John was assuredly the last Bible writer. He lived longer than any of the original Apostles and wrote nearly into the second century A.D.
And he stuck to his story, with clarity in his writing, to the end. For those who misunderstand Paul, this will be a relief – all the writers of the New Testament and the Hebrew Scriptures maintained one cohesive narrative.
Paul can be complicated, “in which are some things hard to be understood,” as Peter remarked in 2 Peter 3:16. Paul is difficult, but if you think he’s saying something different from Jesus, James or John, he’s not. They are all saying the same thing in different words.
To understand it, we must always remember that each of them is faithful to one story. If you think Scripture writers disagree, think again, or reconsider the translation you’re reading.
But I digress. I’m taking about John here. And what is that last storyteller’s message summed up?
1 John 2:1: My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
2:2: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
2:3: And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
2:4: He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
It’s simple enough – perfectly simple!
There’s much more in the Bible – but that’s the conclusion. It was a reminder that was needed. There were some who were making it too confusing already. People were not accepting the truth. They didn’t know the truth. Anti-Semitism was already at work – with some claiming that there was not one way to the Kingdom, or that the Kingdom, as it says in the Lord’s Prayer, was not the destination. People needed a reminder.
The secret is obeying the commandments. And relying on repentance whenever you fall short. That’s how you obey perfectly.
Today it’s not unusual to hear teachers tell you lies – that no one can obey all commandments, that there’s no need to obey them all, that they have changed over time. Not so, says Jesus the Messiah. Not so, says John the Apostle. Not so, says God the Father.
This is not the first time John wrote this message. It was a reminder to us from the Gospels. It was a reminder to us from Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. It was a reminder to us through all of the sacred writings – from the old to the new.
Why is there so much confusion, so much bad teaching, so much heresy?
Because not all are in the light. Some are in the dark. More from John:
1 John 2:7: Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.
2:8: Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.
2:9: He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
2:10: He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
We’ve all heard the commandments from the beginning, haven’t we? Or haven’t we been paying attention?
It’s the law. It’s God’s instructions – for our own good. It’s the Torah. Don’t look to the left or right. Maintain righteousness. It’s really rather simple. It’s the difference between life and death. It always has been.
God doesn’t change. He occasionally does a new thing, but he doesn’t change. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever.
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