Commentary on "Important Themes in 1 John"
Day 6: Thursday, September 10, 2009
All throughout history there has been this idea that truth is relative. There is no absolute truth, and we as human beings must decide for ourselves what is true and was is not; what is moral and immoral. How we make these decisions is guided by the culture, community, and traditions we are apart of.
The author uses a text in John to illustrate that Jesus spoke directly against this notion moral relativism when he said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
The Author then moves on to what 1 John says about absolute truth. In this the book of 1 John makes it clear that there are absolutes, and that there is a sharp distinction between truth and lies. We as human beings blur this line with our relativistic worldviews. Not only can our worldviews be warped by sin, but we become liars when we make unsubstantiated claims, falsify the truth. For example, those who claim to love but do not keep the commandments of Jesus is a liar.
The Bible says that everyone knows that there is a singular truth, but that we deceive ourselves so that we may rely on ourselves and our own understanding. In chapter one of Romans, Paul writes,
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
Moral relativism is just another excuse for us as humans to continue to suppress the truth that God has made plain to all. The Adventist point of view adds another twist to this absolute truth.
The Adventist church uses 1 John to bolster their idea that part of God’s absolute truth that Jesus lived out here on earth is that true Christian believers are to live exactly as Jesus lived, including following the Old Testament law. 1 John 2:4 says that if we say we love Jesus, but do not follow his commandments, then we are a liar and the truth is not in us. The problem is the Adventist believer looks at that and contends the commandments spoken of are the Old Testament commandments, specifically the Ten Commandments, and even more specifically the Sabbath Commandment.
We as Christians are not called to be Jewish like Jesus was, following the Jewish Old Testament commandments. Jesus himself even says exactly, as unambiguously as possible, what His commandments are.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 'This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
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