to the Father’s throne, from the poor, despised son of Zebedee up to the King of Kings! Oh! John, we would have fellowship with thee now T We will have fellowship with thy scorn and spitting, that we may have fellowship with thee, and with the Father, and his Son, Jesus Christ.

This exposition consisted of readings from Genesis 24:1-16; 1 Samuel 30:1-13; 1 John 1:1-3.


Verses 1-10

1 John 1:1. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

The fact that Christ was really in the flesh, that he was no phantom, no shadow mocking the eyes that looked upon him, is exceedingly important, and hence John-(whose style, by the way, in this epistle is precisely like the style which he uses in his Gospel)-John begins by declaring that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who in his eternity was from the beginning, was really a substantial man, for he says-“ We have heard him “-hearing is good evidence, “ Which we have seen him with our own eyes; “ eye-sight is good, clear evidence, certainly, “ Which we have looked upon “- this is better still, for this imports a deliberate, careful, circumspect gaze; but better still- “which our hands have handled,” for John had leaned his head on Jesus Christ’s bosom, and his hands had often met the real flesh and blood of the living Saviour. We need have no doubt about the reality of Christ’s incarnation when we have these open eyes and hands to give us evidence.

1 John 1:2. (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

That same eternal Being who is Very God of Very God, and is worthy to be called essentially Life, was made flesh and dwelt among us, and the Apostles could say-“ We beheld his glory.”

1 John 1:3. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you-

See how he does hammer this nail as if he will drive it fast! How he rings this bell that it may toll the death-knell of every doubt!

1 John 1:3. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us:

But John, what is the value of fellowship with you, you and your brethren, a parcel of poor fishermen, who wants fellowship with you-hooted, despised, mocked and persecuted in every city-who wants fellowship with you?

1 John 1:3. And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with trio Son Jesus Christ.

What a leap from the fisherman to the Father’s throne, from the poor, despised son of Zebedee up to the King of Kings! Oh, John, we would have fellowship with thee now! We will have fellowship with thy scorn and spitting, that we may have fellowship with thee, and with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ.

1 John 1:4. And these things write I unto you that your joy may be full.

Some Christians have joy, but there are only a few drops in the bottom of their cup; but the Scriptures were written, and more especially the doctrine of an Incarnate God is revealed to us, that our joy may be full. Why, if you have nothing else to make you glad the feet that Jesus has become brother to you, arrayed in your flesh, should make your joy full.

1 John 1:5. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Not a light, nor the light, though he is both, but that he is light. Scripture uses the term light for knowledge, for purity, for prosperity, for happiness, and for truth. God is light, and then in his usual style, John, who not only tells you a truth but always guards it, adds-“ in whom is no darkness at all.”

1 John 1:6. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.

Mark here, this does not mean walking in the darkness of sorrow, for there are many of God’s people that walk in the darkness of doubts and fears, and yet they have fellowship with God; nay, they sometimes have fellowship with Christ all the better for the darkness of the path along which they walk, but the darkness here meant is the darkness of sin, the darkness of untruthfulness. If I walk in a lie, or walk in sin, and then profess to have fellowship with God, I have lied, and do not the truth.

1 John 1:7. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,-

Not to the same degree, but in the same manner-

7.We have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

So you see that when we walk the best, when we walk in the light, as he is in the light, when our fellowship is of the highest order, yet still we want daily cleansing. It does not say-mark this O my soul-it does not say “ The blood of Jesus Christ cleansed “ but “ cleanseth.” If guilt return, his power may be proved again and again, there is no fear that all my daily slips and shortcomings shall be graciously removed by this precious blood. But there are some who think they are perfectly sanctified and have no sin.

1 John 1:8-9. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Oh, those words, and more especially that glorious word “ all! “ This must include the vilest sin that ever stained human nature, the blackest grime that ever came from the black heart of man. And now John is very careful when he strikes a blow to hit completely. He has already smitten those who say they have no sin, and now he smites those who say they did not at one time have any.

1 John 1:10. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 130:1-8; 1 John 1:1-10; 1 John 2:1-2.


Verses 4-7

1 John 1:4. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

Some Christians have joy, but there are only a few drops in the bottom of their cup; but the Scriptures were written, and more especially the doctrine of an Incarnate God is revealed to us that our joy may be full. Why, if you have nothing else to make you glad, the fact that Jesus has become brother to you, arrayed in your flesh, should make your joy full.

1 John 1:5. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Not a light, nor the light, though he is both, but that he is light. Scripture uses the term light for knowledge, for purity, for prosperity, for happiness, and for truth. God is light, and then in his usual style John, who not only bells you a truth, but always guards it, adds, “in whom is no darkness at all.”

1 John 1:6. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.

Mark here, this does not mean walking in the darkness of sorrow, for there are many of God’s people that walk in the darkness of doubts and fears, and yet they have fellowship with God; nay, they sometimes have fellowship with Christ all the better for the darkness of the path along which they walk; but the darkness here meant is the darkness of sin, the darkness of untruthfulness. If I walk in a lie, or walk in sin, and then profess to have fellowship with God, I have lied, and do not the truth.

1 John 1:7. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light,

Not to the same degree, but in the same manner.

1 John 1:7. We have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

So you see that when we walk the best, when we walk in the light as he is in the light, when our fellowship is of the highest order, yet still we want daily cleansing. It does not say — mark this, O my soul — it does not. If say, The blood of Jesus Christ “cleansed,” but “cleanseth.” guilt return, his power may be proved again and again; there is no fear that all my daily slips and shortcomings shall be graciously removed by this precious blood. But there are some who think they are perfectly sanctified and have no sin.

This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 130; 1 John 1:4-7.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on 1 John 1:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/1-john-1.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, September 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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