Commentary on "Important Themes in 1 John"
Day 7: Friday, September 11, 2009
For the last study of the week the author asks the reader to read an excerpt from one of Ellen White’s books The Acts of the Apostles. This writing gives in great detail the life of John during the beginning rise of the Christian faith. It elaborates on his writings, giving greater insight into who John was and how he served God.
The author then goes into how necessary the writings of John are to our current life because of the false ideas that are being promoted in the world. John calls us to not believe everyone, to not accept new doctrines without testing them first for their biblical truth. We must have discernment to distinguish truth from error.
Lastly the author lists what he believes to be the marks of a true Christian according to John: belief in Jesus as the Son of God who has com in the flesh; observance of the commandments of God; and love toward God and others.
The main problem is the same problem that has plagued this and other Adventist Bible studies throughout its history: the desire to continue to observe the Old Testament law and the idea that it is necessary to the true Christian life. Nowhere in 1 John does it distinguish between the observance of the commandments of God and the love we should have toward God and others. The Bible is very clear that these two things are exactly the same thing, and 1 John does not muddle this fact. So when the author lists out the things which 1 John marks the true Christian, there is no reason to separate the author’s second and third points. A true Christian desires to follow the commandments of Jesus which are to love God and love one another.
Secondly, the Ellen White excerpt touched on a very important Adventist view point. That is the notion that true believers can fulfill God’s requirements, meaning the requirements of the law. She writes,
“[Believers] were to go forward in willing obedience to the new commandment. So closely were they to be united with Christ that they would be enabled to fulfill all His requirements. Their lives were to magnify the power of a Savior who could justify them by His righteousness.”
We cannot ever fulfill the requirements of God. That is the entire reason Jesus had to die on the cross. He was the payment for our sins and the fulfillment of the requirements of God. Also, the believer’s life was justified by the righteousness of Jesus once and for all time. There is no “could justify” in a true Christian’s life. The true Christian IS justified through the blood of Christ Jesus shed on the cross.
Copyright 2009 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised September 5, 2009. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Glendale, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: BibleStudiesForAdventists@gmail.com.
The Sabbath School Bible Study Guide and the corresponding E.G. White Notes are published by Pacific Press Publishing Association, which is owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist church. The current quarter's editions are pictured above.
Official Adventist Resources