Friday, August 21, 2009

Meditations on the Word: 1 John 1: 1-4

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life-- the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us-- that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. (1 John 1:1-4)

Two things I see here. One is the strength of John's witness and the other is the full joy of what we proclaim.

John spares no effort in affirming the truth of who he declares: he touched Him, saw Him, heard Him. John is saying: I saw what happened, I swear it is true and I am telling you for a purpose. He was Christ from the beginning as John proclaimed in his gospel account (John 1: 1-2) and He is still Christ now, the King of Kings proclaimed by those who saw Him. He was manifested to John and in a similar way through the regeneration of the Spirit and the proclaiming of the Word, He was made manifest to us.

How different this message is from what often passes for evangelism! We proclaim the truth to you so that you may have fellowship with us and may enjoy our fellowship that we share with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ! How marvelous are those words! We are not merely saved from hell, although that is true. We are not just expecting heaven, although that is also true. We proclaim the Good News that brings forgiveness of sins and also (as if we need more!) fellowship with other believers along with the Creator of the universe! The Gospel makes us different than we were and in doing so joins us inextricably to one another in fellowship, a fellowship based not in church membership or observance of religious rituals, but instead on our common redemption and proclamation and celebrated in our earthly fellowship. We are not joined in fellowship to a Baptist church or a Presbyterian church or a Lutheran church, we are joined together in fellowship in His Church, a fellowship now that is one of joy and love but that pales in comparison to the ultimate fellowship that will come at the culmination of all things.

Are we declaring Christ to score theological points or out of a sense of onerous obligation? Or are we declaring Christ to bring others into fellowship with us and with God so "that our joy may be complete"? I am not sure I like my own answer to that question.

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1 comment:

Alan Knox said...

Thanks for this study. I've also noticed that "fellowship" takes on a different meaning (or at least a fuller meaning) when this passage from 1 John is considered.