Commentary on "Important Themes in 1 John"
Day 2: Sunday, September 6, 2009
Today’s study begins to focus in on the content of 1 John, beginning with the Godhead, or Trinity. There is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Some of the characteristics of each piece of the Godhead are highlighted, along with the relationship the Godhead has with the church.
The Trinity is the forgiver of sins, our advocate, propitiation for sins, destroyer of the works of the devil, love, giver of eternal life, and hearer of our prayers. 1 John gives us a very clear understanding of where our hope and encouragement should lie. The author’s bottom line is that it is the shed blood of Jesus on the cross alone that saves us and nothing else.
If one were to read only the first part of today’s study, down to the bold section at the bottom where the author asks questions of the reader, then everything would be perfect. 1 John does talk about the Godhead and it does list out many of the things God does for the believer. Also the author very correctly points out that the blood of Jesus on the cross alone saves us and nothing else.
But from an SDA point of view this is not the end, and this mentality starts to show itself in the bold questions at the bottom of the study.
“Are there any areas of your life that you have not fully surrendered to the Lord? That is, are you doing things that you know, deep down, are wrong and yet haven’t yet given up? If so, in the end only you can make the choice to give them up. If the Spirit is touching you, why not make the choice now? The longer you wait, the harder it gets.”
From an SDA point of view those things that you are doing wrong are most certainly breaking the Ten Commandments, especially the Sabbath commandment. Think this is a stretch? The teacher’s version of the study is much more blatant when it informs the teacher of what message the student should come away with from the study by saying the student will “recognize authentic Christianity believes that Jesus is the Son of God, keeps the commandments and loves God and others.” This sort of contradicts the author’s bottom line of the blood of Jesus alone that saves us.
The fact is that the author had it right with his bottom line statement. He should have left it right there at the bottom line. The Bible is very clear about what it takes to have and keep salvation, and it doesn’t involve keeping the Ten Commandments (Romans 10:9). The only “commandments” Jesus told people to follow were to love the Lord with all your heart and you shall love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:34-40), but these were not a condition of salvation.
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